Sunday, June 7, 2009

44mm solid steel vs 47mm titanium

Indeed, this can only be about a comparison between the PAM243 and the PAM305.

PAM305 47mm titanium submersible
The 47mm brushed titanium Panerai 305

PAM243 44mm brushed steel submersible
The 44mm brushed steel Panerai 243 (with after market Kevin / BigB ammo strap)

So is it about ti vs steel, 47mm vs 44mm? Well, there's of course tritium vs luminova too. But that difference is only true for 243 subs I and J series - tritium is more sought after by collectors. But the new 243K (2008) has a luminova painted dial just like the new 305. That aside, what would you choose?

The photo below shows the PAM305 on top of the PAM243. At first glance the differences appear to be minimal. The photo doesn't show how different the titanium and solid steel finish are in person. The titanium case of the 305 is of course grey.

PAM305 47mm titanium submersible and PAM243
The 44mm PAM243 on top of the 47mm PAM305

The actual differences are much more visible in the earlier posted photo below. The difference in size is most apparent when you look at the crystal. It appears even larger on the 305 (besides the fact that the watch is 3mm bigger) because the bezel is less wide.

You can see that the tritium dots on the dial of the 243 are already turning yellowish. Something that is often referred to as "patina". That's something that will not happen with the luminova painted dots and batons of the 305. The photo also shows how the color of the twelve and the six no longer match that of the dots. The difference in color does appear stronger in the photo than it is in reality. This it a result of flash photography.

The 305 has two batons instead of the number twelve and one instead of the number six. A design detail that I personally appreciate a lot. And the 305 lacks the magnification window above the date at 3 o'clock. Something that I personally think of as a major improvement, is the cream colored lettering on the dial. It looks much better than the white text on the dial of the 243. The weight difference between the two watches is substantial. Sadly I had no opportunity to weigh the 305 and the Panerai website doesn't mention its weight either.

47mm PAM305 next to the 44mm PAM243 on the right
47mm PAM305 next to the 44mm PAM243 on the right

Other differences are the helium valve in the left side of the case of the PAM243 which the PAM305 doesn't have. The 305 is water resistant up to 300 meters and the PAM243 is water resistant up to 1000 meters. This is also engraved in the lever of the PAM243. The lever of the 305 has no engraving.

47mm PAM305 on top of 44mm PAM243
The 243 at the bottom has a helium valve

1000m engraving in the lever of the PAM243
The lever of the 243 has 1000m engraved

A comparison

The table below shows an overview of the most noticeable differences and similarities.

case diameter44mm 1950's47mm 1950's
case materialbrushed stainless steelbrushed titanium
crystal thickness5.1mm4mm
date magnificationcyclopsnone
dial painttritium (I and J)luminova
twelve and sixnumbersbatons
water resistance1000m300m
strap changingnew push mechanismnew push mechanism
crown guardreg. tm. engravedreg. tm. engraved
lever1000m engravedno engraving
movementETA based OP IIIin-house P.9000

Related posts

PAM305 Luminor 1950 Submersible

All photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen


  1. MARTIN-
    i just found your site. incredible. well-
    great comparison. while i am intrigued by the 305 i must say i am still a 243 guy. a 243 without cyclops would be perfect. having owned a 24 prior i can see the 243 looking smaller due to bezel size. great photos.


  2. Hi - You mentioned that the weight difference is "substantial" but did not say which one was heavier than the other ? While one would assume the 47mm would be heavier, it is also in Titanium instead of Steel so it is not clear from your writing. Which model is heavier ? thanks, andrew

  3. You are right Andrew. It doesn't say that, but titanium is much lighter than solid steel.

  4. got one on order - can't wait

  5. having the new push mechanism to change straps, will the steel bracelet of the 236 fit the 243? thanks guys. stunning pics as always

  6. picked up my 305 today ,it weighs bare without any strap'combo 126 grams,absolutely loving it. At the mo wearing it with the nylon /kevlar ? weave diving strap with the embossed "pig". It works i think .

  7. I bought a new 243 proud...I think I had a good price as well ! I hesitated long between 305 or 243...but to me the 243 looks more like the real thing. Stefan from Belgium

  8. Hi, would like to know if Titanium is more prone to scratchs that steel? there are couple of mixed opion on this topic which confused me abit.

    Thank You

  9. Steel and titanium both scratch and you can fix it for both too. With steel it's easier to fix minor scratches yourself, especially if it's polished steel.

  10. Hi, this coming Saturday (June 11) I am picking up my new Panerai. I will be choosing between the 305 and the 361. Having just read your views on the 305 I would be interested to hear them on the 361. Also, do you think it better to buy a Panerai that uses a movement executed entirely by Panerai?

  11. I'd go for the 305 if I were you. I never had the opportunity to take pictures of the 361 but I have to say that I'm not a huge fan of chrono functions on a Panerai. There are pros and cons to the in-house movements. I love them but if there's a problem you won't be able to take it to just any watch maker. ETA based movement are generally reliable and easy to service.

  12. Hi Martin
    Thanks for your reply, I have to admit that I am leaning towards the 305. However, part of my decision will be based on which one will look best with the leather strap that Panerai use on the 233 (the model I really want but at £9,000 a bit to steep), as it is my intention to buy one and change straps from time to time. Again your view would be welcome.
    Thanks again.

  13. Russell the 233 strap won't fit the 305 because the lug width of the 233 is 24mm and that of the 305 is 26mm. If it is the 233 that you really want, then don't settle for something else. You may want to consider a used 233. And you'll be changing straps more often than you think. Trust me on this one ;)

  14. Hi Martin
    Thanks for your advice on the leather straps. I have done some research of my own and found that Panerai make leather straps to fit the wider lugs of the 305. Regarding the 233 I know what you mean about not compromising, however, an extra £3100 is a tall order and having a 305 on your wrist is know bad thing.
    Buy the way I forgot to say 'fantastic phots'.
    Thanks again

  15. Haha Russell, of course you can get all kinds of 26mm straps. Both 3rd party straps and OEM - I meant that the funnel strap that comes with the 233 is only available in 24mm so that particular strap won't fit the 305. And sure, the 305 is a great watch!

  16. Hi Martin
    I have decided to take you advice and view the 233. I have spoken to David M Robinson of Canary Wharf and they have one on site. I will be viewing it tomorrow along side the 305. However, do you think I should wait until the 'N' prefix starts, if so do you know when this may be.

  17. Russell I don't think there will be much of a difference between N and earlier production runs. They did start using a different dial though after L - if I'm correct. The earlier dials have the dot day/night indicator at the 9 o'clock position and the later dials have the am/pm indicator, same as the 270. The 270 is basically a 233 with an automatic movement. Between those 2 I'd pick the 233 any day.

  18. Hi Martin
    After one and a half hours of taking watches on and off yesterday, I eventually decided to buy the 305 over the 233. It was an incredibly tough decision as both watches are fantastic. I think the fact that I already own a 359 was an influence on the final out come.
    As I mentioned previously I want to buy a spare leather strap for the 305. So with this in mind I would like to pick your brains. Out of the strap makers you list who do you think would be best suited to make a strap for the 305. Also, using your photographers eye which style and colour would you go for?
    Thanks for your insight on all things Panerai.

  19. Congratulations Russell. Most strap makers do a great job but it depends on what style and color you want. Some makers have really nice ammos, others have really good croc straps and so on. I think ammo would be nice for that watch. You can also post a picture request on
    Good luck,

  20. picked up the 305 some days ago and I LOVE it !!!
    I dont like the CASIO style OEM strap :-(