Love them or hate them, one thing that you cannot do with Panerai is ignore them. Panerai has once again made waves at Watches & Wonders 2015 with their latest special edition watches. I’m of course referring to the new Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Titanio DLC PAM629 “California dial” replica watches, and also its twisted sister, the PAM617.
But we thought that it would be useful to expand on these watches now that we have had some hands-on time and also a couple of days to ruminate on them. Today, we shall begin with what is probably the more controversial of the two, the Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Titanio DLC PAM629.
The PAM629 uses Panerai’s tried and tested Luminor 1950 case which is 47mm wide. This makes the Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Titanio DLC PAM629 a large watch. While it may large, the lugs do curve quite pronouncedly, so it’s not uncomfortable to wear even if you have smaller wrists. And because it is rendered in titanium, the Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Titanio DLC PAM629 also feels remarkably light. The sheer weight of this watch messes with your mind.
You are expecting a hefty piece, and yet when you pick it up and put it on, it feels like a much smaller watch. The DLC coating helps make the case more resistant to scratches and wear, and it is a first for Panerai in the sense that their DLC pieces have traditionally used steel cases.
Moving on, what’s really controversial about the Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Titanio DLC PAM629 is its dial. Yes, it has what is known as a California dial. This dial design, which consists of half Roman numerals and half Arabic numerals, is special to Panerai because it was used on the Panerai reference 3646, one of the very first Rolex-made Panerais. It is a very unique design to be sure, and up until the Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Titanio DLC PAM629, the California dial has only appeared on Panerai’s cushion case Radiomir watches. And it is for this reason that Panerai traditionalists are crying foul.
But these curmudgeons aside, the neutrals will once again point towards Panerai’s relunctance to adapt and conjure up something that is truly new. The new Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Titanio DLC PAM629 is surely iterative rather than revolutionary, but that’s what Panerai does best. Besides, I thought last year’s Radiomir 1940 chronographs were pretty refreshing. I digress… so back to the PAM627. Well, the fact that it is the first Luminor watch to wear a California dial should surely mean something in the annals of Panerai’s history and will thusly ensure this model’s success. Furthermore, the Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Titanio DLC PAM629 is limited to just 300 pieces and its intended target audience will certainly not mind that the PAM629 is not historically correct.
In fact, the Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Titanio DLC PAM629 is dripping with cool. The dark, black case coupled with the equally black dial contrasts perfectly with the faux vintage markings and gold hands. The case is rendered in typical Panerai quality, which is to say it’s really good. The lines are sharp and the uniform matte finish seems to almost suck up light, which makes the gold hands stand out even more sharply. The supplied Ponte Vecchio calf strap also screams quality, though I suspect some users would be miffed that it tapers down to just 22mm. I personally prefer a uniform 26mm strap on my 47mm Luminor 1950 copy watches.