The concept of Panerai and the seas is well-documented. The relationship between these two began more than a century ago – when the watch manufacturer first supplied professional precision instruments to the Italian Navy.
This year, Panerai launched three new chronographs under the Luminor Yachts Challenge collection. The new watches – which pays tribute to the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge (PCYC) – points towards the brand’s long association to the world of the sea.
The three models pretty much differs predominantly in terms of its case material: titanium, black ceramic, and 5NPT (red) gold. There are also minor aesthetic tweaks for each of the different models. For the purpose of this watch review, we will be looking solely at the titanium model.
Panerai Luminor Yacht Challenge
The Case, Dial, and Hands
The PAM00764 is fitted with the brand’s signature 44mm Luminor case. The size is notably gigantic, and it is accentuated by the patented massive crown guard at the right side of the case. The watch is also flanked by two pushers on the left side of the watch, to operate the chronograph and flyback function.
Despite being sized at 44mm, the watch feels noticeably light on the wrist. This is because the watch is fitted with a brushed titanium case, which is known for its lightweight properties. This, together with its rubber strap, makes the PAM00764 a rather comfortable watch to wear on the wrist. This is certainly ideal for the yachting activities (or many sports activities, for that matter) that the timepiece is designed for.
When it comes to the dial, the watch is unmistakably a Panerai through and through. It is fitted with the manufacturer’s “sandwich” dial, in which the brand placed a layer of luminescence material beneath the dial. Several aspects of the dial, such as the numerals and indices, are subsequently cut out so that light is able to pass through the open sections and charge the layer of luminescence material up. It is actually quite a sight to behold in low light environment, when the luminescence come to life in bright green.
The watch features a clean twin-counter layout. The two sub-dials display the seconds and 12-hour chronograph counter. Interestingly, the watch features two central hands for the chronograph function – one to capture the seconds elapsed (blue hand), and the other capturing the minutes elapsed (white). When the chronograph function is not activated, the minute chronograph counter will be hidden beneath the blue chronograph seconds hand. We generally prefer this layout, as it allows the dial to appear less cluttered and more legible on many aspects.
Continuing on this, the PAM00764 features the light blue colour extensively on the dial as well. The main element that features the colour theme is the nautical tachymeter scale, in which it covers the entire rehaut of the dial. The other blue elements include the chronograph seconds and hour indicator, as well as the “PCYC” label at the 6 o’clock position of the dial. On a separate note, there is also a blue ring neat the top of each chronograph actuators too.
The Movement: P.9100 Calibre
Powering the PAM00764 is Panerai’s P.9100 calibre. The self-winding movement is made entirely in-house by Panerai, and it vibrates at 28,800 bph. The movement is fitted with a twin-barrel system, which allows the watch to boast a decent power reserve of around 72 hours.
The main feature of the movement is perhaps its flyback function, which can be activated by the actuator at the 8 o’clock position. Besides that, the P.9100 is also fitted with a zero-reset function that allows the user to set time more accurately. In terms of applications, the P.9100 calibre certainly scores well with a multitude of functions.
However, one minor issue that we have with the watch is that it is fitted with a special engraved caseback. This means that the movement is hidden from view. We would have love to take a look at the watch’s movement, considering the watch’s price point. In addition, we understand that Panerai have improved on the finishing of their in-house movements, and it is a slight shame that we are unable to have a glimpse at that.
The PAM00764 is priced competitively at S$19,000. We feel that the watch offers tremendous value, considering its complication and the use of titanium for the case. It is an iconic timepiece that is unmistakable as well.
When it comes to watches with a yachting pedigree, the Rolex Yacht-Master II is definitely a timepiece that would come to mind. Functionally, the Yacht-Master II – with a regatta complication – is drastically different from the Panerai. However, in terms of the nautical theme and wrist presence, the Yacht-Master II certainly gives the PAM00764 a run for its money. The stainless steel model is priced at S$25,120.
On a similar note, we have the equally impressive Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta. While the watch does not have a flyback complication, but Ulysse Nardin compensates it with an ingenious inverter mechanism which allows the countdown/chronograph seconds hand to operate bidirectionally. The 44mm timepiece is priced at S$24,500.
Finally, if one is looking for a timepiece with simply the flyback function, the Carl F. Bucherer Manero Flyback might be a compelling option as well. This watch is slightly on the dressier side, and it is inspired by the vintage racing theme. Nonetheless, at CHF5,900 (approximately S$8,154), it offers great value for a timepiece with the complication.
The Panerai Luminor Yachts Challenge (PAM00764) is a good-looking and functional timepiece. Despite its large size, it is rather comfortable on the wrist as well. In addition, the watch feels robust enough for outdoor activities, and it is certainly a great pairing with any casual attire as well.
Many collectors often overlooked Panerai watches these days, with the exception of its base models. We do think that the brand has a lot to offer, and the PAM00764 is an example of that. The combination of a flyback complication, together with an in-house movement and an iconic titanium case, makes it a rather tantalising prospect for a S$19,000 watch. This is certainly a great watch to add into any collection – especially if one is looking for a Panerai that is slightly different from the crowd.