First released in 2010, the Panerai PAM 339 Composite is one highly controversial timepiece. Some love it for its revival style dial markings, citing it as a highly collectible Panerai. Others however, have voiced concerns over the case material, citing negative user experience regarding the quality of the case.
The Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni PAM00339 comes in a brown dial with arabic numbers and index batons, small seconds at 9 0’clock, brown assolutamente leather strap with a composite pin buckle and a manual winding movement P.2002/7 with 8 days power reserve.
The review piece is owned by a Deployant Friend, and as can be seen the watch has experienced quite a lot of wrist time. Feedback from this owner is that he is happy with the watch, and the wear marks on the case makes for a nice patina.
Limited to 1000 pieces world wide, this special edition timepiece was highly sought after and mostly sold at a premium in the secondary market. First released in 2010, the PAM339 is the first composite watch produced by Panerai. The composite material looked similar to ceramic case ‘black’ watches during that time, when the trend was leaning towards matte black cased watches. The PAM339 however, is not a traditional ceramic black watch. It has a light brown hue on the case, and also the dial, imagine a ‘rusty’ ceramic case. The composite case is made through an electrochemical process of ceramization of the base material aluminium. The end product is said to be harder than the ceramics normally used for cases in watch-making (zirconia), and also harder than metals like steel and titanium, as well as being lighter.
That said, several owners of the watch, while not unanimous, have experienced problems regarding case discolouration from normal wear. While we do not know the full story, it is said that the ceramic layer on the aluminium sometimes wears off to reveal a distinctive metal colour beneath the brown-black coat.
Other woes initial owners of the watch faced was the perceived premium the watch could command. While initially the first and only composite Panerai, and hence potentially highly collectible, subsequent releases of other composite models drove down the demand for the PAM339. Some owners who paid a hefty premium for the PAM339 may have mourned their decision.
That said, the PAM339 is an interesting special edition timepiece limited to 1000 pieces and pays homage to the Panerai and Italian Navy relationship. The unique aesthetics of the watch, and colour scheme matched with a patina assolutamente strap is quite a brilliant combination.