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Old 22 December 2014, 01:29 PM   #1
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Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days - Review

This is my first review ever so please go easy on me.

There are many watch brands out there but very few have the strong brand identity that Rolex, Breitling, Omega (to a certain extent) and Panerai enjoy. Many wrist watch designs require a double take in order to identify the brand that made it.

Panerai is instantly recognizable, as their design has changed very little in the past 7 or so decades. This brings to mind a quote from Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson: "Porsche has introduced a brand new 911. And it looks exactly like the old one!". If he reviewed watches, I can totally imagine him saying that, but with "Panerai" instead of "Porsche".

Like Rolex, Panerai has decided to evolve existing models in small steps, as opposed to introducing brand new designs every other week. Why not? It's such a strong brand identity, why walk away from it? If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

In essence, all Panerai models are based on two cases: the Radiomir (which came first) and the Luminor. Both are cushion shape and the latter is instantly recognizable due to the iconic water resistance locking mechanism. Unlike the Radiomir, it has flat sides and standard lugs. The Radiomir has curved sides and wire lugs.

The 422 that I have falls into the Luminor family. However, it has one design element that makes it different: The standard Luminor case has flat sides, and the Radiomir is curved. The case on the 1950 model has the Radiomir case, but with short curved lugs in place of the wire ones, and with the Luminor WR locking mechanism. Itís a bit of a hybrid.

The look of the watch and its size is very close to the model used in 1950 by the Italian military.
While the original 47mm model was powered by an Angelus pocket watch movement, the current version has a full in house calibre, P3001, designed and built entirely by Panerai.

This is a large watch, there is no denying it. At 47mm across and most of that being the dial, it looks like it can swallow your average 40mm watch for lunch. Itís also pretty thick. I do not have a micrometer, but I would estimate it to be around 18mm, about the same as a Planet Ocean.
To be honest, I have never considered anything this size until I tried it on. Once I had it on my wrist, the watch seemed to have magically shrunk! While it still looks like a big watch, it does not look like I am wearing a mantle clock on my wrist. In part, I credit the short curved lugs for that.

Here are some photos for comparison.

The dial is matte black and it has the famous ďsandwichĒ design. What does that mean?
Itís two separate pieces. The bottom piece is lumed and the top piece has cut outs where the numbers and minute markers would be.

In true historical fashion, the lume on this watch is tan in color, to mimic the patina that would have developed over time. I think it is a nice touch and it adds to the character of this model. To continue the vintage approach, the hands are solid gold and polished to perfection. They are so reflective that at times I wonder if the lume is even needed! They offer a great contrast against the matte dial and visibility is never a problem. The branding is engraved on the dial instead of painted, another nice touch.

Other than the minimalistic markings on the dial, all you have breaking the symmetry is the small sub dial at 9, housing the running seconds. Thatís where the Angelus movement had them and Panerai designed their in house movement in the same manner. Here is a small detail you might not be aware of: Luminor on the dial means no second hand, Luminor Marina means it has the running seconds sub dial.

Above the dial sits a 3mm thick curved sapphire.

On to the movement.

The P3000 series was conceived for the 47mm models and it is completely designed and built by Panerai.
The P3001 used in the 422 is basically a P3000 with a Power Reserve indicator on the back. A very nice touch, and I actually prefer having the PR on the back bridge. The Panerai dial is so iconic that I believe having that on the front takes away from the simplicity of it.

Like the watch that it powers, the movement is a large one as well. At 16.5 lignes and 6.3mm thick, this is a big movement. I would normally balk at something like this but I think that in this particular case, it is just right. Not many things look worse than a tiny movement in a big case, with spacers to keep it in place. The P3001 fits the 1950 case perfectly and it shows not only attention to detail but also the commitment to the Historic line.

The P3001 has 207 components, is hand wound and it has 21 jewels, a Glucydur balance, Incablock shock absorber and it a true historical fashion, it beats at 21,600 alterations per hour.

Itís not all old school though! The P3001 also has two barrels for a 3 days power reserve, an independently adjustable hour hand (I wish more watch companies would offer that) and a seconds reset function that automatically jumps the second hand to Zero when the crown is pulled. An awesome feature that saves time when you are trying to set your watch.

The jumping hour hand is an awesome feature to have and I wish all watches would have that. In all honesty, it almost replaces the need for a GMT watch. At least for me. I am more interested in being able to quickly change time zones than I am in tracking time in multiple zones. Itís clearly not a replacement for a GMT watch but I think it can nicely feel the void if you are just looking for something that allows for easy time zone change without a need to stop the watch and affect the accuracy.

Unlike the Unitas based Panerai models, the P3001 is not COSC certified. I can assure you though that it is more than capable of keeping time within those standards.

The movement is beautifully finished, but somewhat spartan in appearance. Given the tool aspect of the watch, I think that the simplistic beauty of the movement works and just oozes quality. The attention to detail is everywhere, from the perfectly beveled edges to the perfect brush across the bridge.

Source for below movement pic: Panerai

The watch comes in beautifully polished Pear wood box. Inside you will find the watch, a protector, a spare rubber strap and a high quality strap changing tool.

The 422 is shipped on a light brown, untreated nubuck style leather strap, which fits the watch perfectly. It looks great on it, but like most nubuck leather, it is susceptible to oils and pretty much anything else you might encounter during the day to day life of the watch. Expect that strap to age quickly and develop a unique look.

In conclusion, this is a big watch that wears smaller than you think, it has an iconic look that not many brands can boast and it has a beautiful in house movement that doesn't skimp on features, finish quality or power reserve.

I have always wanted a Panerai but it was this model that finally did it for me. As soon as I saw it, I just had to have it. The fact that I am born on 4.22 and this is a 422 did not help either.

The Panerai 422 is a limited edition of 2000 and it has a MSRP of USD 11200 at the time of this writing. They are fairly hard to find, as most ADs only receive a couple a year.

I will end this, my first review, with a few more photos of this awesome watch, that has been my daily wearer since the day I bought it.

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Old 22 December 2014, 01:54 PM   #2
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Beautiful photos. Great review. Enjoy the watch.
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Old 23 December 2014, 07:55 PM   #3
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Great review and photos Chip - well done!
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Old 24 December 2014, 03:36 AM   #4
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Awesome review. I saved just about every amazing picture. This is a watch that has been on my mind heavily. I've decided on the 372 but reserve a full decision until I can try and see either in person. Thanks so much for posting this, definitely doesn't help my indecision though. : )

I have two questions as I've been neck deep in researching Panerai and the watches of the 40s and 50s as the case appeals to me the most. Please clarify the following:
1- I don't believe the original watch this was based on had Angelus movements, 30-50s was supposedly all Rolex
2- The hands are gold plated, unfortunately not solid gold

I'll try and dig up some links on my end.
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Old 14 January 2015, 09:57 PM   #5
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awesome write-up and pix, chip, thanks.

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Old 14 January 2015, 10:40 PM   #6
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Great review, thanks for taking the time!
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Old 14 January 2015, 10:46 PM   #7
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Nice review Chip! You have the 422 on the strap it comes with plus another strap. Which strap is that and obviously it is a 26mm strap that tapers to 24? Or is it 22? Thanks for clarifying.
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Old 24 January 2015, 06:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by 1st amg View Post
Nice review Chip! You have the 422 on the strap it comes with plus another strap. Which strap is that and obviously it is a 26mm strap that tapers to 24? Or is it 22? Thanks for clarifying.

Hi there.

It's an OEM distressed calf strap and it is by far my favourite.

The size is 26-22

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Old 1 February 2015, 03:42 PM   #9
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Wow. Beautiful watch and great pics! Makes want one.
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Old 31 March 2015, 11:05 PM   #10
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Just bought my first Panerai and I must say, I'm in love. I'm loving your shots of the hands in the sun, that's it, I'm going outside right now!
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Old 31 March 2015, 11:09 PM   #11
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Nice review
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Old 7 August 2015, 03:52 AM   #12
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Stunning pics!
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Old 24 September 2015, 06:08 PM   #13
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Very detailed review. Beautiful pictures as well.
I have the same PAM 422 as well. Chose it over the 372 and 423 since I needed the power reserve indicator (not there in 372) but wanted the dial clean (the 423 has this indicator on the watch face)

Couple of comments
1. I guess they do not submit in house movements to COSC anymore. Panerai has designed their own quality control and they test the entire watch (unlike COSC that only tests the movement) and is much more exhaustive that COSC.
2. While initially thought to be a limited edition, this is not a limited edition. (A Panerai Limited Edition comes with a scroll certifying it is a limited edition)
However, this is a "limited run" of 2,000 pieces for now. Hence your serial number might say P0356/2000. But it is entirely possible Panerai might run another 500, 1,000 or even 3,000 pieces at a later date.
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Old 24 September 2015, 06:20 PM   #14
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Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days - Review

Beautiful pics and detailed review.
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Old 4 November 2015, 04:08 PM   #15
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Great review and photos!
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Old 1 December 2015, 11:45 AM   #16
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Great shots and review
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Old 9 June 2019, 01:32 AM   #17
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very good
Feast of the watch
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Old 1 March 2023, 08:36 AM   #18
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Nice review and fast forwarding to 2022. I just purchased a 422 from my local Panerai boutique. Beautiful watch and my Y series watch is limited to a production of 500. One thing I was a bit disappointed about was that they longer box the watch is a pear wood box. It's now in a smaller box similar in size to a Rolex box with a travel case inside and drawer for the rubber strap and screwdriver.
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