Panerai PAM526 Regatta

Panerai SIHH2013: Part 1, The reconstruction

As you may remember, the subject on the SIHH2011 was intituled:  “the apogee “, as this presentation represented the creative and aesthetic pinnacle of the Officine after almost 15 years of frustrations.

If you have read this article you most likely took knowledge of the subject on the SIHH2012  « after the bomb ». In this article, I explained how Panerai, after reaching its pinnacle, could, never again, unleash us as in 2011, despite the quality of the achievements to come.

And of course, as in 2012, despite its intrinsic qualities, this SIHH2013 is a relative disappointment. In fact, the big issue of the Panerai SIHH2011 is that it was too good, and it would be impossible to ever reach such a level (even if we are still awaiting news of the PAM375).

So, in the history of Officine, there is a before and an after 2011, and this presentation will be considered in 20 years as significant as the appearance of the crown guard.

And it must be recognized that this SIHH2013 did not generate hysterical enthusiasm riots on the Paneristis forums. So I decided to tighten this presentation to concentrate on 5 pieces. I would have liked to add to this topic the PAM521, the PAM510 and PAM523 but I could not have them in hand during the exhibition...

The PAM 521 is a platinum Radiomir 47mm equipped with a Minerva movement. Its characteristic is to reuse the "caseback" bezel, formed by the transparent caseback ring, which is was to be found on the "sales presentation" prototypes of the 30-40’s.

But, by judging from the first pictures, the completely smooth bezel is less impactful than the engraved glasses of the vintage models…

The PAM510 are much less anecdotal and much more interesting. They where even the topic of the « off » conversations of the Paneristis which crossed each other in the corridors of the SIHH.

Panerai (and the Officine should be congratulated for this wise decision) has anticipated for almost 10 years the end of the ETA deliveries. To compensate for shortage of the 7750 supply, the Officine has produced the P.200X and other P.900Xs. And to compensate for the late delivery of the Unitas, Panerai has developed the big P.300X (17 lines) which did have not, however, an 8 days version, as the P. 200X ...

Unofficially, thanks to stolen pictures and feedbacks from the Paneristis in the halls of the SIHH, the P.500X will be the 8 days version of the big in-house calibre of the Officine. Greater still! This will a Bettarini case, the PAM510 barely lifted version of the PAM111.

This means that not only will the Officine not abandon the Bettarini cases, but that they will furthermore continue to be the spearhead of the line-up with quite aggressive entry level pricing, probably around €5000 for a nice 8 days caliber

To return to the watch formally presented the most amazing (and most worthy of interest?) watch is undoubtedly the PAM526 "Reggata."

Until now the "Reggata" were mainly a friendly, and sometimes successful, avatar of  Angelo Bonati ‘s passion for yachting. But this line, even if it has its aficionados and even its collectors, does not raise the passion of the bulk of the troops. It must be said, for the amateur of staining commando watch, a skipper watch is a bit like an electric car for an amateur of big aspirated V8s...

To the point, until now the Regatta where cuties but it did not prevent anyone to sleep. Two reasons were probably involved: a tame identity / dressing, in a way akin to a child taking his first communion slumming with a Panerai, and rather mundane complications, transpositions of already existing things...

This PAM526 chronograph revolutionizes the genre, not only on form but also on the content with a unique and quite enjoyable complication.

To start with it is visually quite shameless. This is the successful cross-fertilization of a delirious 70’s chronograph and a 1950 Luminor case... The blood orange parts and the relative visual purity are quite reminiscent of some vintage Heuers chronographs, and of course, of the super cool Omega chronographs of the 70s.

It's almost an alternate history reading: the chronograph that could have been produced by a 70's Officine Panerai returned to the civilian world, with an Excelsior Park caliber... We might regret the flat glass (the dome is so great!) but it facilitates the reading of the chronograph.

The strength of this watch is that it manages to combine in a coherent way the funky and the rigor of a military chronograph. A great success for the designer !

The new P.9100 / R caliber looks to be more than just a simple modular chronograph based on the P.9000. It is based on the pointing of the P.9000 with a fairly advanced integration of the chronograph module in the base caliber. Some elements of the chronograph appear through back of the case, including the column wheel, impressive for a brand like Panerai!

The base 9100 is an automatic flyback chronograph, clocked at 4Hz for 72h of power reserve, with central seconds and minutes, allowing an easy reading while preserving the purity of the dial .

The "R" designates a further complication: The button at 4:30 allows reversing the central minute hand, minute by minute, up to 55 minutes. Why? Because at the launch of a regatta a 5 minutes countdown is launched before the start to allow the crews to prepare to enter the race, equivalent to the warm-up in auto racing.

One may regret two things with this movement: the lack of an 8 days power reserve (i.e. a P.200X base) and the small diameter of the movement (13 lines ¾ for 9.55mm), which doesn’t really fills the 47mm case.

Beyond the necessary nit-picking, the Officine still offers an original complication, based on a proprietary movement, with a major integration effort of the module into the P.9000. But most importantly, we did not expect Panerai in serious watchmaking! Moreover, few houses, even the most prestigious, produce such exciting chronograph movements!

Morality: this PAM526 Regatta is the turning point Panerai of this SIHH, which both in aesthetics and watchmaking marks a milestone in the history of Panerai.

The other somewhat crucial watch is, for a change, a "small" 42mm Panerai! Heresy!

The PAM512 is a polished steel "1940" Radiomir of 42mm. From the outset it is surprising to see a new Panerai case directly available in XS size (the "1940" case has been presented in 47mm and Limited Series in 2012: PAM398 and 399).

Second surprise, on the wrist, it's beautiful! Shame on me. Never a small Panerai was as well laid on my wrist ! This 512 fits even better than the very successful PAM336, 337 and 338 equipped with the P.999.

This caliber, which demonstrates the past relationship between Val Fleurier and Piaget, now equips the PAM512 (it has an undeniable family resemblance with the 830P Piaget series...).

It offers the advantage of great thinness, only 3.4 mm, which allows to elegantly contain the height of the PAM312 case. Despite its relatively small diameter, its "1940" case remains very thin... The ridges on the sides of the casings further contribute to reduce thickness. Magnificent!

Quite strangely this 42mm version is much nicer to the wrist than the 47mm steel Radiomir 1940, the PAM514... I will come back to it below.

Until now the small Panerai, the 40mm Luminor Bettarini, although present since the Vendôme era in the catalogues of Officine, had never really found its audience among Paneristis (with the previously mentioned exception of the 336 , 337, and 338). Those gave these small Panerais a condescending look, akin to a friendly pet. And the targets of these watches remained the Asian market and women.

But with this Radiomir 1940 PAM512 we might witness a comical situation: Mr. borrowing that little Panerai from Madame.

Watchonista recommends:

  1. The SIHH2012 of the Officine.
  2. The SIHH2011 of Panerai.
  3. The brand page of the OP on Watchonista.
  4. More photos of the PAM526.
  5. Other pictures of the PAM512.
Panerai SIHH2013 : Part 2, in the rubble.


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