Today is about a limited edition 42mm Panerai – the PAM000716 aka the Mare Nostrom Acciaio, based on a 1990s Pre-Vendôme Mare Nostrum. Of course this is not the first Mare Nostrum reissue; most recently there was a 2015 model in Titanium, which was in a rather large 52mm size (see below).
The history of the Mare Nostrum and its significance to Panerai harks back to the 1943 and their historical roots as naval watches. Their first chronograph, it was developed for the Italian navy’s deck officers, but it never reached the point of actual full scale production.
1993 marked the birth of Officine Panerai as we know it today, and as well as some Luminor and Marina models being produced, the Mare Nostrum made an appearance in the form of a much smaller 42mm case (the original’s prototype being 52mm) and some other modernisations such as a km/h scale on the bezel. Inside the Ref. 5218-301/A was an ETA2801-2 with a Dubois Deprax chronograph module. This model was in production for three years (less than 500 pieces) with both white and black dials.
Most famously, there were also the ‘Slytech’ models made for Stallone from 1995 – fifty as per the production model but with ‘Slytech’ added to the dial, and the others with ‘Slytech’ but a bezel that reverted back to the smooth one of the 1940s prototype. The 5218-302 Slytech Mare Nostrum had a blue dial and the 5218-304, a plain bezel in 1995.
Another important year in the history of Officine Panerai was 1997, with its acquisition by the Vendôme Luxury Group (now known as Richemont). The Mare Nostrum was again ‘updated’ in three new colours (blue, white and black), another bezel change (a polished inner ring with speed markers) and a dial with a minute track surrounding the hour markers. The blue one, the PAM006, is the one to note with regards to the new release.
Having worked off fragmentary historical documentation (i.e. anything but an actual original Mare Nostrum) for these modern editions, it was not until 2005 that Panerai successfully bought an original Mare Nostrum prototype at auction, leading to a new limited edition of 99 pieces faithful to the original in size (52mm) and looks, but powered by the OP XXV movement (versus the Angelus 215 in the original), released in 2010.
This brings us to the 2015 model, as mentioned at the outset. Released in response to the concerns expressed by the owners of 2010’s PAM00300 about wearability (weight), the PAM00603 Titanio sold out of its 150 pieces.
Now, two years later, we have another version, based on the 1993 model. A wrist-friendly 42mm, the same dark blue dial, with a new ‘Mare Nostrum’ on the crown’. At 3 o’clock is a small seconds and at 9 o’clock, the minute counter. The dial and markers are coated with that ‘vintage look’ Super-LumiNova.
The stainless steel PAM00716 use the same movement as the pre-Vendôme model (Calibre OP XXXIII) – a manual-wind ETA 2801-2 base with a Dubois-Dépraz chronograph module. It is C.O.S.C.-certified and has a power reserve of forty-two hours.
Released in a limited edition of 1,000 pieces, it comes, as per its pre-Vendôme antecedents, in a box with a model of a 1940s Italian Naval destoyer called the Luigi Durand De La Penne. The RRP is 9,900 EUR.