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Panerai Luminor Chronograph PAM 052 Luxury Watch Review

http://www.thewatchbox.com/watches/panerai Two icons in one 40mm brushed titanium case; that's the Panerai Luminor Chronograph PAM 052. The PAM 052 shares a heartbeat with no less a legend than the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, but the Panerai receives all of the alpha genes of Panerai’s distinguished SpecWar heritage and no-nonsense industrial design. By combining the military heritage and cult-classic appeal of the Panerai Luminor with the high-horology landmark Zenith El Primero Chronograph, the watchmaker from Firenze offers a double-feature of marquee stars. Since the launch of civilian market Panerai watches in 1993, only six of the 350+ known references have featured the revered Zenith El Primero chronograph caliber - and none have been produced for over a decade. The Zenith El Primero ranks among the most celebrated mechanical watch movements of all time. Launched in 1969 as the first automatic, integrated (all components designed together), and high beat (36,000 VpH!) chronograph, the El Primero ("first") was born beautiful. When the absentee ownership ordered the movement's tooling to be sold for scrap at the height of the 1970s downturn in the mechanical watch market, an enterprising Zenith employee hid the dies... ...they were recovered during the 1980s, the El Primero was chosen as the power plant to the 1988 Rolex Daytona, and the rest is Swiss folklore. With its 50-hour power reserve, crisp column wheel function selector, robust construction, and distinctive high-beat "voice," the El Primero is the highlight of any luxury watch fortunate enough to bear Zenith's vaunted 5hz rock star. The PAM 052 stands apart from other Panerai Luminor models on that basis alone, but there's more to this dynamic device than its legendary movement. Each Panerai Luminor seems to have inherited a strain of Rolex Daytona DNA via the El Primero movement. The unconventional use of a tachymeter scale, tri-compax chronograph, 40mm case, and full-Arabic numerals distinguish this Luminor as a breed apart from its time-only oversized stablemates at the "Officine." The combination of a polished steel bezel and brushed titanium case produces dramatic contrast, and the union of a 40mm case with the famed lightweight "gray metal" produces a sports watch that wears with sublime comfort. But it gets better; the PAM 052 features Panerai’s visually awesome Generation One bracelet. Its combination of brushed titanium, polished steel, and subtle visual echo of the Luminor crown guard are the stuff of dreams. Now discontinued, this bracelet is like catnip for collectors. Explicitly sporting in character, the PAM 052 is a Panerai that would appear at home trackside in Monaco or courtside at Madison Square Garden. The high-impact visuals of the chronograph and its calibrations are complemented by the contrasting effect of the anthracite dial and silver sundials. Because few Panerai Luminor models share this aesthetic, the owner of a PAM 052 is assured of exclusivity. Unique inside and out, the El Primero-powered Panerai Luminor Chronograph PAM 052 represents an opportunity to own a Panerai that can vie with Rolex's Cosmograph Daytona and Omega's Speedmaster Professional for sports chronograph "street cred." See this Panerai Luminor Chronograph PAM 052 in high-resolution images on www.thewatchbox.com. Video and content by Tim Mosso.