Officine Panerai had a monster hit on its hands with the 2011 PAM00382 “Bronzo.”
So frenzied was the public reaction to that stunning marriage of bronze to Panerai’s 47mm “1950” case that many in the collector community compared it to the energy that seized the first “Paneristi” brand devotees in the early 2000s. Naturally, Panerai wasn’t prepared to let the magic die with the 2011 special edition model year.
At SIHH 2013, Panerai raised the curtain on a new bronze age: the Luminor Submersible 1950 PAM 507. More than a re-issue of the already legendary PAM 382, the new Bronzo combines additional mechanical refinements with a new dial, new straps, and a unique weathered bronze treatment. The metal alone is worth the price of admission to the limited edition of 1,000 individually-numbered pieces.
Officine Panerai is a brand with a unique grasp on company heritage, and Panerai’s history is intertwined with seafaring and the nautical landscape. Originally a supplier of combat dive watches for pioneering Special Forces during the 1930s, Panerai reaches even deeper into Mediterranean nautical lore for the inspiration behind the Bronzo.
Its weathered details, bold lines, and warm golden glow evoke the war galleys that battled Persian empires for dominance of what Panerai’s 20th century Italian commandos would come to call the “Mare Nostrum”: “our sea.” While the Bronze Age spans more Greek history than Roman, Paneristi will forgive the watchmaker’s historical liberties in conceiving a watch that is drop-dead gorgeous.
Fast forward more than 2,500 years, and bronze can be seen walking in lock step with the modern Panerai luxury watch image. Now a refined companion to collectors who prefer large, expressive, and butch sports models, Panerai harnesses a proprietary CuSn8 alloy of copper and tin to create a dynamic metal that evolves with time. More than a factory finish, the weathered accents of the PAM 507 case are designed to grow in scope and complexity over time.
As in the case of bronze fittings on luxury yachts and beachfront homes, Panerai’s bronze draws its enduring strength from the metal’s ability to shield itself from decay with a dynamic patina. Tones of green, violet, copper, argent, and earth slowly join the golden hue of the original bronze until each Panerai PAM 507 becomes a “piece unique” in the most literal sense.
Already, the first PAM 382 Bronzos from 2011 are beginning to show signs of the rugged beauty that lies in wait for 507 owners. If the present collector mania for “tropical” dials and mid-century aged radium patina is any guide, the Bronzos are well on their way to becoming grail-level targets for connoisseurs of ruggedly-handsome divers. Add limited edition scarcity and everyday usability to the mix, and the PAM 507 Bronzo begins to look like “gold” in more ways than one.
While weathered bronze is the star of the show, Officine Panerai’s juxtaposition of matte olive dial and rose gold hands and indexes animates the face of the PAM 507. The olive tone pays tribute to the military heritage of the watchmaker while providing a suitable complement to the eventual grey-green patina of the bronze case. On this canvas, the gold details complete a picture of masculine elegance that reminds observers of Panerai’s modern day status as a luxury watchmaker par excellence.
Detailing is immaculate. Officine Panerai incorporates a subdued beige tone for the dial’s graphics and date numerals. The date disc itself, a feature frequently mismatched to the color of so many luxury watch faces, here finds itself perfectly keyed to the green of the dial. Bronzo’s date effectively vanishes until the user specifically seeks it.
The 2011 PAM 382 Bronzo was a simple three-hand watch with a date, but the PAM 507 adds mechanical refinement in the form of a power reserve indicator. This is a major asset to any Bronzo owner who plans to rotate through a collection of watches or intends to use the Luminor Submersible PAM 507 for its design purpose of diving.
Although both the first and second Bronzos feature similar Officine Panerai movements with outstanding 3-day power reserves, only the PAM 507 allows its user to gauge where the watch lies on the 3-day spectrum. When rotating through a watch collection, a stopped watch due to winding oversight is an inconvenience; when SCUBA diving, a watch with low wind could be dangerous. The PAM 507’s power reserve indicator eliminates both risks.
More than a rugged piece, Panerai’s exclusive P.9002 movement is feast for the eyes and loaded with value-adding features. A titanium caseback frames the watch’s sapphire display port, and owners of a Bronzo are able to admire the skeletonized winding rotor, straight grained movement plates, and tough free-sprung escapement. More than a pretty face, this movement is designed to deliver on the go-anywhere promise of the burly bronze case.
With a quick-set hour hand for easy transitions between time zones, the Bronzo can go anywhere in more senses than one; a unique mechanism allows the hand to be moved forward or back independently of the minute hand, and it can even drive the date backward without hazard to the watch.
In the field, the Officine Panerai PAM 507 can tackle any assignment a conventional Luminor Submersible might face. With a depth rating of 300 meters, a unidirectional diver’s bezel, and the iconic Device Protecting the Crown locking lever, this watch is ready for water sports, the beach, the pool, or your morning shower. Hey, every adventure has to start somewhere…
The Officine Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Power Reserve PAM00507 is a heck of a watch with a heck of a name. But when your non-Paneristi friends ask, all they need to know is that it’s the Bronzo; a watch this handsome can speak for itself.
About the Author: OJ Whatley is the CEO and Founder of Hollywood, Fla.-based pre-owned luxury watch authority watchuwant.com. Since 2001, Whatley and watchuwant.com have examined, authenticated, bought, and sold tens of thousands of luxury watches for a global clientele.
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