Panerai built its legend on the back of big, sturdy diving watches it made for Italian frogmen. The brand aesthetic was distinct; big, bold and masculine. From the early military-issue timepieces to the 60 mm wide “L’ Egiziano” diver developed for the Egyptian Navy in the 1950s, from the ones made popular by actor Sly Stallone to the more contemporary models, Panerai has looked right at home on arms the size of tree trunks. And the Panerai faithful wouldn’t have it any other way.
Not one to be pigeonholed, in 2016 Panerai launched the Luminor Due, a line of dressy watches that carried the style codes of the Luminor range. Pronounced Du-ay (Due is two in Italian), this was slim enough to slip up under the cuff of your dress shirt and was available in 42 and 45 mm. Two years later, Panerai introduced the Due in 38 mm, the smallest watch they had ever made. This was downright dainty, by Panerai standards, and sacrilegious to some Paneristi. While the brand has always maintained that the 38 mm Due is unisex (and it is that), the strap options suggest that they don’t mind seeing a little diversity in their client base.
Personally, I have always felt 38 mm is best suited to people with small wrists like mine. It just sits better on the wrist. A sticky point with a lot of Panerai enthusiasts was the fact that the case was depth-rated to just 30 meters. But then Panerai never claimed this was a professional diver’s watch, so I still don’t understand the outrage. In September last year, Panerai unveiled probably their most attractive 38 mm Luminor Due yet, the PAM00926. Cased in titanium and with a radiant, blue sunburst dial, this is a watch that you need to know more about.
The brushed titanium casts the case with a grayish tone, is topped by a polished titanium bezel and features the characteristic Panerai crown guard. The closed caseback is snapped to fit into the case, and not screwed in. Consequently, the case is depth-rated to just 30 meters, a sticky point in any discussion about this watch.
The blue sunburst dial works well on a dressy timepiece like this one. Like most Panerai models, this watch has a sandwich dial construction. A layer of beige-colored Super-Luminova is sandwiched between a base plate and the dial with cut-outs for the numerals that let the photoluminescent pigment shine through. A small seconds hand is placed at 9 o’ clock while a discrete date window is placed at 3 o’ clock.
PAM926 runs the self-winding Caliber P.900, an in-house movement that’s based on a ValFleurier ebauche. The movement has a power reserve of 3 days (72 hours) and the escapement oscillates at a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vph).
In keeping with its more formal tone, the watch is paired with a blue alligator leather strap with a titanium buckle and a quick release system. This makes perfect sense given the number of strap options Panerai offers now. The watch is priced at AED25,600 which is about AED3,000 than the stainless steel 38 mm model. If you can get over the fact that this is NOT meant to be a tool watch and take it for what it is - a stylish dressy Panerai that borrows its style codes from the sporty 1950 Luminor - it represents a good entry point to a the brand for people with less-than-intimidating forearms.