Since its introduction in 1950, the Luminor case has emerged as an icon within the watch world. With its oversized dimensions, great legibility, and trademark crown guard, the Panerai Luminor models leave little to be desired from the discerning enthusiast. In case you missed it, you can read my hands-on experience with the Panerai PAM 111 here. Today, I’m going to cover the current in-house Luminor models (PAM 560) and how they differ from the previous ETA based generation (PAM 111).
Up until a few weeks ago, I assumed the only difference between current and previous Luminor models was the movement and case thickness. At a glance, the cases do look the same. However, it wasn’t until I had the PAM 111 and PAM 560 side by side that I was able to see the subtle differences.
Case and Crystal:
Immediately, you can tell that the PAM 111 is more robust than the PAM 560. Due to the ETA based movement, the PAM 111 is about 1.5mm taller than the PAM 560 (15mm vs 13.5mm). 1.5mm doesn’t like a lot, but it’s something you can definitely feel on the wrist.
As I mentioned earlier, the difference in thickness was something that I came to expect from the two. What surprised me was the crystal, bezel, and lug differences. The PAM 111 stays true to robust form as its bezel is taller, wider, and lacks the beveled edging of the PAM 560. Its lugs are also taller, wider, and in a way more compact/chubby looking as if they’ve been compressed. In both aspects, the PAM 560 comes off a bit more refined.
Side by side, the PAM 560 crystal is completely flat and wider than the PAM 111. This makes the dial quite a bit larger. While the PAM 111 dial looks visibly smaller, I prefer its double domed crystal as it creates an illusion of the dial being convex.
The PAM 111 is powered by the OP XI Calibre. A hand wound COSC Certified movement based on the ETA 6497/2. Panerai’s list of modifications include redesigned bridges, a swan neck regulator, Geneva stripes, and a 56 hour power reserve. Some positives to this movement is that it's easily serviceable and reliable. It’s also larger than the current in-house Panerai movements which explains the larger and taller case of the PAM 111.
The PAM 560 is powered by the modern in-house calibre P.5000. The P.5000 is a hand wound movement capable of hours, minutes, and seconds and has an impressive 8-day power reserve. With a thickness of 4.5mm, it comes as no surprise that the PAM 560 is much thinner than the PAM 111. However, the PAM 111s OP XI Calibre is much prettier to look at as it's exposed and not covered in one giant plate.
Just like most Panerai models, these two are absolute strap monsters. Leather, rubber, NATO, sailcloth, etc - they’ll look great on almost all straps that you put on them. Everest specializes in both curved end rubber and leather straps for 44mm Luminor models (not 1950 Luminor cases). You can find more information about them here.
You can’t go wrong with either of these two Luminor options. The PAM 111 is considered a Panerai classic. It’s got a bit more of that Panerai DNA, the movement is rock solid and easily serviceable, and it can easily be found and resold if needed. The modern Luminor models like the 560 are a bit more refined and more comfortable on the wrist. The 8-day power reserve is also a nice touch but having Panerai as your only service center can be a bit more expensive. Whether you go with the previous generation or the modern collection - you’ll end up with one of the most iconic and fun watch designs on the market.
Written by Patrick Bernardez