So you are looking for a 47mm size Panerai Luminor watch that has ‘value’, and love the blend of “Vintage” and modern tech. And you have probably gone past the stage for best entry-level Panerai like PAM Zero and PAM112 (at 44mm). It then boils down to Panerai Luminor PAM372 vs PAM422.
The Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days PAM372 is known as the ultimate expression of everything Panerai. While Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days also oozes Panerai DNA and is large, simple, clean and bold. Paneristi are often torn between the both because of these; and many discussions between between the both have been going on for a while.
Panerai Luminor PAM372 vs PAM422
Lets take a breakdown of what the names mean. The Luminor Marina in PAM422 refers to having a small seconds hand; as opposed to PAM372, a base dial with only two hands. The 1950 case is that sensational cushion shape, and 3 days refers to the power reserve of the movement. Finally, Acciaio means steel. It is these little differences in Panerai Watches that makes them so attractive.
At this point, it seems like the only difference between Panerai PAM 422 or PAM 372 is only the additional small seconds hand. Or is it? Lets take a deeper look at the both.
Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days PAM372
PAM372 was actually a descender of the Base Fiddy. Since the launch of “Fiddy” PAM127 in year 2002 as a special edition, Paneristi have been demanding unlimited Base Fiddy. Their request was finally granted at SIHH 2011 with the reviewed Luminor 1950 PAM372.
Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days PAM372 has a beautiful minimal dial; and a set of functions combined with elements that corresponds with Officine Panerai’s history. We already mentioned that it is a Base model, which means that the watch has nothing more than an hour and a minute hand. It has all that a purist could ask for like the Sandwich dial (2 layered dial) with luminous material bottom layer; Then the top layer actually has the numerals cut out, exposing the luminous lower layer. This is a Panerai timepiece hallmark and very desirable for a Paneristi.
Additionally, the thick, convex crystal made Plexiglass is also one of the most attractive part to many. Although it is far less scratch-resistant than sapphire-glass, the thicker Plexiglass is said to give a warmer feel the Sapphire crystal cannot provide. It is also because of this, many has turn to PAM422 as it gives a better piece of mind for daily wear. (We were told that the newer batch of Luminor PAM372 is now using Sapphire crystal too. But when checked on Panerai website but it says Plexi still. Can anyone confirm in our comments? )
PAM 372 Luminor 1950 3 Days has received so-called cushion-shaped case, associated with rather more elegant watches from Radiomir line.
Movement on the PAM 372
The heartbeat of Panerai 372 is a hand-would P.3000 calibre, visible through a large sapphire-glass caseback. Let me just remind you that the movement is about 37mm wide and 5.3mm thick. It’s a lot, but to be create something that corresponds with historical models. It mainly consists of two brushed bridges with beveled and polished edges and a large (13.2mm) balance wheel, ticking majestically at 3Hz freq. (21,600 bph).
Now lets compare the Panerai Luminor PAM372 vs PAM422.
Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days (PAM422)
Panerai Luminor Marina PAM422 has a sandwich dial like the PAM 372. The top black layer, along with its basic functions making it one of the most readable watches we have seen. PAM 422 has vintage styling, but some may feel it lacks the traditional vintage design; which is the 9 next to the sub-dial and the use of the word “marina”. Another difference we have mentioned is the sapphire-crystal used instead of Plexiglass. Overall, the 422 looks more balanced principally due to the extra wording and the smaller font.
Both PAM422 & PAM372 are modern homages to the real historic diving pieces that Panerai made decades ago.
At first glance, a two-hand watch with a small seconds and no date is extremely basic. But after taking a deeper look, there is that power reserve indicator – ON THE BACK. This is our favorite complication so it does not spoil the PAM clean, simple dial. We loved winding the watch and seeing the indicator move from o to 3 days. This is absolutely brilliant.
Movement on the PAM 422
What keeps the Panerai PAM422 Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days ticking is the P.3001. It is a high-end, hand-wound in-house movement that gives authenticity for an homage. P.3001 is quite a large movement, paying tribute to the big pocket watch caliber.
Moreover, it has a seconds reset function where you can reset the second hand instantly back to zero. What this means is that you can move the hour hand individually from the minute hand. This comes in handy when traveling across different time zones, as you can quickly forward or backward the hour without adjusting the minute. All these plus it comes with some high end shock absorption features as well. Making the watch looking desirable and functions just as well.
Which is better PAM422 or PAM372?
Panerai Luminor PAM372 vs PAM422, both has a clean, classic Panerai design with a stunning color scheme. But the 372 just had a different personality on the wrist than the 422.
Some purist may choose PAM372 because of the base, and a vintage recreation done very well. However, they have concerns for the Plexiglass material which is not exactly scratch resistant. This can be solved by using PolyWatch to buff out scratch, or replacing with the spare Plexiglass. Some other comments is that the PAM372 dial is not as balance looking as compared to PAM422. When the hands are both at the upper half of the dial it looked unbalance; but when both hands are at the lower half, it looks perfect.
On the other hand, some the PAM422 may not satisfy everyone too. Base lovers will find 422 face too crowded. Luminor 422 has a heftier feel due to the sapphire crystal and the power reserve function. However, the biggest difference is the clarity and beauty of the dial on the 422 (due to sapphire crystal). We have friends that went with the 422 for these and got a PAM zero instead for base.
In conclusion, the sapphire is better for daily use and the seconds function is convenient. If you prefer a simpler and more iconic watch then PAM 372 is for you. In either case, you can’t go wrong with either Panerai PAM372 or PAM422. You should go to your AD and see for yourself. Do share with us which is your choice. Panerai Luminor PAM372 vs PAM422.
One thing for sure – Your life will never be the same again once you have owned your first Officine Panerai watch.