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Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days PAM 590 Luxury Watch Review

Watchuwant is now WatchBox! Now here's something you don't see everyday; a Panerai that leaves even the hardest of hardcore Paneristi purists grinning with glee. But the Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days PAM 590 is that kind of watch. With a dial that recalls the heyday of the 1950s Angelus-powered combat divers and a case that embraces the best of the pre-Vendome modern classics, the PAM 590 is the kind of watch that proves that deep within the Richemont collective, the "Officine" from Firenze still has a soul. Naturally, nothing this desirable could be widely accessible, and the North America-only Luminor Marina 8 Days PAM 590 is something of an unofficial Panerai special series. This classically-inspired Luminor ranked among the absolute stars of SIHH 2014, and one year later, examples remain scarce, coveted, and short-lived on the open market. "8 GIORNI BREVETTATO": the text says it all. At the heart of each PAM 590 is a loving tribute to the ref. 6152/1 combat dive watches that Panerai developed during the early NATO era. All of the lessons learned with the Rolex-powered originals during WWII directed Panerai towards the watches that inspired the PAM 590. Panerai's original Rolex-made "Oyster" screw-down crown tended to wear out its rubber seals due to repeated entry/exit rotation, and the tight fit when fully secured made gloved or wet-handed manipulation frustrating for Italian combat swimmers. Finally, the exposed Oyster crown was a liability whose exposed body was vulnerable to sheering upon rough contact. Panerai's solution was the cage-like Device Protecting the Crown. It doubled as an all-aspect crown guard and a pivot point for a locking lever that removed the need for screw-down compromises. With the lever open, the crown could be used to set and wind the watch; with the lever locked, hermeticity was assured. Then and now, raising the lever was an effortless feat in marginal grip conditions. Panerai addressed the second shortcoming of its original Rolex-powered dive watch with a long-legged surrogate, the Angelus SF-240 "8 Giorni" movement. While the Rolex Cortebert cal. 618 served Panerai with distinction from the 1930s into the early 1950s, its daily winding requirements dramatically accelerated deterioration of the crown seals. The Angelus eight-day movement eliminated this compromise, and its famed sub-seconds indication with "8 GIORNI BREVETTATO" dial signature spawned the prototype for today's Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days PAM 590. Today's PAM 590 features an 8-day Panerai in-house caliber P.5000 manually wound movement that surpasses the crude and imprecise Angelus SF 240 by every technical measure. Each PAM 590 lovingly recreates the aesthetic of an Angelus-powered Panerai 6152/1. The simulated radium patina recalls the aging of luminescent elements following decades of exposure to Panerai's "Luminor" self-activated radiological paint. Each element of the flanking sundial and patent signature is true to the original, and the combination of the two remains a rarity in the Panerai catalog. Only a handful of invariably exceptional (we're talking PAM 203, PAM 341-type exotica) references have carried this feature set in the modern era. Beyond the landmark dial, the Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days PAM 590 rests upon a foundation that has emerged as a latter-day classic: the 1993-present 44mm "Bettarini" case. Designed by late military-era Panerai engineer Alessandro Bettarini, the 44mm case identified with his name was employed for the first Panerai Luminor models (Luminor, and Luminor Marina) to hit the market when Panerai issued its first civilian watches in 1993. The distinctive 44mm "tuna can" cushion case has become a beloved symbol of Panerai's thrilling rise from obscurity and emergence as a beloved luxury manufacture. In many ways, the Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days PAM 590 Luxury Watch represents an everyday-useable PAM 203, a watch so rare, only 150 personal friends of Panerai brass were able to get it. But while the PAM 590 is more accessible than the 203, it isn't that much more available in practical terms. Collectors know and love the 590, and perceived practicality vis-a-vis the 203 means that competition for complete set examples of the 590 is that much more fierce. Shop Panerai: https://www.thewatchbox.com/watches/panerai Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/watchbox/ WatchBox Reviews Channel: https://www.youtube.com/WatchBoxReviews Video and content by Tim Mosso.