11 Best Panerai Watches for the Regatta Enthusiast

Jan 07, 2021
11 Best Panerai Watches for the Regatta Enthusiast

What do you get when you combine the best of Italian design and Swiss watchmaking? You get Panerai watches that are both functional and attractive. These watches are strong and reliable enough to be used both on land and at sea. Panerai’s popularity is increasing so much so that people have heard of its name alongside the likes of Rolex, IWC, and Omega.  Let’s find out what turned this brand into one of Italy’s favourite watch manufacturers.

Swiss Precision with Italian Flair

Panerai watches, Panerai workshop
At the opening of the Panerai workshop | Photo from Panerai

Panerai watches started their journey when Giovanni Panerai opened his watch shop in 1860 in Florence, Italy. Not only was it a shop but it was also Florence’s first watchmaking school. This made the company one of the most popular watch sellers in the city.

Giovanni worked with his son, Leon Francesco, to improve their business. They partnered with watch industry leaders from Switzerland to find suppliers. Their watches even went through the hands of Swiss watch specialists at one point. As they became bigger, the duo also strengthened their research and development department to improve the quality of their watches.

Panerai’s Military Ties

Vintage Radiomir Panerai
Vintage Radiomir Panerai for the Italian Navy | Photo from Panerai

By the time the 20th century arrived, Panerai watches had become reputable enough to earn the trust of the military. That being said, they became the official supplier of the Regia Marina or the Royal Italian Navy by providing different precision instruments and navigation tools. The company’s relationship with the Italian military lasted until World War II.

Amid the Second World War, Panerai has cemented their heritage as military watches. Italian amphibious commandos went to battle using Panerai watches and tools. And with the help of those instruments provided by Panerai, the Italian force succeeded in defeating the opposing combatants. During that time, Panerai watches became so influential. In fact, both German and British military tried to emulate the watches worn by the Italian Navy.

Panerai Watches for Civilians

After the war, it was time for Panerai to serve the civilians. So, while on an Italian Navy cruiser in 1993, the company presented a collection of limited-edition models to the public — the Luminor, Luminor Marina, and Mare Nostrum. These models were inspired by the watches they created during the Second World War. Not long after their release, these Panerai watches instantly became collector’s items.

It was in 1997 when the brand became part of the Richemont Group (then Vendôme Group). The acquisition turned Panerai into a luxury watch brand more than a military one. As a consequence, the price tags of Panerai watches went up. And during its debut on the fine watchmaking market, they released an updated version of the models that they previously launched in 1993.

Today, Panerai watches are some of the most popular models in the community. Models like the Panerai Luminor, Panerai Radiomir, and Panerai Submersible are a mainstay in watch forums and blogs. If Panerai’s story has moved you, below are some of the models you can check out for yourself.

Best Panerai Watches

1. Panerai Luminor Marina 

Panerai Luminor Marina Blue Dial 44mm

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 44mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 300m

First up is a model that is easily recognizable — the Panerai Luminor Marina Blue Dial 44mm. In fact, this is so popular that this is the first thing people picture when talking about Panerai watches. So, if you’re new to the brand and you want something that’s durable and bulky, this is the first thing you should look at.

One thing that makes this watch special is its large 44mm diameter. Some enthusiasts would even say that this brand started the oversized watch trend. And with its big size comes a bigger value. Its dial is made with blue satine soleil, which gives it a shiny and silky look. Meanwhile, the bezel comes in a matte finish that contrasts the dial.

Furthermore, it doesn’t skimp on the movement as it uses the Calibre P.9010, which is in-house and automatic. Thanks to this calibre, this watch can last up to three days when fully wound. It has a total of 31 jewels and beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph.

The Panerai Luminor Marina Blue Dial 44mm is definitely one for the books. Its 300m water-resistance rating and brushed steel material make it worthy for sports. On the other hand, its elegant dial and dark blue alligator strap make it suitable for formal occasions as well.

2. Panerai Luminor Chronograph Yachts Challenge 

Panerai Luminor Chronograph Yachts Challenge PAM00764

Specs:

  • Case material: Polished titanium
  • Case dimension: 44mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

Panerai watches are known for their affiliation with the sea, and the Luminor Chronograph Yachts Challenge PAM00764 is yet another tribute to that connection. Released in 2019, this timepiece features a flyback chronograph encased in a classic and vintage design.

The PAM00764 model comes in a titanium case that is dominantly black. To break the monotony, it features light blue accents that give it a sporty look. It also has a tachymeter scale, which you can find on the inner flange. Considering the watch is dedicated to nautical functions, the scale is graduated in knots instead of the usual km/h or mph. Furthermore, the whole dial is easy to read and use as the pushers are easy to reach the side.

It uses the automatic movement called the Calibre P9100. Like the calibre from the previous watch, it sports a 72-hour power reserve. Likewise, it beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph. The difference is that this has more functions and components. Either way, both calibres are reliable and accurate.

The Panerai Luminor Chronograph Yachts Challenge PAM00764 is hard to beat among nautical-inspired watches. Whether you’re going to use this for sailing or as a casual summer outfit, this model is definitely worth checking out.

3. Panerai Mare Nostrum Acciaio Special Edition

Panerai Mare Nostrum Acciaio Special Edition

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 42mm
  • Movement: Hand-wound
  • Power reserve: 42 hours
  • Water resistance: 50m

If you’ve been a fan of Panerai watches for a while now, then you’ve probably heard of the vintage model called Mare Nostrum. In fact, it was the first-ever chronograph made by the brand in 1943. Another fun info is that it was designed for the Italian Navy. Furthermore, it was re-launched in 1993 until it made another appearance in 2017 with a few upgrades up its sleeves.

Standing at 42mm, the latest edition of the Mare Nostrum is as big as the 1993 version. And the similarities don’t stop there. In fact, it has the same round chronograph pushers and tachymeter scale at the bezel. Furthermore, its design will attract a lot of retro-loving folks as its indices and hands have faux patina.

Inside, it runs on the calibre called OP XXXIII movement. This movement is based on the ETA 3801-2 with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module. Although it doesn’t have a power reserve as well as the two other Panerai watches, it is COSC-certified.

Considering its design and functions, the Panerai Mare Nostrum Acciaio Special Edition is a worthy successor to the original Mare Nostrum. For faithful fans of the Italian brand, this model is a must-have for your collection.

4. Panerai Radiomir California

Panerai Radiomir California 47mm, Panerai watches

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 47mm
  • Movement: Hand-wound
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

Unlike the other Panerai watches in this list, the Panerai Radiomir California 47mm features a minimalistic design. In truth, you can even compare it to vintage military-style timepieces, thanks to its colour scheme. The first thing you’ll notice about this watch is that it has a California dial. What this means is that the upper half features Roman numerals as hour markers while the bottom half features Arabic. Moreover, these hour markers are set against a “tropical” brown dial that gives off a worn-out look perfect for the vintage lover.

Housed inside the AISI 316L stainless steel case is the calibre P.3000 movement, which is hand-wound. And like the other movements found in Panerai watches, this one was made in-house. It beats at a frequency of 21,600 vph and can power the watch for three days. In terms of durability, it features an Incabloc anti-shock device to make sure it stays accurate even when you drop it.

To complete the look, this watch comes with a brown Tuscan leather strap that’s oiled. The Panerai Radiomir California 47mm will definitely complete your vintage watch collection. Its patina and road-worn effects will make this timepiece blend in with watches from the 60s or even 50s.

5. Panerai Radiomir GMT

Panerai watches, Panerai Radiomir GMT

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 45mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

Folks who love to travel will appreciate the Panerai Radiomir GMT. Apart from being stylish, this watch is also useful for various timing needs. As it is part of the Radiomir line, this model embodies the durability and functionality of the tools used by the Italian Navy’s frogmen.

On the dial, it features the brand’s signature satiné soleil workmanship. This means it gives off various shades of blue to represent the sea. The outer part is dark and close to the shade of black and as it goes to the centre, its hue lightens. Meanwhile, the 24-hour indicator is strategically placed beside 9 o’clock. This and the date window opposite it are easy to spot and read.

To protect it from harsh environments, the Radiomir GMT uses the AISI 316L stainless steel case. This material is highly resistant to corrosion and is also hypoallergenic. With these features, you don’t have to worry about irritating your skin. Apart from that, this ensures that your elegant watch won’t get damaged during your vacation.

Lastly, this watch comes with a classy alligator strap in navy blue which features beige stitching that blends in and matches the hour markers. Any jet setter would be proud to be seen wearing this GMT watch.

6. Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT

Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT, Panerai watches

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 44mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

Like the other Panerai watches on this list, the Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT was inspired by timepieces used by the Italian Navy back in the day. This model, however, has a lot more features compared with the previous models.

For one, it can show a second time zone albeit without a day-night display reserved for the 12-hour hand. And like the Radiomir GMT, this sub-dial can be found beside the 9 o’clock position. Next is a power-reserve indicator at the caseback to keep the dial clean and clutter-free. Another useful treat is zero-reset hacking seconds. When the crown is pulled from its position, the seconds hand stops and returns to zero for a more accurate setting of time.

In honour of the Luminor model released in 1950, this watch’s case is pillow-shaped and is satin-finished. Furthermore, it has a lever at the side that you can use to place the crown firmly in place. But don’t get the idea that this lever makes it hard to adjust the crown. In fact, it can be easily opened.

The retro design of the Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT makes it appealing to a lot of people. Furthermore, many people will appreciate the added features like the second time zone and power reserve indicator.

7. Panerai Submersible Carbotech 

Panerai Submersible Carbotech PAM01616, Panerai watches

Specs:

  • Case material: Carbotech
  • Case dimension: 47mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 300m

The Panerai Submersible Carbotech PAM01616 is one of the most robust-looking models on this list. It is a no-nonsense watch that gets the job done while staying attractive. So, if you’re looking for the most heavy-duty Panerai model, check this one out.

Aesthetics-wise, the watch gets its matte finish from its Carbotech material, which is made by Panerai. In fact, the Italian luxury brand was the first to introduce this type of material. It also gives off an uneven finish to make it unique. But Carbotech isn’t all show and no go as it provides excellent performance and durability while staying lightweight.

When it comes to features, it is a capable dive watch. Firstly, it has a water-resistance rating of 300m. Secondly, its unidirectional bezel is easy to read even in the dark, thanks to its SuperLuminova coating. This allows divers to calculate their times of immersion without any problems. Lastly, its rubber strap is tough and comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time.

All in all, this is the model to get if you’re a serious diver. Thanks to its Carbotech proprietary material, this watch can handle all the stress you throw at it. Furthermore, its features, such as its 300m water-resistance rating, can keep up with your adventures.

8. Panerai Luminor Luna Rossa GMT Automatic

Panerai watches, Panerai Luminor Luna Rossa GMT Automatic

Specs:

  • Case material: Titanium DLC
  • Case dimension: 44mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 300m

Loved the previous watch’s features but hated its looks? The Panerai Luminor Luna Rossa GMT Automatic might be up your alley. Like the previous model, this watch is jam-packed with features that you can use in various water-based activities. But unlike it, this model is less sporty and more elegant.

It was released in honour of the 36th America’s Cup, so instead of the usual stainless steel, this timepiece is protected by a DLC-coated titanium case. This makes the watch more resistant to corrosion. Meanwhile, its dial features a technical fabric pattern that was taken from the AC75 monohull of the Luna Rossa yacht. And to give it a pop of colour, Panerai added bright red accents on the small seconds hand and the second time zone hand.

Inside, it uses the P.9010/GMT calibre, which was designed and developed in-house. It can power the watch for up to three days and beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph. Furthermore, it is equipped with the Incabloc anti-shock device to protect it from accidental bumps while you’re out yachting. At the back, it has an engraving of its namesake — the Luna Rossa.

Whether or not you love sailing, the Panerai Luminor Luna Rossa GMT Automatic has a lot of functions useful for everyday life. Its mostly-black colour scheme is also versatile enough to blend in with most of your outfits.

9. Panerai Radiomir 1940 Three Days GMT Oro Rosso

Panerai watches, Panerai Radiomir

Specs:

  • Case material: Red gold
  • Case dimension: 47mm
  • Movement: Hand-wound
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 50m

One of the first things that you’ll notice about the Panerai Radiomir 1940 Three Days GMT Oro Rosso is its humongous size and we’re not exaggerating. In particular, its case measures at a whopping 47mm in diameter which is large even for dive watch standards. So, if you want to hop on the oversized watch wagon, this is a good place to start. Additionally, if you’re a fan of red gold, then this will appeal to you.

In addition, this model is also useful for frequent fliers, thanks to its jam-packed features. It has a subsidiary seconds dial and date window. You will also appreciate how easy it is to tinker with the functions. To demonstrate, pulling the crown out on one spot adjusts the hour hand in one-hour stops. This is particularly useful when you travel a lot.

This watch uses the P.300/10 calibre movement and is the first Radiomir 1940 model to do so. It is manual-winding and has skeletonised bridges that have a brushed finish. Thankfully, the beauty of this calibre is not wasted as you can view its attractive architecture through the transparent caseback.

The folks at Panerai have done a great job with this model. Its gold material, movement, and design all scream luxury. Whether you’re looking to fill your collection of Panerai watches or searching for the perfect travel companion, this watch will not let you down.

10. Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Titanio

Panerai watches, Panerai Luminor 1950

Specs:

  • Case material: Titanium
  • Case dimension: 47mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m

Panerai watches have long been associated with regatta, so to commemorate that special connection, they released the Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Titanio. From aesthetics to functions, this timepiece has everything you need to start sailing.

Its dial comes in a matte black background accented with orange and blue that give off yacht racing vibes. And despite having too many elements on its face, the watch remains clean and easy to read. Its sub-dials tell the elapsed time with a maximum measure of 12 hours. Furthermore, it has an extra hand in orange that points to the central minutes.

The chronograph function is thanks to the watch’s P.9100/R calibre. This movement features the KIF Parechoc anti-shock system to protect it from accidental bumps. Furthermore, it has a regatta countdown feature that will be useful for yacht racing. And as its name suggests, it provides three days of power reserve, so you don’t have to wind it every now and then.

Any yacht enthusiast should take a look at the Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Titanio. Its easy-to-read design is impressive and will catch anyone’s attention. Furthermore, it can provide you with everything you need for a literal smooth sailing experience.

11. Panerai Luminor Left-handed 8 Days

Panerai watches, Panerai Luminor Left-handed 8 Days

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 44mm
  • Movement: Hand-wound
  • Power reserve: 8 days
  • Water resistance: 300m

The world was made for right-handed people. In fact, a lot of fellow lefties have struggled to use right-handed products like desks, guitars, and cameras. Luckily, lovers of Panerai watches are given the choice to get a left-handed version such as the Panerai Luminor Left-handed 8 Days. That means the crown is placed on the left side of the case to make it easier for lefties to adjust the time without taking it off their right wrist.

But its left-handed layout is not its only highlight. As you would have guessed from its name, this watch features a power reserve of 8 days. That’s more than one week without worrying if your watch has stopped ticking! The main culprit behind the amazing power reserve is the in-house calibre P.5001, which you can view in all its glory through the see-through caseback.

All in all, the Panerai Luminor Left-handed 8 Days provide all the things you loved about the Luminor but with the adjusted layout. If you’re a left-handed lover of Panerai watches, then this timepiece is perfect for you.

Final Notes

Panerai watches are popular for a reason. Their stint with the Royal Italian Navy has proven that they make quality watches. Moreover, people’s satisfaction with their modern timepieces is evidence that they haven’t lost their magic through the years.

Interested in reading about other popular dive watches? Check out our guide to Seiko SKX013!

 

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