I never thought I was a watch person. This disease only crippled me in the past few years. In my foolish younger days I had dabbled in various watches. They ranged from a Casio Baby-G, to a quartz rectangular D&G watch, then finally only to a Diesel digital.  Then for many years I didn’t wear a watch at all. Until I stumbled onto the PAM312. What attracted me was the sandwich dial. I wasn’t a fan of the Panerai painted dials at the time. The 312 was newly released – automatic, date, sandwich dial – it fit the criteria so I took the plunge. I rang a couple of ADs and was pleasantly surprised that The Hour Glass in Sydney had one available. The next day I was in the store and walked out with a brown shopping bag.

First big purchaseFirst big purchase

Case

The 312 remained on my wrist as a daily beater for many months. Due to its 44mm size I picked up a number of dents and scratches over time. The 1950′s case is thicker due to the rotor for the automatic movement. Hence it sits higher that other 1950′s cases such as the much loved manual winding 233. The mix of a polished bezel and brushed case on the 1950′s case is certainly a winning combination. It breaks up the watch nicely but also hides the smaller scratches. On top of this, the case contains a quick change mechanism for watch straps. This replaces the older screwed pins which were prone to error. The crown guard is a Panerai trademark and works well. You’ll notice it ever so subtly push the crown in to keep things water tight. A necessity given its 300m depth rating

1950's case1950′s case

Movement

The P.9000 movement was one of Panerai’s first in-house movements. Another positive. It comes lightly decorated with a power reserve of 72 hours. Ample coverage for the weekend. Beating at 4Hz/28,800bpm, the second hand has quite a smooth movement. The rotor of the 312 can be quite loud though, in quiet environments you can easily hear it swirling around. Initially I thought I had a defective 312, but after some researching, it is actually normal. The movement has a quick set hour mechanism. You can set the hour (and date) without stopping the movement. The hour hand simply advances hour by hour with no impact to the seconds or minute hands. Handy if you want to change the time without having to worry about affecting the minutes and seconds. The date change happens from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and is progressive, unlike a Rolex where the date changes instantly at about midnight.

In-house P.9000 movementIn-house P.9000 movement

Timekeeping

My particular K series 312 is on 5.18 seconds per day slower. It has been like this from Day 1. Although more than I would like, it is nothing that can’t be easily resolved at the service center.

Dial

The dial is very clean and simple. One of the things I enjoy about the 312. The sandwich dial is well executed and the lettering on the dial is extremely precise and sharp. White gold hands blend in well with the more modern feel of the 312. The lume is outstanding as with all Panerai’s. It won’t last for more than 4 hours but it certainly stands out.

DialSandwich dial with date window

Strap and Buckle

The tang buckle is sturdy with ‘Panerai’ laser engraved into it. It also has a brushed finish to match it against the case. The pin to attach it to the strap is a screwed pin though. Nonetheless you won’t find yourself needing to change this often. The black sqaure scale alligator strap is well constructed. It has folded edges (much more difficult to fabricate) and wears in very nicely. Stitching and hole punching is neat. Of course with most Panerais, you’ll no doubt be pucahsing other straps. The quick strap change mechanism makes it too easy to change between straps. I have several and will post about them another time. Each time I do change straps, it feels like a different watch. WARNING: you’ll find yourself spending a lot as there are so many strap styles, leathers etc

Black alligator strapBlack alligator strap

Package

The package consists of an outer cardboard shipping box, and pearwood box, strap changing tool, warranty booklet, watch and bezel protector, and the usual hand tags and identification stickers. An extra rubber strap is provided for those who want to avoid swimming/diving with their leather strap. A screwdriver and spare blade is provided to help change the buckle on the strap. The pearwood box has a bit of weight to it and its hinges open nicely. Its also lines with felt inside to keep everything safe.

Pearwood boxPearwood box

IMGP0439Contents

Price

Recommended retail price at the time was AUD$8,300. The 312′s price is driven primarily but its date complication and being an in-house movement. Many Panerai’s prior were based on sourced movements, e.g. ETA.

In Sydney, you can find Panerai watches at the below authorised dealers. Or visit here for the nearest dealer to you. Given the demand for these watches, they may not have the one you want in particular available.

The Hour Glass
142 King St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9221 2288
www.thehourglass.com

J. Farren Price
80 Castlereagh St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9231 3299
www.jfarrenprice.com.au

Summary

Pros

  • In-house movement
  • Simple modern dial
  • Case and strap quality

Cons

  • Timekeeping not as accurate as hoped
  • Weight can make it a top heavy watch
  • Size takes some getting used to

The best thing about owning a Panerai is that you will discover the world of Paneristi. Paneristi are a group of Panerai loyalists who are very supportive of the brand and its followers. They regularly meet and have an annual P-Day where owners from across the world come and share their passion for Panerai. They are a great bunch of people who will become life long friends. Visit paneristi.com for more.