I’m not much of a yachtsman, that much is obvious, but I’ve always loved the Panerai Yachts Challenge models. They’re generally a more classical aside from the huge Luminor Submersible pieces, those big, uncompromising, wrist-mounted titans that scream of overcompensating. However, this year Panerai stepped away from its classical yacht inspirations for a much more modern trio of pieces – of which I got to try out the titanium PAM00764.
First off, I’m glad its in titanium. I know, Paneristi despair, but it makes for a far lighter, more comfortable watch that feels a little smaller than it is. This being Panerai, it’s certainly not a diminutive watch but not entirely thanks to its diameter. In fact, the 44mm case feels quite nice on the wrist. It’s the watch’s thickness that really stands out. It’s incredibly chunky; don’t expect it to fit nicely under a svelte shirtsleeve. Or any shirtsleeve short of an Edwardian dandy’s.
The PAM00784 is a Luminor model, shorthand for the patented crown protector that dominated the right-hand side. If you’ve not played with one before, it’s satisfyingly robust and mechanical, fitting for a serious diver. It does however cause a slight issue with the chronograph function.
As there’s no room on the right, the chronograph pushers have to be moved to the left. Aesthetically it looks pretty cool, a nice point of differentiation from the huge number of sports chronos out there. On the other hand, it’s a pain in the arse to use. The reset button is perfect for your right thumb, but the start/stop button is pretty damn awkward. The only way around it would be to make it a monopusher, but that wouldn’t do at all for regatta timing.
Pusher issues aside, the flyback itself is great to use. Like the crown protector it’s satisfyingly mechanical and a flyback is, in and of itself, a cool, useful complication. It also reflects well on the dial, with a fine balance between classical and technical.
Looks-wise this is my favourite of the three models in this year’s Yachts Challenge collection– the others being a full black, DLC version and a lovely gold and blue. The titanium is light and comfortable and I prefer the clean, modern look to the over the top performance angle of the DLC. It still has plenty of light blue on the dial which highlights the various elements of the flyback chrono without being as ostentatious as the usual bright red or fluorescent yellow of sports watches.
Despite the slight awkwardness with the chronograph pushers, the PAM00764 is a perfectly balanced example of Panerai doing what it does best. Part classic Luminor, part serious sports watch, it’s a comfortable, contemporary entry into Panerai canon.
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Panerai Luminor Chronograph Yachts Challenge
Case/Dial: 38.5mm diameter, stainless steel
Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: In-house caliber 893, automatic
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph flyback, seconds reset
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 3 day
Strap: Black rubber
More details at panerai.com