The Panerai Luminor watches come in two basic style cases. The traditional Luminor case - in 40mm and 44mm - and the 1950 style case. The 1950 style case is in fact a Luminor case too, but it has a very different shape. Luminor cases are of course very easy to recognize because of their unique crown guard design. The difference between the two case styles is most apparent when one views the watches from the side. There are no 40mm Panerai watches with the 1950 style case design, the smallest size is 44mm and the largest is 47mm.
PAM233 on the left and a 1998 PAM2 on the right
Although most Luminor watches in the Panerai Manifattura line are using the 1950 design, the first modern Panerai with this type of case was the PAM127 Luminor 1950 aka Fiddy in 2002 (E-series). Since then, quite a few models were introduced with this case, among those the 212, 213, 210, 233, 270, 311, 317, 275 and the submersibles PAM243 and the new titanium submersible PAM305. Other new Manifattura watches that were introduced in 2009, have a 1950's style case too (312, 320, 321, 328 and 329). It struck me that none of these watches seem to have a polished stainless steel finish. The PAM127 was of course inspired on the vintage Panerai 6152/1 Luminor watch.
Panerai PAM127 aka Fiddy - with its 47mm 1950's case
What better way to show the differences between the two case styles, than a few pictures. I took photos of the PAM233 Luminor 1950 8 Days GMT with its 1950 style case and the 1998 PAM2 (A-series) with its traditional style case. There are of course many other differences between these two watches. For instance a sandwich dial with Luminova on the 233 vs the painted tritium dial used on the 2A. And the 233 - like most Panerai watches with this case style - has a uniquely domed crystal. Much like the acrylic crystals that were used on vintage watches.
PAM233 on top of the 1998 PAM2
The above photo shows the rounded (cushion) shape case of the PAM233 versus the sharper edged case of the PAM2 at the bottom. Another apparent difference is that the lever is positioned in the middle of the crown guard. You can see that the lever is clearly not in the middle of the 2A crown guard. The lever of the 233 is also slightly bigger and more solid looking.
Below are some more photos showing the differences between the two cases. You can click the photos for a larger view.
All photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen
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