This neatly leads us into the new-ish Panerai Mare Nostrum Chronograph PAM716, that has a 42mm-wide, 50 meter water resistant case in stainless steel, a blue dial with tan coloured luminescent indices and chief palms, a km/h bezel, plus a weird and strange OP XXXIII motion that’s truly an ETA 2801 with a Dubois-Depraz module for the chronograph. It has an expectedly measly 42-hour power book — no more fancy Panerai in-house movement here, arguably because it would not have made much sense for Panerai to expensively develop an in-house chronograph movement that fits to a 42mm case.The km/h bezel is, to put it kindly, a mysterious addition on a wristwatch supposedly created for ship commanders. Add to this the reality that this being a regular tachymeter scale, any other unit of rate would work exactly the same. This could fire back however – the Mare Nostrum has a patchy history, with barely any documentation or actual portions remaining from whichever era it really belongs — and this will raise a few flags to the cautious, super-nerdy collector that is pretty much entirely aimed for.All this mentioned, it’s good to see Panerai do something out of the ordinary, leaving the Luminors and Radiomirs on the side for a moment and introducing a look so scarcely encountered from them — I would not be surprised (actually I hope) the Panerai is really testing the waters here, because I would love to see more unusual and refreshing designs.
In 2010 Panerai unveiled the first oversized Mare Nostrum chronograph (PAM300), inspired by a prototype officer’s chronograph from 1943. That is now a desirable timepiece on the secondary market, so true to form Panerai introduced the Mare Nostrum Titanio PAM603 at SIHH 2015.
Translating as “our sea”, Mare Nostrum was the Roman term for the Mediterranean Sea, coming back into vogue during the Second World War. And it was for the deck officers of the Italian Navy of WWII that the original Mare Nostrum prototypes were developed.
Aesthetically the new Mare Nostrum is very similar to the 2010 model. The case is 52 mm in diameter, with a brushed finish and a wide, flat bezel. But it is made of titanium, making it less heavy than it looks (the 2010 watch was in steel).
The dial is a dark brown with gold hands and parchment markings. Panerai does excel at recreating the look of watches from times past, and the Mare Nostrum feels very much like a vintage watch.
As with several Panerai reissue models, the numerals and markers are engraved, then filled with Super-Luminova. Notably, the chapter ring is raised, sitting a step above the centre of the dial.
Inside is the Minerva calibre 13-22, here known as the Panerai OP XXV movement. It’s a traditionally constructed and finished movement with German silver bridges. Unlike the 2010 model, however, this has a solid back, keep the movement hidden. That is a shame as like all Minerva movements it is hand-finished to a high standard, far beyond what is typical of a Panerai.
The Mare Nostrum Titanio PAM603 is limited to 300 pieces in total, with 150 pieces produced each year in 2015 and 2016. The price is €37,000 before taxes, or 58,200 Singapore dollars with 7% tax.