Kit O. Payumo
June 25, 2018     |    

Gentlemen Considered

Panerai surprises many and gives an alternative to the Luminor collection

Back in 2016, Officine Panerai launched the Luminor Due collection, a new family of watches that took all that was good about the hardy and robust Luminor and slimmed it down into something more manageable and more design-centric.  Fashionability was certainly the order of the day, especially when presented with 3-bar/30 meter water resistance, making for Luminor watches that were meant to be taken out into town rather than tool watches taken out into the water.

Indeed, with that big crown guard the Luminor collection has always been the more tool-watch-centric line to Panerai’s more elegant Radiomir collection.  Which is why a little bit of controversy struck when the Italian watchmaker essentially debuted a dress watch with all the well-known design codes of the Panerai Luminor, but without any of the collection’s well-established abilities.  Still, the availability of options and alternatives will always be a good thing, which is why the Luminor Due collection continues to exist as a dressier substitute for individuals with more land-locked tastes.

This year, the new Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic Acciaio (PAM00943) and the Luminor Due 3 Days GMT Power Reserve Automatic (PAM00944) continues to express the collection’s clean and minimalist lines with svelte AISI 316L stainless steel (acciaio) cases measuring 45mm in diameter.   Both watches feature the P.4001 and P.4002 self-winding calibers, respectively, with both movements featuring a power reserve of three days courtesy of two spring barrels.  Both movements are 13¾ lignes in size, offer a date display at 3 o’clock, and feature off-centered micro-rotors made of tungsten, a material chosen for its high specific weight. 

Further, both movements oscillate at 28,800 vibrations per hour and have balances firmly fixed in position by a bridge with twin supports, which helps make the structure more rigid and viable.  Best of all, both the P.4001 and P.4002 self-winding calibers feature a useful seconds reset mechanism, which stops the balance and snaps the seconds hand back to zero whenever the crown is pulled out for down-to-the-millisecond synchronization.

The differences between the two movements start with the power reserve indicator, which is circular and positioned on the caseback of the Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic Acciaio.  The Luminor Due 3 Days GMT Power Reserve Automatic, on the other hand, has its power reserve on the dial at the 5 o’clock position, and adds a GMT function (as its name implies) with a central hand and a nifty night/day indicator tucked in with the seconds subdial at 9 o’clock for those frequent flyers and international business-types.

This is all well and good.  But just as an aside, what really stands out here are the beautiful anthracite sandwich dials with satiné soleil (sunburst) finishing on both watches, which when combined with the warm luminous beige substance of the hour markers for extreme luminosity under all lighting conditions, makes for gorgeous dials that you just cannot take your eyes off.  Of the two, the Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic Acciaio has the less cluttered of the two dials but one cannot deny the functionality of the GMT function of the other.

Both new Luminor watches are matched with brown alligator straps and when are strapped to the wrist are pure Panerai watches to the core, especially with that large crown guard looming over everything.  What’s different is how svelte and dressy these watches are, especially when compared with the unwieldy girth of a traditional Luminor.  Yes these DIFFERENT Luminors take the signature design cues that the Italian watchmaker is known for but reworks them to slip under the most fashionable cuffs out there.  And from an optional and alternative standpoint, that will always be a good thing.


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