Watches: Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Ceramica PAM580

By Thierry Ané on December 1, 2014

Officine Panerai enters the usual pre-SIHH sneak peek tease with a resolutely sporty timepiece showcasing the brand’s new love affair with black ceramic. Indeed, ever since the Neuchâtel-based manufacture experimented with this high-tech synthetic material based on zirconium oxide, it has been a recurrent component of the brand’s Luminor and even Radiomir lines.

Technologically advanced, the version used by the brand is highly tricky to synthesise and the process from the zirconium powder to the deep black ceramic with stunning bead blasting finish that gives it this remarkable stealth matte black look requires both time and a lot of expertise. Particularly so considering the complexity of Officine Panerai’s iconic cases…

The “Ceramica” newcomer belongs to the “Contemporary Luminor 1950” sub-line and as usual its full name, the Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Ceramica, tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the reference “PAM 580”.

The timepiece is a sporty chronograph model with a flyback function enabling you to instantly zero the chronograph hands and restart them without the necessity of stopping them first. This chronograph complication so appreciated by seasoned watch enthusiasts is provided by the robust P.9100 self-winding calibre, the very first chronograph entirely developed and produced in the Officine Panerai workshops.

This uncompromising movement features all the Haute Horlogerie characteristics one expects from a high-end chronograph movement including the column-wheel and vertical clutch, a variable inertia balance wheel, as well as an outstanding overall finish in pure Panerai style. It also boasts some less standard attributes making it truly special like the presence of two spring barrels connected in series to provide a generous power reserve of three days and a stop-seconds function instantly placing the seconds hand at the zero position when you pull the crown for accurate time setting. This 31.02 mm calibre and its bi-directional rotor can be observed through the large sapphire crystal covering the back of the watch.

Despite the presence of a chronograph function, this PAM 580 with the famous sandwich dial in black featuring beige Super-LumiNova remains utterly uncluttered with only the brand’s trademark small seconds at the 9 o’clock position and a small date window at 3 o’clock to bring back some symmetry. No conventional chronograph registers on this model to disturb the brand’s clean dial design: all the chronograph information is indeed provided centrally by two hands. The blue hand is your traditional chronograph seconds hand and sweeps across the dial in 60 seconds while the rhodium-plated hand indicates the elapsed minutes.

Officine Panerai has also placed the chronograph pushers on the left-hand side of the case in order not to disturb the outline of the lever device protecting the crown that has always been one of the brand’s most beloved signatures. The Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Ceramica is presented on a natural untreated leather strap with a large titanium pin buckle and elegant beige stitches but an additional black rubber for sportier use is also provided with the screwdriver necessary to change it. This alternative strap could come handy considering this chronograph watch boasts a water resistance to a depth of 100 meters.

All in all, this is another example of Officine Panerai’s incredible ability to renew itself while always preserving the aesthetic codes that have made the manufacture so successful. It is an extremely sexy 44 mm model that will undoubtedly and rightfully arouse the interest of many Paneristi: a stunning prelude to the long list of terrific timepieces the Neuchâtel manufacture plans to unveil in Geneva…

For more information please visit the Officine Panerai web site.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: