We introduced the new Panerai PAM977 and PAM978 here a few weeks ago and pointed out that due to the military history linked to Panerai, most dial colors have been black to allow their wearers to be as stealthy as possible during missions. Subsequently after Panerai’s revival in the 1990s, the brand started offering more consumer oriented timepieces with blue, white, sometimes green and even charcoal grey dials; but nothing shockingly different.
So when Panerai launched the PAM977 and 978 this year with a silver brushed face, a first for the brand, it took an instant to get used to the novelty of the dial which is crafted with a special brushed finish formed of vertical stripes. Once you are over the initial surprise, you realize how well the overall color scheme of the watch works; but to clearly see the impact that a dial has on a watch, we decided to take the PAM977 out for a spin and find out for ourselves.
The two new watches, called the PAM977 and the PAM978, are identical in terms of the overall external design but differ in case size and depth rating. The PAM977 has a diameter of 42mm with 100m water resistance, while the PAM978 is larger at 44mm and is water resistant to 300m.
Unusual also for Panerai is the use on the dial of applied hour markers filled with super-luminova, instead of the more famous “sandwich dial”. Here, this option provides higher visibility at night as well as underwater, and ensures enough contrast with the silver face to allow the wearer to read the time properly. The only touch of colour the watch will offer is with the blue small seconds hand. The main visual difference, allowing you to separate the two case sizes at first glimpse, is the presence of a numeral at 9 o’clock on the larger 44mm case of the PAM978—due of course to the fact that there is more real estate available on the dial of the larger model.
The other highlight of the timepiece is its stainless steel bracelet, which pairs admirably with the silver dial, and completes the monochromatic look of the timepiece. The bracelet is made of AISI 316L stainless steel, an alloy particularly resistant to corrosion.
Look closely and you’ll notice that the links of the bracelet are designed to look like the “bridge” which protects the winding crown. The composition of alternating polished and brushed finishes give the bracelet a sporty yet sophisticated feel on the wrist.
One aspect that I appreciate a lot with this bracelet is the fact that every link is removable meaning that you can precisely size the bracelet so that it is as tight as possible around your wrist. This is useful if like me you have a small wrist, or if you simply like a snug fit where the watch does not move up and down your wrist. One small downside to that though is that, if you do choose to have it wrapped tightly around your wrist, the sharp edge of the clasp will be uncomfortable as your wrist expands during the day.
With the popularity of stainless steel sports watches, Panerai provides here an offering that is attractive and more than worth paying close attention to. Styling the watch doesn’t require much effort and the PAM977 is at ease with a casual outfit as well as a more formal one.
As you roll your wrist over the course of your day, you’ll notice the different ways the light shines and reflects off the brushed silver dial. In some specific situations, if you find yourself wanting to read the time in a dark-ish environment, a small light source at the right angle would literally illuminate the dial and allow you to read the time easily.
Powering the watch is the in-house self-winding P.9010 calibre with a full 3-day power reserve with a jumping hours mechanism to easily adjust time without interfering with the minute hand. A valuable function when changing time zones or to quickly adjust the date.
After spending a few days with the watch, I’m happy to report that it is a great option for someone looking for a steel sports watch that doesn’t break the bank. I loved the comfort of the bracelet and the versatility of the watch which allowed me to not worry too much about pairing it correctly with certain outfits. With summer approaching fast, it is a great option for a timepiece carrying an iconic design from a respected watchmaking house that doesn’t need to be baby-ed around while wearing it.