When Panerai unveiled the Navy SEALs line of watches last year, to say there was a mixed reaction would be putting it lightly. Despite the naysayers, the brand did what it does best: make extremely robust watches that can be recognized by a variety of distinguishing features. The latest beast the brand has unveiled, the Panerai Navy SEALs Submersible Flyback Chronograph PAM1402 puts an aggressively tactical spin on the existing Submersible Flyback and pairs it with an incredibly immersive experience — something exclusive to Panerai’s top-tier releases.

There’s no ignoring the size of the PAM1402. It is 47mm in diameter not including the extra large crown guard. Cased in stainless steel, it also has a considerable heft making it top-heavy. However, when strapped snuggly to the wrist, it is not nearly as unbalanced as I expected. Granted, it is still far too cumbersome for my 6.5-inch wrist, so it is pictured here on a larger 7.25-inch wrist.

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The steel case is treated with a brunito (burnished) finish. This weathered finish is beautiful with the base steel shining through and highlighting the peaks and crest of the bloated square midcase, stubby lugs, and bezel edge. Done intricately by hand, each brunito case is unique. I only recently came around to appreciating this case finishing. At one point it was extremely off-putting and I classified it as fake patina. While it certainly toes the line, I’ve come to see it as a brutishly elegant design choice that complements watches like this perfectly, adding loads of character.

A matte green ceramic bezel insert is found within the unidirectional titanium bezel. It matches the olive drab rubberized crown and Caoutchouc strap, driving home the military aesthetic. The rubberized crown function was easy to use, but I am not convinced that it is the correct material to use especially on a highly interactive part of the watch. The same military green hue is found as the luminous material in the hands and three-dimensional markers. The color provides enough contrast against the grained anthracite dial for legibility in standard lighting conditions but may be difficult to read in low light if the lume is not charged adequately. Yellow highlights indicate the flyback chronograph and countdown functions. The yellow chronograph hand can be activated and placed at a specific position through repeated pressing of the countdown button at 4 o’clock. This is a very specific feature that many will not need but can come in handy for specific training or mission-oriented purposes for those who remember to utilize it.

Powering the flyback chronograph movement is the Panerai P.9100/R caliber. The movement itself is 9.5mm thick, contains 328 components, Incabloc shock protection, and a Glucydur balance that operates at a standard 28,800 vibrations per hour. Overall the P.9100/R movements are known quantities but still retain a disappointing power reserve of 3 days despite having two barrels. 300 meters of water resistance is a redeeming factor thanks to the thick crystal, solid caseback, screw-down pushers, and crown protection device.

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There’s no hiding the thickness of this watch. There is no official thickness listed, and I didn’t have my calipers on hand, but we are talking north of 15mm. This is unsurprising considering this is a twin-barrel flyback chronograph with 300m of water resistance, so the thickness is justified to me. However, the weight of the watch is a bit much in this case (pun intended), and at this price point, lighter-weight materials could easily — and I believe should — be substituted.

There has been quite a bit of positive and negative discussion about the Navy SEALs cobranding on this watch. Many comments state the brand has no history with the American military branch (and they aren’t incorrect), but the brand does have fairly widespread appeal in the military. Additionally, Panerai could easily file whatever paperwork and pay whatever fees necessary to use the Navy SEAL name and leave it at that. However, the brand has gone on to make consistent donations to support the National UDT-SEAL Museum and related foundations. These donations make a tangible impact on the lives of veterans and that is worth mentioning. The donations come from a (small) portion of the Navy SEALs collection proceeds and, unfortunately, this year’s figures were not available at the time of writing. However, the brand has donated over $250,000 since the collection launched in 2022. I truly hope to see this number increase dramatically for 2023 with one of the models having a waitlist on launch day, and this experience watch herein reviewed having a high price tag.

The experience watch isn’t something new to Panerai. This endeavor has been consistent across a variety of models for years and the 2023 experience is riding on the heels of the previous Navy SEALs experience success. Purchasers of this Panerai Submersible Flyback Chronograph Navy SEALs will have the opportunity to be trained by retired Navy SEALs and put the skills they learn to the test. Physical training is required before attending and a strict exercise regimen is provided to attendees. North American Brand President Philippe Bonay advises all purchasers to follow the program closely because he learned the hard way what it is like to go through Navy SEAL training without appropriate preparation. Participants will receive nearly unfiltered training from screaming drill sergeants to being pushed to their limits while evading trained trackers, rescuing hostages, and bunking with their fellow attendees.

The experience that comes along with the Panerai Submersible Flyback Chronograph Navy SEALs is certainly not for everyone, but those who do attend will leave with a new understanding of the brotherly bond formed by SEALs and a first-hand look at how Panerai is supporting veterans. Unfortunately, this watch and experience comes with a stunning price tag of $61,700 USD. While a substantial portion of this certainly covers the experience, it still isn’t chump change. When all is said and done, the 70 owners will have a robust timepiece that has a cool factor and a story that you can’t get many other places and that most other brands can’t pull off the way Panerai can. I look forward to seeing this collection grow and learning how the brand finds new ways to support veterans in the coming years. You can learn more about this watch and the Navy SEALs collection on Panerai’s website.

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