Best Entry Level Panerai is one tough question to answer, as I don’t think that there is one definite answer to such thing as a ‘best base’ model. It really boils down to preference and at the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with any base or historical model. But to the untrained eye, all Officine Panerai looks exactly the same, and they can’t tell the differences in Officine Panerai watches. This brings us back to the original question of “Which is the Best Entry Level Panerai?”
Best Entry Level Panerai – The big question
Most people are fascinated simply by Officine Panerai’s appearance in the first place. But that alone won’t fetch such high price tag for Panerai watches, plus there is hardly any discount for the watch. Although, since the first release of 2013’s Luminor Marina 8 Days PAM 510; rumours have been spreading that Panerai PAM 000 and PAM 112, PAM 005 and PAM 111 will be discontinued and be replaced with the New Entry Level Panerai 8 Days Power reserve with P.5000 movements.
Best ‘Entry Level’ Panerai means the most affordable level for one to get an Officine Panerai. However ‘cheap’ and quality watches just doesn’t go well together. To answer this question directly (being “Which is the Best Entry Level Panerai”) the answer for the least expensive Officine Panerai would be PAM 000 (Panerai Luminor) and the PAM 380 (Radiomir). Here is the Panerai price list for PAM Models.
Maybe if this is going to be your first PAM and you are not looking for the ‘most affordable’ ones you can consider: Panerai Luminor PAM 000, 005, 111,112; or Radiomir PAM 183, 210, 380.
There are actually two main categories of Panerai watches which are actually Luminor and Radiomir.
Differences between Panerai Luminor and Radiomir
The most obvious difference between the both is actually Panerai Luminor has a crown bridge and Radiomir is without a crown bridge. Although many feel that Luminor Panerai has a good masculinity feel and it is also a grail to many Paneristis. Apart from the case difference, Panerai Luminor have a 300m / 30 bar water resistant, while Radiomir has a water resistance of 100m / 10 bar.
The pillow case design of Radiomir also be a consideration factor (some may like it, while others may not), and the wire lugs are wider at the mouth strap which tapers badly to the buckle. This makes the Radiomir way trickier to change the straps as compared to Luminor.
Somehow, it all depends on your preference with the crown guard (Luminor) or just one with the big crown (Radiomir) whichever is more gorgeous.
Best Entry Level Panerai – Luminor overview
PAM 000 is also know as ‘Zero’ and is a Base dial (Clean look with only hours & Minutes hands, no seconds hand). PAM 005 on the other hand is Luminor Marina (with seconds hands). Like the PAM 000 series, PAM 111 & PAM 112 also has this main difference PAM 111 is Luminor Marina and PAM 112 is Base dial.
Still confused over the difference between series Panerai PAM 000 vs PAM 112 models? 112 is a sandwich dial, which the dial has two plates. The top plate is black with the indicator emissary to allow the bottom layer to show through. The lume material is “sandwiched” in-between the top and bottom laters. The PAM 000 dial on the other hand is known as the “Sausage” dial, where the indicator are decorated on the surface of the dial and then luminous material filled. The indicators seems to be humped (like half of a sausage) slightly raised from the surface of the dial. Apart from the dial differences, PAM 112 series has display case back which is more decorated and PAM 000 has a solid steel case back.
Best Entry Level Panerai – Radiomir overview
Aesthetically, the PAM 183 (with Luminor Marina) and 380 (Solid Case back) (Read more on Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380) looks just alike (including the case size), just that Panerai logo is at 6 o’clock for PAM 183. The Pam 183 houses an OP XI cal while the Pam 380 houses an OP II, but these are not visible to the eyes. The only difference is weather you prefer a sandwich dial or a sausage dial, logo or without, and if the display case back is important to you. Functionally, there are no actual differences between the both.
Which is the Best Entry Level Panerai?
Maybe there is no straight forward answer to this question. Having listed some best entry level Panerai based on ‘affordability’, it all boils down to personal preferences. Some has emotional connection from their past, or if you are simply looking to have a useful mechanical toy on your wrist with style. One thing for sure – Your life will never be the same again once you have owned your first Officine Panerai watch.