Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Panerai PAM372 Luminor 1950 - and the Fiddy

One of the first things on my mind when I got to see the official pictures of the new Panerai PAM372 was, Wow - are Panerai listening to their fans or what... Here's why.

Panerai PAM372 close up of the dial
PAM372 - close up of the dial showing how the text is engraved, not printed

- If there's one watch that Panerai enthusiasts have been asking for, it must be a "Base Fiddy". In case you're not that well informed about Panerai watches, Base is the term used for watches with only hours and minutes. Fiddy is the nick name of the PAM127, a 2002 Special Edition watch with a 47mm 1950 style case. A grail to many Paneristi. Granted, the PAM372 may not exactly be a base Fiddy. In fact calling it that doesn't do it justice, but still...

Panerai PAM372 next to the Fiddy PAM127
PAM372 on the left, PAM127 on the right

- On many occasions when people were posting on the fora how much they wanted a base Fiddy, they were usually quick to add that it should be a regular production watch so that everyone has a chance of obtaining one. And at list price too. Well, Panerai are releasing the PAM372 as a regular production watch with 3,000 units in 2011 and ongoing production thereafter.

Panerai PAM372 brown dial
PAM372 - the case and model numbers are engraved between the lugs

- If there's one thing for which the fans have a sincere appreciation in a Panerai watch, it's the presence of the Panerai DNA. Sure, the whole DNA reference means different things to different people, and it all depends on what you use as a reference. But to me, it has always meant that such watches follow the design of the vintage Panerai watches. Call it faithfulness to the history of the brand if you will. Just look at that the shape of that case, the pencil hands, the lugs and oh yeah, that plexi... In my book, the PAM372 oozes DNA!

DNA Vintage Panerai 6152/1
Panerai DNA: The vintage 6152/1

- Movement snobs will use every occasion to tell you that Panerai can't justify the price of some of their watches, because they use low cost third party movements. The Fiddy has the OP XI calibre which is essentially a modified ETA movement. The Panerai PAM372 uses the new in-house Panerai P.3000 calibre. A fantastic hand-wound mechanical movement with a power reserve of 3 days. Entirely developed by Panerai. I love this development so much, I might just be a movement snob myself...

The PAM372 has the new P.3000 in-house movement
The PAM372 has the new P.3000 in-house movement

Yes, somebody listened...

So if someone tells me that Panerai haven't been listening to their fan base, well then Panerai fooled me good! Oh sure, I know - no matter how impressed I am with the introduction of this amazing watch, people will find something to nag about always. I've heard people complain about the hands being too short, about how the 372 will devalue the Fiddy, about how the plexi is not suitable for daily wear, that the case back should have been closed, that there is in fact no vintage case that is shaped like that of the PAM372 and so on. They may be right, they may be wrong. I say pfffff... But then again, nagging about details goes with the territory of having such a passionate purists fan base. Be that as it may, I personally think that Panerai could not have done a better job. The magic is there with the PAM372. The instant new grail of many no doubt!

So is the PAM372 a Base Fiddy?

The PAM372 and the 2002 Special Edition PAM127 are indeed similar. And so are the 201/A and the PAM0 - if I ask my uncle Bob... Admittedly, you must be into Panerai to appreciate the perhaps subtle differences. But the two watches are two very unique pieces in their own right, and the PAM372 is not a base Fiddy in my book. The PAM127 has something magical which is hard to describe. It evokes emotion. But if there's one watch in the new line up that has that same magical effect, it's got to be the 372!

A side view of the 372 and 127, the 372 on top
A side view of the 372 and 127, the 372 on top

About the new case

An excerpt from the press release with regards to the new Luminor case: The new Luminor 1950 3 Days – 47mm offers for the first time a historic case which marks a transitional phase: while having the characteristic Luminor features, the new case has a rounded, cusp-shaped caseband, which was evidently derived from the cushion form of the Radiomir case. Other small details mark the faithful relationship of the new model to a few extremely rare historic examples: the slimmer lugs, the engraving of the reference details between the lugs, the Plexiglas® crystal instead of a sapphire one and the wide, flat back with the words “Officine Panerai” engraved upon it.

A side view of the 372 and 127, the 372 on top
Another side view, click the photos for a larger view

The photo below clearly shows the thinner lugs and the shape of the new case (OP 6835). The case is polished but the crown guard (with Reg. TM. engraving) is still brushed. Also note that the crown guard is not upside down like it is on the Fiddy (i.e. the lever closes at the top, not the bottom).

A side view of the case of the PAM372
A sideview of the PAM372 showing the thinner lugs and brushed crown guard

Similarities and differences

The table below shows the obvious differences and similarities between the two watches. If there's more, then please do let me know.

case type47mm OP683547mm OP6576
case finishingpolished stainless steelbrushed stainless steel
crystal3 mm thick Plexiglas2 mm thick sapphire
movementin-house P.3000ETA based OPXI
case backsapphire crystalsapphire crystal
power reserve3 days56 hours
dial colorblack sandwichblack sandwich
dial textLuminor Panerai engraved underneath the 12Luminor Panerai printed underneath the 12 and 1950 printed above the 6
water resistance100m100m
crown guardlever closes upwardslever closes downwards
secondsnosub seconds dial at the 9 o'clock poistion

A side view of the 372 and 127, the 372 on top
PAM372 on the left, Fiddy on the right

The PAM372 comes with one of the nicest looking OEM straps and it really makes a great combination with the watch. There's obviously no reason to immediately change this strap, but I can't wait to see how the watch looks on a French ammo.

Panerai PAM372 brown dial
PAM372 has a black dial and its plexi is slightly rounded

All the photos of the 372 and 127 in this post were taken at the SIHH in Geneva. Note that the dial of the 372 appears to be slightly brown in the above photo. The dial is however black. I've noticed this with other Panerai watches too. To wrap it up, here's one more picture of the case back of the PAM372.

Panerai PAM372 display back
The case back of the PAM372

Here's a link to my post on paneristi.com about these two watches:

This is a link with must-read information by Volker Wiegmann re the different types/styles hands used on the vintage Panerai models:

Related posts

PAM372 in detail
The PAM127 and the PAM233 compared
The Panerai 1950's style case
Panerai SIHH 2011 Photo report

All photos © 2011 M.Wilmsen - do not use my photos without permission


  1. Great comparison Martin but I believe the case finishing description between the 372 and 127 are interchanged :)

  2. Great comparison and really a beautiful watch. I think watches enhances the personality of the person who wears it. Watches are the best accessories and it decides the taste of the person who owns it.

  3. Amazing pics and comparison Martin.
    The 372 just brought back the passion for the brand back again to me.

  4. Great post, great images! This is the new Grail for me! :-)

  5. An excellent post and of course fantastic pix as always. the 372 is the new grail for many for sure :)

  6. Just hope they stop making them... After I get one ofcourse!

  7. This beauty came home with me today! Walking her before I asked her home, prying eyes waiting to grab her from me were killing me! She was too beautiful to let her go!

  8. Was trying her out today... Prying eyes made me jealous! Took her home! ;)

  9. Happy to say I added the 372 to my collection today!

  10. am confused on which one to get either the pam127 or pam 372

  11. After year's of saving and waiting, i'm finally pick up my Pam 372 today in Stuttgart!! This PAM is just amazing! Even more beautiful in reality than the pictures can tell (sorry Martin, your pics is the best!!). The 372 is for me the most awesome Panerai watch ever made!

    1. That's great! Congratulations Henrik! Thanks for the kind message.

  12. Yesterday i bought the PAM372, a beautiful piece. Nice to read your artikel Martin, and to see the beautiful pictures, now i'm really convinced about my purchase.