February 2, 2014
by David Bredan
At this year’s SIHH, Panerai debuted two new models for their Luminor 1950 collection, both dedicated to left-handed fans of the brand. Ariel went hands-on with both and now we are looking at the PAM579 Chrono Monopulsante Destro 8 Days Titanio. Housed in the 47mm Luminor 1950 case – made from titanium in this instance – and equipped with an in-house developed and manufactured monopusher chronograph movement, the 579 comprises some of the strongest components of the brand.
Limited in production to only 300 pieces, the PAM579 offers what could be best described as a clever selection of some of the brand’s most traditional design clues mixed up with a few modern elements. The Luminor 1950’s large cushion shaped case, its curved profile and substantial crown-protector brings Panerai’s history to a tangible form, invoking the times when their watches were worn by the Italian Navy divers. Panerai eased up that vintage feel with a modern choice of material for the case. It’s done in brushed and polished titanium. Those with a deep love for the brand – or just with really good memory – will remember a 2011 SIHH novelty, the PAM345. That was a 44 mm version of the exact same case style with the same crown placement, same material and same movement. So what has changed?
First of all, the case is now 47 mm, which is the “authentic” size for the case. Since its first appearance as the Reference 6152-1 from 1946, the cushion shaped 47 mm case and the large crown guard have become the trademark look of Panerai. Speaking of the case, one might wonder what Destro stands for in its description. The Destro cases – with Destro meaning “right” in Italian and referring to the fact that these models should be worn on the right wrist – have the crown and its bridge at the 9 o’clock position. This layout is not new by any means as such watches were also used by navy divers back in the day – decades ago, that is.
Secondly, the PAM579’s dial has been changed to a different shade of brown from that of the predecessor PAM345. Its hands and indexes coated with tan colored SuperLuminova give this new model an appearance that not only matches the brand’s more recent offerings, but also lends the watch what I would call a more vintage mood. And it is that timeless look that so many fans of the brand began to love and expect, with it perhaps being more authentic and in greater harmony with the brand’s communicated history. With a consistently large demand for similarly styled pieces, this special edition of only 300 pieces will likely sell out fast.
Inside the watch is the P.2004/9 in-house movement, equipped with three barrels that help it reach the claimed 8 days of power reserve. That is an achievement that is all the more impressive considering that the movement runs at a more modern 28,800 vph (or 4 Hz), contrary to several instances when we see manufactures achieving longer power reserve partly by dropping the rate of the watch from 4 to 3 Hertz. The back of the movement is covered by large and rather uniquely shaped plates, providing enough real estate for a power reserve indication – a must-have for hand wound movements with such extensive independence. Composed of 329 parts, its column-wheel chronograph supports a bi-compax dial layout, with one sub dial for the running seconds and one for the 30-minutes counter of the chronograph.
With the PAM579 what we are looking at is a piece that mixes the brand’s traditional design elements – such as the case and dial designs – with some of its more contemporary solutions – namely the modern movement and case material. Given the in-house chronograph caliber and the more unusual case material, the PAM579 monopusher chronograph will be priced at $22,500 and it will become available for purchase later this year. panerai.com