Recreating a vintage reissue is a challenge that all watchmakers face, even for the most recognizable and evergreen pieces. And while there is no divine formula on what should stay and what needs to go when deciding how the reissue should look like, we would undoubtedly agree to the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
The Panerai Mare Nostrum Acciaio – PAM00716
The Mare Nostrum is not quite like any other Panerai; it has a long-standing history being the first-ever chronograph produced by the brand, initially intended for deck officers of the Royal Italian Navy.
The very first prototype of the Mare Nostrum was of 52mm in case diameter made in 1943 that had never gone into actual production. Some of the documentation of this prototype was destroyed during the unfortunate flood of the Arno in Florence in November 1966, alongside with countless of other precious art pieces and books that had also perished.
Based on the limited information available in archives, the first re-edition of the Mare Nostrum was made in 1993 (Ref. 5218-301/A) in a 42mm case. It was produced during the period known as Pre-Vendôme (1993 to 1997) and the watch was made as part of the first collection of Panerai watches available for civilian use. It was only just until few years ago that the original 1943 prototype was discovered and the PAM00300 with a case diameter of 52mm was introduced at 99 pieces in the year 2010.
Inspired by the 42mm 1993 model, the Mare Nostrum Acciaio PAM00716 that was announced post-SIHH this year in 2017 has the same design and functions, but this time as a limited edition to 1,000 pieces.
The case, dial and hands
Just like the 1993 version, the PAM00716 comes in the wearable 42mm case, quintessentially being very wrist-friendly. From the photos, the PAM00716 may seem bulky because of its thick case, and may lack charisma due to the flat tachymeter scale bezel. However, when in the flesh, the watch simply stands out as a piece where its sturdy, sporty appearance on the bezel complements the mellow deep blue dial. The piece comes with a matching dark blue alligator strap with a slightly lighter shade of blue on its stitching.
The brush-finished bezel is considerably broad and flat, which adds to the overall robust appeal of the watch. The bezel is engraved with the tachymeter scale in km/h.
At the 3 o’clock position sits the small seconds subdial, and at the 9 o’clock position sits the chronograph minute counter.
On the dial, the distinctive words “MARE NOSTRUM” and “PANERAI” stands out nicely from the rest of the details.
A very tiny detail that we appreciate in this piece would be the use of bi-colour hands for the subdials. Although the subdials’ hands are painted mainly in white, they are also painted in the same dark blue as the dial at the pivot where they are mounted on. This thoughtful bit of detail helps the subdials’ hands to fade into the dial without compromising legibility on the chronograph, in an effort to make the dial look less busy.
The dial markers and the hands are painted with a vintage-inspired beige SuperLuminova coating and we must say that that shade chosen goes really well with the dark blue dial.
The watch comes in a wooden box with a little model of the Luigi Durand De La Penne, the destroyer of the Italian Navy launched in 1993. This is significant to the Mare Nostrum, as the 1993 edition was introduced for the first time that year on-board this destroyer.
The PAM00716 uses the same movement as the 1993 Pre-Vendôme model. The COSC-certified OPXXXIII calibre is a hand-wound movement with 42 hours power reserve. It is exclusively created by Panerai based on the ETA 2801-2 base with the esteemed Dubois Dépraz chronograph module added on.
The advantage of using such a modular movement would be its cost efficiency that comes with better quality, specialised to be able to meet the needs of intense performance.
The PAM00716 is one that you will have to place on your wrist to decide if you are going to love it or not, instead of relying on photos of it. Chances are you might, as it was really easy for us to love it, seeing every single part of the watch from its flat bezel to the sophisticated deep blue dial, to the beige hands and markers just falls in place nicely together.
This chronograph is also incredibly easy to wear and to match with almost any outfit, be it on the weekdays with light or dark solid-coloured shirts, or with stripes or prints, or even on the weekends with a polo shirt; the watch will still stand out in the most reassuring and unassuming manner.
Technical Specifications and Price
Movement: Hand-wound mechanical, exclusive Panerai OP XXXIII calibre
Case: 42mm brushed steel
Bezel: Flat brushed-finished tachymeter scale in km/h
Dial: Dark blue, markers coated with beige Superluminova, minute counter at 9 o’clock, seconds at 3 o’clock, central chronograph seconds hand.
Power Reserve: 42 hours
WR: 5 bar (50 meters)
Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective coating
Strap: Dark blue alligator
RRP including GST: S$14,600
Limited edition of 1,000 pieces worldwide
Comes in a wooden box that contains a model of the Luigi Durand De La Penne, a screwdriver and a second leather strap