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Talking Hands: The Panerai Luminor Marina

By on 18 April 2011 in Watches

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What could be better than a new episode of Talking Hands? How about a really long episode of Talking Hands!? Yes, that’s right folks, we’ve think we’ve produced our magnum opus this time. Clocking in at nearly 20 minutes, this episode is certainly the longest we’ve yet made. The question is whether it’s any good.

What got us so chatty? Well, truthfully, it was probably the Scotch. But the watch in question certainly helped. The Panerai Luminor Marina isn’t a piece that you’d necessarily expect to create much controversy – truth be told, it’s a fairly run of the mill watch – but somehow it made The Fool and Straight-Six extraordinarily verbose. We discussed the brand’s rich heritage, the link to Rolex, the now slightly dodgy image and it all led us to a larger discussion about the current trend for producing new watches that look old.

Oh yes, there’s a Hell of a lot of chat in this one. The question is: have we made a Titanic or a Heaven’s Gate? Pour yourself a long drink, hit the play button and then let us know.


Talking Hands: The Panerai Luminor Marina

The Fool and Straight-Six sit down over a bottle of Scotch to discuss the Panerai Luminor Marina. A very long episode of Talking Hands ensues, covering the brand’s rich heritage, the link to Rolex, the now slightly dodgy image and a larger discussion about the current trend for producing new watches that look old.

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Our editor-in-chief, the self-proclaimed "greatest wit, raconteur and bon vivant of our age", borders on delusional. Over the years, the fool has squandered more money on fast cars, Swiss watches and electronic gadgetry of all kinds than he – or Mrs Fool – cares to remember. Come nightfall, he can invariably be found stumbling out of Dukes mumbling “just one more Martini; I could have handled just one mmmmm… [thud!]”

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  • Chris I

    Thanks for putting the watch on! You remembered. It wears pretty large.

    I want to like Panerai – but I must say you hit the nail on the head regarding negative brand image. For some reason I can’t get over it.

    It’s for the best though, I would just spends the kids’ college fund on straps anyway.

    Keep Talking Hands coming by far my favorite aspect of the site. What was the Whisky or Whiskey this time? The bottle was slightly obscured.

    • Straight-Six


      We do remember some things, from time to time..:)

      The Single Malt was called The Singleton. Never heard of it before, but boy did it do the trick!

      • The Prodigal Fool

        It should be renamed: The Simpleton. That’s certainly the state in which it leaves anyone foolish enough to consume it.

  • Stuart

    Nice. Had a Panerai for a bit, but the discomfort of wearing it saw it on the shelf, then eventually out the door. Always found it hard to fish my cars keys out of my jeans with the watch catching on the pocket edge.

    In the meantime fellow watch fans, could someone give me three thousand pounds please:

    • The Prodigal Fool

      Yes, I actually tweeted about that Mark X earlier this week. A fantastic watch. Price is a tiny bit steep though.

  • Alex

    Love my panerais and love my rollies. Each is different. Love the 1950’s case on some of the new pieces and the vintagey looks on the tritium dials. And of course, love the shared Rolex and Panerai heritage as hardcore tool watches. But they do each dress up a little differently.

  • Jack

    Nice review gents- Lovely watch! I truly dig the strap.

    I don’t honestly buy dodgy reputation thing though.. either that or I just like that about it. ;-)


    • The Prodigal Fool

      Thanks, Jack. If you like the strap, you should check out this post.

  • Chris II

    As always, well done guys! I think this segment brings forth the dual feelings a lot of us have about Panerai, the brand. Up until recently, at their core, Panerai modified ETA movements and sold them at a high premium based on their history and heritage. Yet, there’s something about the iconic shape, dial and crown protector that gives me pause every time I see one. I agree with Fool that if I ever plunked down my money for one, it would be one with an in-house movement. Because I’m a snob like that.

  • Dublo

    Whilst we’re on the subject of Panerais, don’t forget to check out this article:

    Well, if I can’t shamelessly plug my blog here, where can I?

    Hope to see you fellas for a drop of the single malt when I’m back in London.

    ‘Til then, keep up the good work.


  • Chris I

    CII has it right. It’s a real tug o’ war. There is something there in the design and heritage and unique (sort of steam punk) style. But on the other hand Panerai seemed to loose its way with the movement and a sort of icky celebrity/Wall Street/City thing.

    Now that more brands are investing in their own movements – perhaps this will alter the perception we have of them…Breitling comes to mind.

    • Chris II

      I definitely like the new direction Breitling has been taking their brand. I thought I’d never say it, but Rolex could learn a thing or two about reigning it in a tad from Breitling.

      I recently saw a picture of a vintage tribute Panerai with a chocolate dial that had me all hot and bothered. I can’t remember where I saw it and if it was from Baselworld or not.

  • Boris

    I guess it was just a matter of time before you came up with a review on a Panerai. This brand crystalizes opinions so much. I had my 1st one in 2001, a PAM1C (Luminor Marina, steel model). Back then, I loved the design, and it was not yet fashionable to wear very large watches, so I liked the originality of it. Then, as the brand got more an more attention, I lost interest as it was becoming such a big fad. So I sold it in 2003, together with the 18 straps I had accumulated (including a couple of Dirk’s with OEM buckles), to concentrate on vintage Rolex models. Got the itch back a couple years ago, and bought a wonderful PAM 22C (Luminor Marina destro in steel) and the strap nonsense started again:

    I’m not sure I follow you guys on this argument on them being a maker of new watches that look vintage. Because in this case, one could be accusing Omega to do the same thing with its Speedmaster (especially the acrylic crystal one) or Rolex with the 14060 Submariner.

    I do, on the other hand, understand the argument about them being pretty darn pricy for watches containing a mere Unitas movement, however well finished. So I applaud their move towards in-house movements… although it’s still the most simple, Unitas powered models that appeal to me most. Something about the purity of their design that invariably draws me towards the Luminor Base, Luminor Marina and Radiomir Base. Also, the new in-house movements make for fairly thick watches. I guess it’s the price to pay for gaining the respect due to a manufacture.

  • steppxxxxz

    Interesting discussion. I remember when I first saw a Panerai, about twenty years ago, in Paris. I loved it. However the more I went to the lux watch store the less I liked it. It raises two questions regarding aesthetic judgement: one is association. I associate Pans now, with Sly Stallone and Bill Clinton. Or with second tier macho Goldman Sachs traders. Not good. Second; the question of intentionally making a watch, or anything, look old. I see this as just an extension of pre-washing jeans to sell. Vintage is just bad taste in this context. Finally,i think the very early Bell&Ross watches, again maybe 25 years ago, that I saw anyway, were pretty cool. I dont think the new ones are (notwithstanding a pretty amusing web page). So two tendencies are out there; the trend toward maxi-bling exhibited by Rolex and Audemars Piguet and a couple others and the counter trend toward a resistance to bling and max size (patek, bregeut, vacheron constantine, blancpain etc). We choose watches for aesthetics and for association and together they give a statement,,…for lack of a better word. One other trend is toward Vintage looks. This is simply BAD (IMHO).I know what IWC has come to mean…..masculine but tasteful and intelligent. Not exactly tool watches as you two put it, but close. Still, it feels contrived to me. Thumbs down on Panerai. I see them losing their luster pretty soon. I see a trend away from IWC…very very popular in the states right now, and away from new Rolex. A final note; Breitling may be a rather crass brand….i think of flat topped GI or Air Force pilots, or those wanting to be, macho macho, but in the end Breitling actually has worn rather well in its image. Its true to itself I guess.

  • Stuart

    Just picked up a PAM372. Huge. Simple. Will see how it wears over the coming days. Hands are amazing and steal the whole show.

  • Soren

    Nice review. For the Fool’s info Panerai have models designed for left handed wearing their watch on their right arm. The crown and leaver mounted on the left and not digging into your arm. On the waiting list for a pam 441, 1950 GMT Ceramica making it a lot more naughty and rugged..however probably less suited for strap changes then the regular steel cases.

  • mark

    Question for the Prodigals: Polished steel or titanium for a Panerai? Initial thoughts are that titanium is lighter, perhaps more subtle on the wrist. Polished steel potentially dressier, or even dressed down with the right strap. Any thoughts?

    • The Prodigal Fool

      Tough question. I got my PAM111 in polished steel because I wanted a contrast between the distressed strap I was going to put it on – but the titanium is certainly attractive.