HANDS-ON: Panerai Luminor Chrono PAM 1218

Amongst Panerai’s releases at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2021 were a trio of new Luminor Chronos, and I recently had the opportunity to see one in the metal at their Sydney boutique. The three new models are the PAM 1109 (black dial), PAM 1110 (blue dial), and the PAM 1218 (white dial). It is the last of these that we took a closer look at.

The cases are all 44mm, stainless steel, and have a water resistance of 100m. This PAM 1218’s white dial has a matte finish and it comes on a black alligator strap with an additional blue rubber strap. Featuring the classic sandwich dial, the new Luminor Chrono’s pushers are on the left and the chronograph function’s hands (central seconds and on the sub dial) are blue.

The PAM 1109’s black dial is also matte and it comes on a black alligator strap with the second strap being black rubber. The PAM1110’s blue dial has a sunburst finishing, and the stainless steel bracelet is a mix of brushed and polished finishing. The bracelet’s link design is inspired by the signature crown protectors found on Luminors.

There is, of course, there’s an interchangeable strap system – something which seems increasingly to become the default position for many models/ brands, but which does make me think of the time when changing and acquiring special straps was a key part of owning one.

Behind the solid case back is the new automatic P.9200 movement which beats at 28,800 VPH and has a power reserve of 42 hours.

This PAM 1218’s white dial has numerals and markers in anthracite with green lume. The chronograph’s minute counter at 3 o’clock and small seconds at 9 o’clock are both hollowed out. The PAM 1109 and PAM 1110 also have sunken sub dials and green Super-LumiNova.

I have a default preference for a black dials on Panerais, which is why I chose to look at this one. To wear, the 44mm size with a thickness of 15.65mm is very wearable, more so than the Regatta watches of ‘old’. Bearing in mind my own pre-existing preferences, the white dial is actually not bad looking ‘in the metal, and the use of the sunken sub dials not only adds some visual interest but also makes sense for a chronograph with a sandwich dial.

On a broad brand level, Officine Panerai in its 2020s form is very different to the 2000s (let alone the late 1990s models) in both feel and positioning. It used to be almost ‘take it or leave it’ – if you found the models too big then bad luck, you’ll just have to wait and hope. If you didn’t like the strap options then go non-OEM, and the idea of straps being easy to change? The regular strap changes were part of the ritual of owning one.

These new chronos, although retaining core Panerai attributes such as the beloved sandwich, are part of the generation of models for the customers of today. Strap changes don’t require a tool, and the brand is more responsive to what their existing and potential clients desire. The PAM 1218 is a piece that is very comfortable and easy to wear as a potential daily watch, and after having it on my wrist for a bit, the white dial started to grow on me.

The Australian RRP of this Luminor Chrono PAM 1218 is AUD 13,200, and the PAM1109 (black dial) is the same price. The Luminor Chrono PAM 1110 with the blue dial on a bracelet will set you back AUD 14,400.




Categories: chronograph, Hands-on, Panerai, Watch Profile, watches, Watches & Wonders Geneva 2021, Women's watches

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