Panerai watches look very familiar to the untrained eye. The design elements of Panerai are very distinct.
With large cases and minimalistic dials, and large winding crowns, Panerai models can be difficult to distinguish. The dials all sport Arabic numerals as well. With so many different Panerai reference numbers, it can be overwhelming to try to determine your own. But, there are some subtle differences between the watches that can help you distinguish what Panerai model you actually have.
Panerai actually only offers three case shapes: Radiomir, Luminor, and Submersible. We discuss differences between model case shapes here. Sometimes determining your model is as easy as reading the dial, but Panerai doesn’t always include that information. The Radiomir is easy to identify if there is not information on the dial because it has no crown guards. Panerai is known for their use of large crown guards, so a quick glance will tell you if your model is a Radiomir.
The Submersible was originally in the Luminor collection which our Panerai watch bands fit, and you can find leather and rubber curved end Panerai strap options for your Luminor Submersible here. But, in 2019, Panerai established a separate Submersible collection. If your Panerai says Luminor Submersible, it will have been produced before 2019. Since Panerai Submersibles are diving watches, they are equipped with a rotating bezel. So if your watch’s bezel rotates, it is a Submersible or Luminor Submersible if made before 2019.
If the name is not on the dial, the best and quickest way to distinguish your model is to take a closer look at the crown. Panerai Luminor watches sport a large semi-circular crown guard and bridge to protect the winding crown. Standard Luminor models have no markings on the crown. Swiss Everest curved end leather and rubber watch bands for this model are available here. Luminor 1950 models have “REG T.M” engraved on the crown. Panerai Luminors Due - released in 2016 - has the same writings, but the case is slimmer than the other Luminor models.
You may see the name Panerai Luminor Marina. This is not actually a fourth Luminor model, but the Marina note simply indicates it will have a running seconds indicator at 9 o’clock.
Most Panerai models are released in pairs - like the 111 and 112. The difference between these pairs is the one Luminor (the 112) will have just an hour hand and a minute hand whereas the other model, the Luminor (the 111), will have the hour, minute and seconds hand. The 112 model doesn’t have Marina on the dial. You can see this below with the 111 on the left and the 112 on the right.
One model that has been discontinued is the Mare Nostrum. As the pre-owned watch market is huge, this model is worth talking about. The watch was originally designed in the 1940s for deck officers. Unlike the other cases, the Mare Nostrum is a round case with chronograph pushers that frame the winding crown.
Radiomir: No Crown Guard
Luminor: Large Semi-Circular Crown Guards
Submersible: Rotating Bezels
Mare Nostrum: Chronograph Pushers