Yes! Yet another 911. Oops! I meant PAM.I was at a PAM 514 launch event when I bought this. The sales manager at the AD had kept one of a handful of 510 that they had just received for me, well aware from our previous conversation that I am keen on getting one. Giddy and excited as a gleeful little schoolboy, I turned to the missus for an opinion. Pointing to my 320 on the tray, she remarked, "Looks just like the one you're wearing today." This was good enough reason for me to get it! Why? well, simply because she can't tell the difference, which means I have the opportunity to get a few more in future covertly. Thank you Panerai!
If this looks like a dead-ringer for the PAM 111, well it's simply because it uses the same Luminor case. According to the rumour mill, the 510 is supposed to replace the 111. Looking at the initial price, it would seem that way. Prior to the official launch, I was quoted SGD8,800 RRP. This is a mere hundred bucks more than the 111. However, them folks at Richemont decided to raise the price to SGD9,500 on the eventful day. But basing on retail prices alone, I reckon its still a relative bargain for an in-house movement with 8 days of power on tap.
The PAM 510 is as utilitarian as it comes, for a PAM that is. Apart from the reminder about it's bigger capacity (8 days power reserve), there really are't many physical difference from the 111. LIke the 111, it sports a seconds sub-dial at 9 o'clock as well as a sandwich dial. The real difference is beneath all that shiny metal. The 510 is powered by the latest addition to the Pamily of in-house developed hand-wound calibre - the P5000, boasting an impressive 8 days of power reserve. I have conducted a short study and have concluded that the actual power reserve falls in the region of about 9 days and 18 hours. As I have received several curious queries concerning the amount of time spent on a full wind as the main spring should be relatively long, I actually counted and concluded that it takes about 130 turns to complete a full wind-up. In comparison, the 422 (P3001 calibre) requires about 100 turns.
My main concern with this piece is the fully polished case - it is a potential ding magnet. The case is not very thick by PAM standards. It is thinner than the 320 and 442. Unlike the 422 and 320, the crown guard/ locking device is clean. I prefer it this clean simplicity, frankly. However, I would prefer it to be polished like the case. It is a rather odd pairing, in my opinion. The straps are fastened to the case by screw-in lugs. I would advise butter fingers to taped the surrounding areas with transparent tape before attempting to change the straps. Not everyone has the dexterity of a dental surgeon. I've done a visual comparison and the lugs of the 510 is thinner than the 320's but thicker than the 422's. However, it is shorter than the 422's and 320's and is more curved as well.
The case back provides the most telling clue that this ain't no 111. Firstly, the movement is obviously different. Secondly, the case back is reminiscent of the engine bay when you pop the bonnet of an Audi or Bimma. Everything is almost completely covered up. I do not see the point of having a see-through case back when all one can see is s sheet of blank metal plate with technical inscriptions on it.
On the wrist, it is pretty comfortable. Not much overhang compared to the 422 as it is smaller at 44mm. Furthermore, its lugs have a steeper gradient as well.
As always, Panerai's lume is next to legendary. I was tempted to place my oakleys over them to see how much of it can actually seep through. I dare say, in this case, a picture speaks volumes.
Sadly, the Panerai creative team seems to have run dry of ideas and have taken a leaf from Tudor's leather options. The 510 comes fitted with a pair of brown (bordering on black) distressed calves. However, unlike Tudor's offering, these are not the most well made Panerai originals. The sides are not burnished and fraying and premature wear and tear seems likely to set in. Unlike most of Panerai's original straps are of rather decent quality, these are not particularly confidence inspiring. The finishing lacks convincing quality. Perhaps they want to achieve a naturally vintaged look over (a relatively short) time. The only good thing going for it is the 24/22mm tapering which is a lot more proportionate than the 26/22mm of the bigger 1950 case.
In conclusion, this is a relative bargain considering it's got an 8-day power reserve and is driven by a brand new in-house movement. If the word on the grapevine bears fruit and this replaces the 111, then I reckon it is a worthy successor. Its clean, uncluttered, utilitarian simplicity, coupled with the afore-mentioned will likely tug the heart (and purse) strings of most PAM freaks. However, I really hope they can reveal more of the movement through the display case back. Oh, and provide a lifetime worth of free polishing!
Case Material : Stainless Steel.
Case Diameter : 44mm.
Lug Width : 24mm.
Crystal : Sapphire.
Movement : P5000.
Power Reserve : 8 Days.
Water Resistance : 300m.
- 8-day power reserve.
- Actual power reserve is a little more at more than 9 days.
- Relative bargain for an in-house movement with 8-day power reserve.
- A lume with a view.
- Still rather new so a conversation piece still.
- Plentiful strap options.
- Still the same consistent build quality.
- Adherence to Panerai's, particularly Luminor's DNA.
- An absolute eye-candy.
- Ding magnet.
- Case back should reveal more of the movement.
- Original distressed calve leather straps not particularly well finished.
- Crown guard/ locking device should be polished.