Back in the 90's fashion watches with distinctive , bold aesthetics were destined to become the stars of the decade. People did not have to care too much about movement quality because MSRP wasn't as crazy as it is now. If you did not have a quality watchmaker's piece in your collection , your IWC had an automatic JLC based caliber , used by some of the very best such as Vacheron Constantin , Patek Phillipe and others.
Hottest watches in the 90's , Panerai Luminor Submersible and Franck Mueller Crazy Hours
Now comeback to the current times , after 2 major economic crises , a continuing recession , hyper inflation , and vast watch information available on the internet , the average watch buyer and enthusiast has become smarter with their money. This wasn't all a positive however , the terms like "in-house" movements have been thrown around , when there have been no serious benefits over their ebauche counterparts when it comes to power reserve , stability , accuracy or even upping the finishing standards. Sometimes the only premium of an in house movement meant, more expensive servicing. The term microbrand has also been molested to a degree, but we can get to that another day.
Bremont Wright Flyer caliber , marketed initially as an "In-House" movement that was even developed in England. Turned out to be a La Joux-Perret Caliber 6003
So what made me , someone who had over hundreds of reference models in the back of his head , but not a single Panerai reference get interested at the brand again?
It was simple , more 42mm options , and while charging a premium for that case, finally a decent value for money movement.
Come in Panerai RADIOMIR 1940 3 DAYS AUTOMATIC
At 42mm , it is a pure , minimalisic dial. Because it's lugs are not over extending , but traditional non wire , Radiomir lugs , and because it has no wide gaudy diver bezel , it sits well on the wrist.
It doesn't pretend to be a dress watch with an alligator strap , and a high polished , small case (Considered to the Panerai lineup.)
Yet , it also doesn't pretend to be tool sports watch like a Rolex or a Planet Ocean.
This is the quintessential tribute to vintage Panerai in a smart size. It has the traditional sandwich dial , and historically accurate luminescent numerals and hands.
The movement doesn't have to be finished with distinctive Geneve stripes and generous perliage , it is a Panerai. Here we see some features of Panerai's "In House" Caliber 4000 that definitely have benefits over their ebauche of the past.
A full balance bridge, that we know after time tested results are better against shocks than non full balance bridges. A 3 day power reserve, and a off center , micro rotor , because why not? And Also because it keeps the movement 3.95mm thick , which helps keep the overall case profile thin.
Does this mean now Panerai is a must have for me , and other watch enthusiasts out there? No , but to see Panerai trendiness slowly dissappearing in mid to late 2000's because it offered no horological value at a premium price tag like most Franck Mueller , and now having truly in-house developed and manufactured movements with more moderate case size options , is highly impressive. They have become the smart man's alternative to a Rolex or Omega under $10,000 , and have taken over that spot firmly from IWC.