Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Black is beautiful, the 317 vs the new ceramic 335

Panerai introduced the ceramic PAM317 (Luminor 1950 Ceramic 8 Days Chrono Monopulsante GMT) at the 2009 SIHH. It was an instant success with its beautiful mat black ceramic case and its stunning PVD coated movement which can be admired through the case back crystal.

Panerai Ceramic PAM317
The PAM317 introduced at the 2009 SIHH

The production process of the PAM317 has however proven to be very complicated and time consuming. This has caused major delays in the production process. At this moment all units (500 for 2009) still haven't been shipped. Ceramic is of course an extremely hard material which requires a production process that is very different to that of steel. At first problems were reported with regards to drilling the holes for the crown and the mono pusher.

The biggest delays surprisingly don't have to do with problems regarding the ceramic case, but with the PVD coating of the movement. Allegedly 80% percent of all movements that were made for the 317 did not make it through Panerai's quality assurance tests.

Panerai Ceramic PAM335 and PAM317
The PAM317 (left) next to the new ceramic PAM335

Panerai now seem to have the production process of the ceramic cases under control and they presented their all new ceramic PAM335 at this year's SIHH in Geneva. This time no chronograph functions, so one less hole to drill. A PVD coated movement was obviously out of the question considering the problems this has caused with the PAM317.

Panerai Ceramic PAM335 and PAM317
The "smoked" crystal on the PAM335 case back

But the Panerai engineers did want a similar look and feel and so they came up with a "smoked crystal" for the case back (photo above). As opposed to coating the movement itself, the crystal has been treated with a dark coating instead.

Panerai Ceramic PAM317 and PAM335 case backs
A comparison shot of both case backs

Definitely a clever solution, although I have to admit that in my opinion the looks of the PAM317's case back do beat that of the PAM335. That's mostly because of the large rotor for the automatic movement, it looks great but not as sexy as those coated bridges of the 317. Nonetheless, I would be surprised if the new PAM335 is not going to be a smash hit. I don't know the production numbers of the 335 but I wouldn't be surprised if all units are already accounted for.

Panerai Ceramic PAM317 case back
The stunning case back of the PAM317

As the PAM335 is a ceramic version of the popular PAM270, it has the same Panerai Manifattura P.2003 movement - an automatic mechanical movement entirely made by Panerai. It has a 10 day power reserve which is made possible by use of three spring barrels. The dial has the unique horizontal power reserve indicator (aka Fang) that you can also find on for instance the PAM233 and PAM268.

Panerai Ceramic PAM335
The PAM335 Luminor 1950 10 Days Ceramic GMT

Note that the case back is made out of titanium. I was under the impression that this was new but the case back of the 317 is also made out of titanium. As opposed to what's written on some websites, the crown guard is ceramic, not PVD steel. This is true for both the 317 and the 335.

Panerai Ceramic PAM335
The luminova is cream colored and the numbers are slightly smaller

It doesn't show clearly in these photos that I took at the SIHH in Geneva, but the color of the luminova is definitely cream colored. The photo above does show this a little bit. The numbers are also just a bit smaller than the numbers of e.g. the 270 and 317. I'm not 100% sure but I think that the shape of the numbers is also different.

All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen
Do not copy without permission

Related posts

PAM317 Ceramic Panerai 1950 Chrono Monopulsante
PAM292 Ceramic Panerai Radiomir black seal
SIHH 2010 Panerai novelties

1 comment:

  1. the light/dark in these pics are like a piano player going up and down the scales... very dynamic