Panerai has debuted two new (retro designed) Luminor 1950 pieces at SIHH 2014. We have already looked at the monopusher chronograph here, and now it's time to discuss the other offering from this range: the more restrained, two-hand only PAM557 Destro 3 Days which is essentially identical to the famed PAM372 model (reviewed here), but with a lefty crown layout.
This time around we really are looking at a rather simple modification: the PAM557 follows the trend set by the chronograph piece as it also shares a lot in common with yet another 2011 novelty, the PAM372 (Luminor 1950 3 Days). Debuted three years ago, the 372 was almost exactly like the watch presented this year, other than the crown's placement on the more usual right side of the case. What we have here is something Panerai likes to call the "Destro", which stands for "right" in Italian and implies that the watch is primarily designed to be worn on the right wrist as the crown has been moved to the 9 o'clock position. The case is in 316L steel and it is polished all the way around, including the bezel. The crystal is not sapphire but 3mm thick Plexiglas, which is definitely not a first for Panerai, but certainly a welcomed treat for those in search of the more authentic Panerai "mood".
Much like with the chronograph, the PAM557 is also equipped with an in-house movement. Its P.3000 caliber has two barrels and hence provides up to 3 days of power reserve, paired with a more modest rate of only 21,600 vibrations per hour, or 3 Hz. Being a relatively new in-house movement one would perhaps expect more modern results, i.e. 4 Hz or 28,800 vph, but then again, fans of the vintage Panerai atmosphere would likely argue otherwise. If anything, this watch has a lot to offer to them, with its 3mm thick, domed Plexiglas, its sandwich dial with tan colored indexes and gold hands, all topped off with the large Luminor Panerai script just below 12 o'clock.
For some, the lack of a running seconds hand and its subdial might be a sorely lacked feature, or even a deal breaker. Yet, picking on this piece for such things would mean missing the point behind its creation. Losing the seconds hand and swapping the proven safety and luxury of a sapphire glass to an arguably inferior Plexiglas material clearly suggests that this model is not about pursuing the (rightful) expectations of modern watch lovers. Instead, it is about offering a new-ish piece that brings the wearer closer to the original creations of Panerai from some five decades ago; and much like the 372, the 557 also does rather well at that.
In summary, while both the chronograph and the two-hands only pieces were merely modified versions of novelties we have seen at the 2011 SIHH, Panerai did what it does best: with small but noticeable changes they made both pieces even more desirable, bringing the more historical side of the brand to the forefront yet again. Speaking of the PAM557 Destro 3 Days, with its Plexiglas front, in-house movement, and more exclusive left-handed layout, it definitely is a very desirable package of Panerai goodness, if that is your thing. Honestly, in addition to being another flavor of an already desirable collection, the lefty crown is going to be more comfortable for many people who normally wear the watch on their left hand given that the crown is on the opposite side of their wrist.
Delivered with a second Plexiglas for replacement, plus the usual Panerai accessories (the extra rubber strap and strap changing tools), the Panerai Luminor 1950 Destro 3 Days PAM557 will retail for $10,600. panerai.com