Panerai 111 Review

Discussion in 'Watch Reviews' started by colemanitis, Nov 27, 2008.

  1. colemanitis

    colemanitis

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    Panerai 111 Review

    FIRST THOUGHTS

    30 days ago I traded a Z-serial, Rolex GMTII-C for a preowned, I-series Panerai 111 + cash. I was really enjoying the Rolex, however I caught myself in the bad habit of browsing Panerai watches online. A few weeks later the Rolex was gone and a PAM 111 was sitting atop my wrist!

    This Panerai is much different than any other watch that I've owned. I've owned a Panerai before (PAM 164), but even it was different. I'd become accustomed to features such as date complications, automatic movements, and stainless steel bracelets, but the PAM 111 lacks all of those cushy features... and to be honest - I welcome the change!

    [​IMG]

    THE BASICS

    The Panerai 111 is classified as a Historic Luminor Marina and is a "step up" from the Base models, which have no complications whatsoever. I put "Step Up" in quotes because I'm not comparing the desireablilty between the two models, but rather their number of complications as well as their retail price. No flaming please.

    A new Panerai 111 should come with the following items;

    • Outer cardboard box
    • Inner black lift-top box
    • Pearwood presentation box w/ inner velvet box, pillow, and foldover velvet cloth.
    • Rubber bezel/crown protector for shipping
    • Polishing cloth
    • Panerai Luminor booklet
    • Panerai warranty booklet
    • Warranty/guarantee card
    • Movement sticker
    • Screwdriver (for strap changes)
    • Black rubber strap
    • Brown leather strap

    * Outer cardboard box and polishing cloth not pictured
    [​IMG]

    THE PRICE

    The current retail prices for the PAM 111 as of December, 2008 are as follows;

    • USA: $5,600
    • UK: £2,900
    • EURO: €3,700

    Every Panerai watch is limited in production. Only 2,500 PAM 111's are produced and sold every year. Because of this, Panerai watches have a high demand and often times sell within hours of making it to a display case. For example, I was in Las Vegas on vacation a few years ago. I stopped by Tourneau in Caesars Palace - they supposedly sell more watches than any other watch store in the USA. Their Panerai display cases were completely empty. I spoke with a sales lady and I was told they only had one Panerai in stock... and it was in the back. She said they sell out of Panerai within two days of receiving their shipment. I looked over to my left where there were hundreds of Rolex watches for sale. I'm not knocking Rolex - everyone knows how much I love Rolex, however this helps paint a picture regarding Panerai's supply and demand compared to other larger watch companies. This is why Panerai watches have become so expensive in recent years and is why they continue to increase in price/value at a steady rate.

    THE CASE

    The case size of the PAM 111 is 44mm. The case is stamped from 316L stainless steel and is fully polished. The finish on a Panerai watch, whether brushed or polished is second to none. The case is water resistant to 300m, or approximately 1,000ft. The Panerai case has a nice weight to it... it's not too heavy... and it's definitely not too light. It has a strong presence on the wrist, while still being a very comfortable watch. The case is thick, so it stands tall on the wrist, but its large 44mm diameter keeps it stable and keeps it from wobbling from side to side.

    PAM 111 Weight (Provided by SUBROCK)

    • 109g without strap and buckle
    • 135g with strap and buckle

    [​IMG]

    THE CRYSTAL

    The PAM 111 is outfitted with a scratch resistant sapphire crystal, formed of corundum, and is 3.5mm thick. It also utilized AR (anti-reflective) coating, which helps reduce reflections/glare. The crystal on the PAM 111 is slightly domed, and is not perfectly flat. The crystal's edge protrudes just slightly above the polished bezel.

    [​IMG]

    THE DIAL

    The dial on a PAM 111 is matt black and has oversized luminous numerals and hour indeces. Panerai watches were originally created for Italian Navy divers who required easy to read watches while underwater. As you can see, they're very easy to read above water, as I'm sure they are underwater as well. The dial reads Luminor, as it belongs to the Panerai Luminor family. The dial also displays the word Marina, which indicates that it's outfitted with a seconds hand. You'll also notice that the word Automatic is missing beneath the Panerai name, as this watch does not contain an automatic movement.

    This particular 111 has a sandwich dial, meaning that it's a multi-layered dial. A luminous layer sits beneath the top, black layer, from which the numerals and hour indeces have been cut out. This creates great depth and dimension to the dial. I prefer the sandwich dial, however the painted dials are very nice as well. Painted dials are only available on older 111s (E, F, G series). All PAM 111s after the G-series have a sandwich dial.

    Painted dial (E, F, G series)

    [​IMG]
    Photo courtesy of AndyP4x4 on www.TimeZone.com

    Sandwich dial (H, I, J, K series)

    [​IMG]

    The sub-seconds hand on the PAM 111 is located at the 9 oclock position. It's very different from what you see on other watches, which I appreciate very much. The seconds hand moves in a sweeping motion and beats 21,600 alternations/hour, or 6 alternations/second. The seconds hand is painted white and contains a luminous material (Luminova), which enables it to easily be seen in the dark. The white paint makes it easy to see during the day. The hour and minute hands are painted black, which helps it blend into the simple, yet elegant dial of the PAM 111. Like the seconds hand, these two hands also contain Luminova, enabling them to be easily seen in the dark, as well as adding contrast between the hands and the dial during the day time.

    Video of the dial and sweeping seconds

    [YOUTUBE]0UODDQyZars[/YOUTUBE]

    As you can see from looking at the picture below, the lume on a Panerai dial is second to none. When waking up in the middle of the night I can easily read the time on my PAM 111 as it sits on my bedside table. Very impressive!

    [​IMG]


    THE MOVEMENT

    The Panerai 111 contains the OP XI calibre which features;

    • Swan’s neck regulator
    • 16½ lignes
    • 17 jewels
    • Côtes de Genève decoration on the bridges
    • Glucydur balance
    • Nivarox I spring
    • 21,600 alternations per hour / 6 alternations per second
    • Incabloc shock protection

    The OP XI is a modified ETA 6497 movement. Panerai added the swan's neck regulator and redesigned the bridges. Panerai also increased the power reserve. When fully wound, the power reserve of this movement is approximately 56 hours, or 2 1/2 days. I tested the power reserve on my PAM 111 and it ran 55:54 before coming to a stop, which is only 6 minutes shy of the advertised power reserve. I have read reports of other people's PAM 111s lasting as long as 58+ hours, which is really impressive. The OP XI movement is a Certified Chronometer according to the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres), which guarantees the movent to be accurate within -4/+6 seconds within a 24hr period of time. The watch is accompanied with a COSC certificate which contains the test results obtained from the watches exact movement. The bridges on older PAM 111s (E, F, G series) were decorated with the stamped PANERAIPANERAIPANERAI, which I prefer to the more modern "Côtes de Genève" decoration.

    I'm a bit disappointed to report that I timed my PAM 111 against http://www.time.gov and it's running -10 seconds/day. I suppose this is one of the risks of purchasing a watch preowned. I'm not going to worry about it, however I will get it regulated next time I visit a Panerai AD that has a watchmaker on site.

    Basic ETA 6497 (OP I) / Modified OP XI movement

    [​IMG]

    OP XI movement (H, I, J, K series)

    [​IMG]

    Video of the OP XI movement

    [YOUTUBE]ao4gG73vCFc[/YOUTUBE]

    THE WINDING CROWN / CROWN GUARD

    Winding the PAM 111 is an absolute joy! It only takes a minute to fully wind the movement. Often times I flip the watch over to watch the gears turn as I slowly wind the watch. I don't think doing this will ever get old. The only negative thing isn't regarding the winding crown, but rather the crown guard surrounding it. The physical design of the crown guard limits the amount of rotation you can get on the crown during winding. You may have to turn the crown 2-3 times before actually making one full rotation. I hope this makes sense. It's certainly not something that bothers me, but it is something that I've noticed and should be noted.

    The crown-guard on a Panerai Luminor is very unique and has become a very recognized part of a Panerai watch. Besides the small ring surrounding the sapphire, see-though case-back, the crown guard is the only visible part of the watch that's not highly polished. Instead, it has a brushed finish to help reduce finger prints/smudges/scratches that can be caused when winding the watch on a regular basis. This is a detail that I appreciate and the contrast against the polished case looks stunning. Within the crown guard the winding crown is secured by a small lever, which must be released before winding the watch or setting the minute/hour hands. For some reason I'm fascinated with the lever and it's always a joy releasing/engaging it every few days when winding the crown.

    [​IMG]

    Winding the PAM 111

    [YOUTUBE]F-ouQ3ZNHM8[/YOUTUBE]

    BRACELET/STRAPS

    The PAM 111 comes with two straps; 1 brown leather strap and 1 black rubber strap. Both are very comfortable and easily fit an average sized wrist. The black rubber strap should be worn when entering the water. Each strap is secured by two screws, which can easily be removed by using the small Panerai screwdriver that is included with the watch. Be careful of scratches - it's very easy to scratch the polished lugs of a Panerai due to not being careful while performing strap changes. Like most other Panerai watches, the 111 does not come with a stainless steel bracelet.

    The PAM 111 also comes with a personalized buckle and not a deployant, which can be found on more expensive models. It should be noted that only one buckle is included with the watch, therefore the screwdriver must be used to swap the buckle between the two OEM straps. I think it would've been nice for Panerai to include a second buckle considering the current MSRP of the PAM 111.

    Personalized buckle on a rubber OEM strap

    [​IMG]

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    I'm really enjoying this watch! I love the simplicity of the dial, the uniqueness of its shape, and the way it smiles back at me every time I check the time. This is my second Panerai watch, however I seem to have a better appreciation for the brand this time around. I can't say that I'll never flip this watch, afterall I'm a recovering flipaholic, however I do believe I'll be sticking with the Panerai brand until I have the funds for a second watch, which will definitely be a Rolex of some sort. Thanks for reading my review! I hope you found it both informative and entertaining.
  2. SPACE-DWELLER

    SPACE-DWELLER

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    EXCELLENT review, Jeff! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    I love the attached videos! :coolanimated:
  3. Xelor

    Xelor

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    Superb review Jeff! I'll be saving up for a Pam in my future and the 111 or 177 is a definite must. I'm hoping to swing by the local Pam dealer tomorrow though I may call now based on your review to make sure that have some in stock I can actually check out!
    :thumbsup:
  4. Cmaster03

    Cmaster03

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    Wonderful review, Jeff! Great photos, detailed, well reasoned and objective, too. That's a marvelous watch, a real beauty. Enjoy that baby. :)
  5. colemanitis

    colemanitis

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    Thanks, Bo! :cheers: This is the first review I've written since my GMT 16750 and I really had fun writing it. I learned a TON about the PAM 111 and other Panerai watches in the process. Id suggest anyone wanting to learn about their own watch write a review like this... and of course post it here on TKF! :thumbsup:
  6. colemanitis

    colemanitis

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    When shopping for Panerai watches it's never a bad idea to call first - especially if you're wanting to look at specific models. I'm glad you enjoyed the review.
  7. colemanitis

    colemanitis

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    Thanks, Clyde! :cheers:
  8. Robb

    Robb

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    Amazing review Jeff!!!!
  9. colemanitis

    colemanitis

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    Thanks, Robb! :cheers:
  10. daveathall

    daveathall

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    Superb review Jeff a stunning watch like that deserved a stunning review and it got it, thank you very much for sharing it with us, the downside is that I am now really missing my 24 and 25, this could get expensive, credit crunch, what credit crunch?
  11. colemanitis

    colemanitis

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    Thanks, Dave, I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. :thumbsup: Now go buy that PAM! :lol:
  12. RW16610

    RW16610

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    WOW! Jeff, I did not know you were this good at making reviews! Jeez, some of you guys should have part time jobs for watch magazines! Very good and a stunning watch, i'm in love with the caseback and packaging :drooling:
  13. colemanitis

    colemanitis

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    Thanks, Rommel! :cheers:
  14. DSimon9

    DSimon9

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    Gorgeous watch, and a great review. Enjoy it in good health. :thumbsup:
  15. C.J.

    C.J.

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    Jeff, that's one of the best reviews I've ever read, well prepared and very informative.
  16. colemanitis

    colemanitis

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    Thanks, Dex! :cheers:
  17. colemanitis

    colemanitis

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    Thanks, my friend! It's great to hear from you. I hope you and your family are doing well.
  18. leopardprey

    leopardprey

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    Good review. You are right on the great lumination the Panerais have. The slightly curved AR coated crystal was also a big plus for me over Rolex.

    Buy 2-3 leather straps, buy 1-2 Zulus, and that plus the rubber strap give you the variety to change the watch's appearance around.

    Try out some 24mm Zulus (one or two piece Zulus). Cost around $20, very durable, and great looking!
  19. Marrk

    Marrk

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    A thoughtful and thorough review. And a pleasure to read. Superb, indeed.
  20. colemanitis

    colemanitis

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    Thanks! I definitely want to get a few Zulus. I think they look great on a Panerai. :thumbsup: