This was to describe the straightforward procedure that resulted in the following awe-inspiring second. As I went back to the PAM674, now using all the tan strap (highlighting the tan numerals and text), laying on its crown protector, I clearly remember thinking to myself, kind of in shock: “My God, that’s a good looking watch.” A struggle to imitate with photography, but a memorable moment that really did very much happen.There is some thing special that its newfound thinness — a slim 10.70mm for the PAM674 in spite of the slightly domed crystal and angled lugs — provides into the Luminor 1950 case. It appears effortless, mild and, even within this 45mm version, beautifully proportionate. However, I’d prefer the PAM676 in 42mm, which would admittedly match my wrist dimension better.I state this pretty much each time once I discuss aesthetics, and it really should go without saying: aesthetics is something for everyone to make up their minds about independently. However, what can objectively be determined concerning the Luminor Due is that it is among the least expensive, most balanced Panerai layouts to date — and this, being a brand new take from Panerai, is finally something that praises the work of today’s Panerai designers, not those from two generations ago.The magical combination of a perfectly round bezel and a cushion case requires no introduction to anyone who has ever enjoyed a Panerai layout, but the Due does offer a different take on the longstanding recipe. First, the bezel is very thin however, with its steep border and relatively substantial height, it stands out enough that it doesn’t appear too small or fragile. The cushion case is a take not on the standard Luminor, but instead, the Luminor 1950 with the profile turning upwards and into the top corners, instead of running into vertical lines. This further enhances that slim, filigree appearance, while the neatly defined (and equally nice-to-the-touch) edge that runs along the full length of the negative adds some visual interest and a nice tactile element.
The Panerai Luminor Because 3 Days Automatic PAM674 is powered by the in-house made and -made Panerai P.4000 caliber, a “3 days” movement rewound either via the sleek and clicky crown or the micro-rotor neatly integrated into the movement. The P.4000 caliber runs at a contemporary 4Hz and still provides 3 days of power book — impressive specs out of a motion that is only 3.95mm thick. It comprises 203 components and 31 jewels, but most of these are concealed by the large plate that covers a lot of the movement. The balance wheel and escapement are stored securely by their bridge and penis, and also the micro-rotor has the Officine Panerai text and logo on it — but this is about all of the eye-candy you are going to receive in the P.4000. The red gold variant has a gold micro-rotor and text — as it should, thinking about the hefty price premium.Accuracy was great, just a couple of seconds too fast and the micro-rotor did a fine job at keeping the movement wound. But if you use the watch only a few hours per day, sooner or later, it will run out of juice and you’re better off rewinding it via the crown every day. This is not difficult to do, as the crown is not a screw-down kind, you can wind it in any given moment.One aspect of the micro-rotor — and this is something that has applied to each micro-rotor watch I’ve handled to date, regardless of price or manufacturer point — is the noticeable sound it makes. To Panerai’s charge, it must be stated I have heard much louder full-rotor automatics, so the P.4000 really isn’t that loud, but it is audible in a quieter area or inside a silent car stopped at a set of lights. The ticking of this movement can also be observed if your hearing is really good — but then again, the PAM674 is far from being the loudest mechanical luxury view I’ve heard. It is on the more perceptible side; though it is true that unnecessary and repeating sounds do make me angry really quickly (confession time).

Few brands are as adept as resurrecting past designs as Panerai. The entire brand is defined by a pair of military dive watches that emerged during World War II. So it is not surprise that the latest from Panerai Watches Hold Their Value Replica is a remake; in fact it is a remake of a remake.

The recently announced Mare Nostrum PAM00716 is a replica of the 1990s watch of the same name, which was itself a scaled down version of a prototype officer’s chronograph produced in the 1940s that was named after mare nostrum, Latin for “our sea”, the Roman Empire’s name for the Mediterranean. So while the Mare Nostrum scores low on creativity, it is in itself an appealing timepiece.

The new Mare Nostrum PAM 716 is almost a like-for-like remake of the “Pre-Vendôme” ref. 5218-301/A that was introduced in 1993 and produced until 1997 or so, in a production run of 990 watches including several dozen for Sylvester Stallone, according to fan-site Paneristi. Introduced before Richemont acquired Panerai in 1997 – the Swiss luxury group was known as Vendôme back then – the ref. 5218-301/A was notable for being the first Panerai without a black dial.

A “Pre-V” Mare Nostrum ref. 5218-301/A, circa 1993. Image Phillips

Based on the oversized, 52mm Mare Nostrum prototypes of 1943, the ref. 5218-301/A had a 42mm steel case and a basic modular movement. It was a handsome, fuss-free watch – which is exactly what the new Mare Nostrum is.

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 1

The steel case is 42mm with a circular brushed top and polished sides. Though it feels smallish compared to the typical Panerai, which now averages 47mm, the Mare Nostrum is a sizeable. Both the bezel and the straight ends of the case where it meets the lugs gives it a bigger footprint than comparably sized watches.

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 13

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 11

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 4

Necessarily it is almost identical to the 1993 original, a good thing since the remake retains the uncomplicated feel of the original. Differences between this and the original are minuscule, but they included the added lettering on crown and the depth of the screw bars for the lugs (the screw heads appear deeper on the originals).

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 7

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 10

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 5

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 3

A dark blue with a fine grained surface, the dial is appealingly functional. Like the original it has slightly recessed sub-dials, and appears identical at first glance, though minor differences reveal themselves up close. Those include the serif font currently used, as well as the the thinner rings on the chronograph sub-dials.

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 14

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 6

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 8

Notably, the new Mare Nostrum is a remake of how the 1990s watch looks today, and not how it appeared when it was first launched. That explains the ivory-tone Super-Luminova on the dial and hands, which approximates the tritium paint on the originals that has darkened over time.

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 9

Panerai also stuck to the same movement as found in the original, which is a basic and economical ETA 2801 topped by a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module. Christened the cal. OP XXXIII, it is hand-wound with a 42-hour power reserve. While it may be concealed underneath the solid back, the ETA 2801 is not much to behold. What the movement lacks in beauty it makes up for in reliability and cost.

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 12

Priced at just over US$10,000, the Mare Nostrum PAM 716 is well-priced for a Panerai chronograph and roughly on par with the competition, like the entry-level Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Chronograph for instance (which admittedly has a finer movement).

Notably, the new Mare Nostrum is priced at slightly less than what the originals of the 1990s cost today, which is US$13,000 to US$15,000. Notably, that’s not far from what they went for during the mid-2000s Panerai craze because the Mare Nostrum was always something of a sleeper. Collected less fanatically than the signature Luminor, the Mare Nostrum was often a Panerai for those in the know.

The uncanny irony lies in the fact that the Panerai craze was deflated in large part by Panerai itself reusing its own ideas once too often, which is exactly what the new Mare Nostrum is. But that does not detract from it being an appealing, well conceived watch.

Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 716 chrono 15

Price and availability

Limited to 1000 pieces, the Mare Nostrum PAM 716 is slated to reach boutiques in July 2017, and retailers a month later. It’s priced at US$10,200, €9900 or S$14,600. The watch is packaged in a large box with a scale model of Italian navy destroyer Luigi Durand De La Penne. Launched in 1993, the vessel was where the original Mare Nostrum ref. 5218-301/A was first unveiled in September 1993.