Panerai returns once more to what they call “Our Ocean” . .or some time after.Historically, Mare Nostrum stood for “Our Sea” in Latin and it was the Roman’s name for the Mediterranean Sea. However, if you’re more on-point with the history of Panerai than all this planet, you will know that Mare Nostrum has been the name of the company’s first chronograph, allegedly created for deck officers in the Italian Navy.As you would imagine, given the reputation of mid-20th century Panerai, along with the dreadful conditions of World War II, the original Mare Nostrum prototype proved to be a proper monstrum of a watch. For starters, it quantified some 52mm broad, and was named Mare Nostrum following the term first used by the Romans — and, well, later first revived by Italian nationalists following the 1861 unification of Italy and then from the fascists of World War II. As such, the roots of this name “Mare Nostrum” can be traced back into the age of the Roman Empire, but you really need not look back that far in time to really have a clue as to why it was named as such from the Italy of the early 1940s. Funnily enough, most sources state that the 1943 model of the Mare Nostrum never made it into production as a result of turmoils of the war — seems just like a lazy explanation, because at what other time than through warfare could a watch designed particularly for the military function of no real use? Anyhow, Panerai also produced other devices under the title Mare Nostrum — so while they were not too excited about the opinion, they were keen on the name, it sounds. Additional Panerai Mare Nostrum items contained delay and timing devices for torpedoes and several other explosives used by the Italian military during WWII — just check out that impressive looking Mare Nostrum chronograph boasting a Minerva quality and some nifty anti-vibration devices.
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.