Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380

Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380

Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380 question has always put many into dilemma, especially so if this is your first entry level Panerai. You probably already done your research and know the differences in Officine Panerai watches and have decided between Luminor vs Radiomir. But here comes the tricky part, Panerai PAM 183 or PAM 380?

So are the differences between Panerai PAM 183 and PAM 380 only aesthetically different? Or has it got to do more with the movement (OP XI or OP II), and resale value (though some may not be concerned about the resale value)? Let’s find out more in Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380.

Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380

If you have read about our previous post on Panerai PAM 000 vs PAM 112, then the aesthetic differences between PAM 183 and PAM 380 are quite similar. But you will have something else to consider, for example, the movement. It is these minor differences that made Panerai watches so attractive to Paneristi.

Panerai PAM 183 or PAM 380
Panerai PAM 183 orPAM 380

Panerai PAM 183

Back in the 1930s, the Italian Royal Navy were known as human torpedoes; which is were they got their nickname “Pigs” a.k.a “Black Seals”. The Panerai PAM 183 we know today was released as the “Radiomir Black Seal”. The PAM 183 used to have their ‘Black Seal’ word at the 6 o’clock position when it was released in 2004. Today, PAM 183 includes the ‘Black Seal’ words at the 12 o’clock directly under the writing ‘Radiomir’. In 2012, Panerai has released an upgraded version of PAM 183 known as – Radiomir Black Seal 3 Days Automatic PAM 388.

Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380 - PAM 183 side view
Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380 – PAM 183 side view

At first glance, the main difference you will notice from PAM 183 and PAM 380 will be the dial. Both PAM 183 and PAM 380 have seconds hands, but the first thing you may notice is the PAM 183 does not have a Panerai Logo on the dial face. Take a closer look and you will know that PAM 183 is using “Sandwich Dial”. Like a sandwich, the dial has two plates (one on top and one below), with the lume material in-between. Many feels that the “Sandwich Dial” glows more in the dark too.

PAM 183 has a see through display case back for people to enjoy the looks of the Panerai OP XI Calibre (ETA 6497 modified). Let’s not forget the Swan’s neck regulator used in the Panerai OP XI calibre as well. Though they add more for aesthetic than technical movement reliability, but you will enjoy the platines, blue screws, and Côtes de Genève decoration on the bridges. These just makes more sense for the PAM 183 to have a display case back.

Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380 - PAM 183 Case Back
Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380 – PAM 183 Case Back

Panerai PAM 380

The PAM 380 is similar to PAM 183 in many ways, from the looks, 45 mm diameter case, AISI 316L polished steel with removable and patented wire loop strap attachments, to personalized OP Winding crown. The first surface difference will be the Panerai Logo sitting on the face of PAM 380 dial, just above the number 6 position. Next you will notice the dial is actually called “Sausage” dial (you can also call it Painted or Applied dial), but is simply means the luminous material is applied on the surface of the indicators. The painted lum will form a humped like shape. If you can imagine a half of a sausage, you will know how it got it’s “Sausage” dial name.

PAM 380 has a solid case back which means you can’t view the movement, and it also means it is slightly heavier. The PAM 380 is running on exclusive Panerai OP II Calibre with a power reserve of 56 hours and is C.O.S.C. certified.

Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380 - PAM 380 case back
Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380 – PAM 380 case back

Conclusion on Panerai PAM 183 vs PAM 380

Apart from the aesthetic difference like Sausage dial or Sandwich dial, I am sure the logo alone is a big consideration factor for many proud Panerai owner. But the movement is also a major factor as many collectors like to have a more decorated movement they can admire. Not to mention that Panerai made several minor adjustments and quality inspections to make the OP XI more rock solid. Though we can’t say that these in-house movement modified movements are technically ‘better’ than outsourced movements. One thing to note is that OPXI (6497 modified) is definitely more expensive than outsourced mass-produced movement (that may justify the slight costlier price). Though when it comes to resale value, both PAM 183 and PAM 380 won’t drop much. But you really can’t go wrong with either choice.

One thing for sure – Your life will never be the same again once you have owned your first Officine Panerai watch.


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