One of my closest watch friends was very surprised that one of my favorite watches was my Panerai PAM112, a 44mm case Luminor model with a manual wind movement and no seconds hand.
“I just can’t believe you’d wear a watch that big,” was his reaction.
It’s true, on my 7-inch wrist, I’ll generally sport watches that are 40mm and under. That said, I once owned an Orient Pro Saturation Diver that is over 45mm and I really enjoyed that watch. With the Panerai Luminor models, there’s a joy in its oversized look. The simpler, the better in my opinion. The large 12, 3, 6, 9 markers and straight hands make it very legible with a minimalist esthetic that works so well with the spirit of the manual wind movement.
I also think the 112’s modern cousin the PAM560 is fine choice and is available new currently. The main difference is it contains an in-house 8-day power reserve movement, which is pretty handy. The dial says “8 Days” on it and my preference is for the cleaner dial of the 112, but I don’t think you can go wrong with either if you are drawn to the look. The 560 had been available in the sandwich dial, where the markers are cutout and place over a luminescent disc as in most 112s, but is currently available with a sausage dial, which has painted markers.
The pleasure of wearing a huge Panerai is in its audacious look. It’s an overtly manly watch that is not ashamed to take up a large chunk of real estate on the arm. Some days, you wake up feeling like you must strap on a large chunk of jewelry. My colleague @chronos_1010 tells me he will always have a big Panerai in his collection. Here’s his PAM911 in action on his Instagram feed:
Plus, you can customize them with a range of aftermarket straps. Some of my favorite are from Toshi Straps, which are very simple and made from supple high end leathers. Richard, the owner, is a joy to work with.
I know Panerai watches go in and out of style. But the days of Stallone’s single handed revival of the brand are long gone. In 2018, the trend is towards smaller watches, but you can be a rebel and go with a watch that might just have the lugs extend beyond the limits of your wrist.