I like hiking on the weekends, but that’s as far as my exercise goes. All of the above basically means that most Panerai replica watches are firmly outside the realms of wrist-based realism for me. I simply cannot wear 44mm (or larger!). While there are more variables than just case diameter, which contribute to a watch’s visual impact on the wrist, anything over 42mm is usually too much for me.
Total Submersible domination
Panerai is well-known for its wrist-dominating watches. When a new release drops, I look on with intrigue but often get smacked in the face by unwieldy sizes (for me). Occasionally, something small in size drops, and then I can take a closer look, as indeed we have here today — the blue bezel fake Panerai PAM01209 Azzurro.
In a previous article, I’ve said that most of my collection is formed of dive watches. Something about the sporty, rugged style speaks to me on a visual design level. So happily, I’m looking at a model from Panerai’s Submersible line today. That’s the brand’s modern line of dive watches. The Swiss movement copy Panerai Submersible is perhaps the most rugged watch Panerai makes today, a non-nonsense dive watch with generous lashings of lume and a unidirectional bezel. Previously, the Submersible was part of the larger Luminor collection, but since 2019 it’s evolved into its own family of tool watches outright.
Bigger isn’t always better
As far as immediate visual cues go, the PAM01209 is obviously a dive watch, but it’s also quite reserved. It’s not screaming in your face and announcing itself to every passerby. I like that. I do not like bold, in-your-face designs for the most part. Panerai does an excellent job at keeping things classy with this watch and, indeed, on most of its watches. Good thing too, as big watches and brash designs DO NOT sit well with this author.
Now, you may have deduced so far that this watch falls into my preferred case size bracket. It’s a nice, modest, and wearable 42mm. Indeed it sits very nicely on my 7″ wrist. It feels good being able to write that. The Italian brand was one of the first luxury brands I became aware of in my journey in watches and watch collecting, and it’s one I’ve long had a soft spot for. So finally, finding a Panerai copy that I’d be able to consider adding to my collection is quite refreshing! Is that a spoiler for the rest of the article? Maybe…OK, SPOILER ALERT!
Casing the joint
Being a dive watch, it’s only appropriate that the PAM01209 Azzurro evokes the colors of the sea. The word ‘Azzurro’ is Italian for ‘light blue’, a not-so-subtle nod to the matte blue ceramic bezel. The watch is housed in a satin-finished steel case with a brushed unidirectional rotating bezel with a graduated scale. Like with all of the Submersible range, toughness and water resistance hold center stage with a rating of 300-meters, a screwed-in case back, and the Panerai’s signature crown protector all featuring.
The dial is matte black and features Panerai’s bold indices, hands, and dots. All of which have been generously applied with lume that gives off an aquatic green/blue color in low-light conditions. The combination of round hour markers and rounded, sausage-shaped markers at six o’clock and nine o’clock is somewhat playful. It’s hard to accurately describe what I mean here, other than anything other than rounded plots would have been visually jarring, at least it is when I try to imagine it.
Dropping a jeans size
The 42 mm replica Panerai Submersible PAM01209 Azzurro is powered by Panerai’s P.900 automatic movement. It has a rather impressive three-day power reserve and small seconds on a sub-dial at 9 o’clock and the date at 3 o’clock.
The P.900 movement was first introduced in 2019 for the brand’s Luminor Due series of watches. The high-performing movement is Panerai’s first automatic movement of this diameter and thickness (4.2mm) to combine a date function with a three-day power reserve. This has the knock-on effect of allowing the full watch to measure just 13.22mm thick, including the sapphire crystal. In turn, this means that the watch has a lower center of gravity which helped it stay in place nicely on the wrist during my time wearing it. One of my main grumbles with dive watches, or watches in general, is when the thickness is out of proportion to the case size. Thankfully this is not the case here.
On the rear is a closed case back, protecting the P.900 inside. Usually, I’m a firm advocate for closed case backs on dive watches. They’re not necessary, but I actually think the P.900 is quite a handsome movement. There may not be lots going on visually, but the large, three-quarter bridge is nicely finished, and the vertical brushing is nice to look at. It’s so neat, tidy, and uniform, and for a workhorse movement, Panerai has clearly put in some effort. I doubt I will find a lot of support for this, though, so Panerai has probably made the right choice putting it behind a closed case back in the grand scheme of things.
Good strap choices
Panerai usually does good straps. From my experience, the brand’s straps have always been on point. Initially, this may seem like an odd point, but I’ve had too many experiences where a brand’s watches have been excellent, but their straps have felt like an afterthought. The most recent acquisition to my collection came on a strap that was atrocious given the watch’s price. Thankfully I had always intended to get a different strap regardless, but still — that’s not the point. So it’s good to see that clone Panerai doesn’t slack in this department.
There are two straps included in the package. The first is an excellent black, natural rubber accordion strap – the perfect accompaniment for a dive watch. The accordion-style allows for slight changes of wrist size when the watch is worn over a wetsuit. The second strap is a black Sportech strap, which was actually my favorite of the two. Usually, I go for rubber straps on my dive watches, but the black Sportech was the more comfortable and just looked a bit cooler, in my opinion.