From grand complications, to vintage military inspirations; from futuristic materials to rugged big boy toys, the world of Panerai is as diverse, as it is intense. With a flamboyant history of building diver watches for the Italian Navy, to cutting-edge technological masterpieces, Panerai has reinvented itself as a luxury watch brand in the 21st century. It’s latest creation, the Luminor California 8 Days DLC 44mm, or PAM00779 (as Panerai calls its models) offers us an insight into the new direction that Panerai has courageously ventured into.
First things first, the new timepiece is a visual beauty that brings together several iconic elements that makes Panerai Watches so cherished. From a large masculine 44mm case that integrates military influences, to a light titanium case that feels just right Panerai has ensured that in terms of pure visual appeal, the new Luminor California, ticks all the right boxes. However, the star attraction on this timepiece is the new reinvented ‘bund’ strap. Critics and purists have never taken well to this different strap design, but in case of the California, it enhances the aesthetics of the timepiece, and takes it to a completely new level.
It is the small things on the watch that makes it completely stand out- the decision to opt out of any form of branding on the dial, is a testament to old school military divers that Panerai excelled in creating. The California dial has long been a polarizing topic, but something that has been a traditional part of Panerai’s DNA. The split style indices utilize Roman numerals at the top of the dial, and standard Arabic numerals on the bottom. This was originally a feature found on many old-school Panerai military pieces, and it provides a nice vintage influence. The indices are Super-LumiNova-filled with a yellowed, almost faux patina effect. The lume-filled, thermally blued hands contrast well against the dial, and keep that strong Panerai aesthetic. The new Luminor California 8 Days DLC gets its name from the sturdy titanium case that has been coated with diamond-like carbon (DLC), a dark, scratch-resistant material. Rated to 300m, the case is 44mm, the same size as the basic Panerai Luminor models and quite wearable despite being chunky. It contains the P.5000, a hand-wound, in-house movement with an eight-day power reserve. The watch fashionably blends old school craftsmanship with technologically advanced modern nuances. In many ways, it stands for what Panerai is- a brand that takes great pride in its history, while keeping itself tuned with the modern era.