It’s no secret that Panerai’s legacy is built upon its history of robust divers. It’s why its lineup features the Luminor so prominently; it’s a legible, tough and water-resistant watch, inspired by the timepieces made for the Italian Navy during the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. And while those early 20th-century roots make for a design that’s as dignified as it is robust and ideal for casual wear, that robustness does preclude them, somewhat, from duty as a dress watch. At over 15mm thick, it’s simply too much watch for some people.
In light of that challenge, Panerai launched the Luminor Due — meant for any occasion, formal or casual — and with it two recent models: the PAM00677 Luminor Due 3 Days Oro Rosso in 2016 and the new PAM00739 Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic Acciaio this year. They take the design of the standard Luminor diver but package it in a super-lithe case that won’t ruffle your shirt cuff. Coming in at a mere 10.5mm and 10.7mm thick respectively, they shed up to 40 percent of the standard Luminor 1950’s girth.
To make such thin watches, Panerai had to whip up two super-slim movements at its Neuchatel manufacture: the caliber P.1000/10 found in the PAM00677 and the P.4000/10 inside the PAM00739. The former is a hand-winding mechanical movement featuring a full three-day power reserve once fully wound. The latter, though, does not sacrifice automatic winding in pursuit of thinness. Rather, it utilizes a compact, off-center winding micro-rotor to retain an overall thickness just under 4mm (while also packing a three-day power reserve) — quite the feat for an automatic movement. It even features skeletonized bridges that show off more of the movement’s inner workings through a transparent case back for connoisseurs to oggle.
Despite its new, dressier leanings, the Luminor Due still retains much of what made the original Luminor a beloved watch among enthusiasts, including Panerai’s classic cushion case design and the Luminor’s crown protecting lock. Panerai’s iconic sandwich dial also remains. Originally designed in the late ’30s as a utilitarian answer to the Italian Royal Navy’s request for a legible, luminous watch dial, it features a base layer with portions of luminous coating shining through the stenciled-out numerals in the top layer. Thanks to the clean design of those numerals, as well as some satin-like finishing on the anthracite top layer, it dresses both up and down.
Given its slim profile, the Due doesn’t quite have the excessive depth rating of its forebear, at 30 meters as opposed to 300. But therein lies its charm: it retains the dashing looks and DNA of Panerai, but without the stipulation that it be a dive watch. It’s a watch you can use for any other moment of your life.