The 47mm brushed titanium Panerai 305
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.
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
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.
The 243 at the bottom has a helium valve
The lever of the 243 has 1000m engraved
A comparisonThe table below shows an overview of the most noticeable differences and similarities.
|case diameter||44mm 1950's||47mm 1950's|
|case material||brushed stainless steel||brushed titanium|
|dial paint||tritium (I and J)||luminova|
|twelve and six||numbers||batons|
|strap changing||new push mechanism||new push mechanism|
|crown guard||reg. tm. engraved||reg. tm. engraved|
|lever||1000m engraved||no engraving|
|movement||ETA based OP III||in-house P.9000|
PAM305 Luminor 1950 Submersible
All photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen