All photos from Panerai
Would you consider a 38mm watch for women only? Apparently Panerai does. It announced two new color combinations in November for its Piccolo Due Ladies line, a silver dial with gold hands and markers and an anthracite grey dial with gold hands. Both are just 30 meters water resistant, the big knock on the Due line, and retail for $6,750.
To me, both look fine as watches for men. Nothing about them screams feminine like a diamond-dial 28mm Datejust. Both of the Panerai models have the trademark flip-lock crown protector and basically look like scaled down Luminor models. Both feature a sandwich dial and come on alligator straps. The 38mm Panerai line can be quite appealing for a man who might want the Panerai esthetic without the traditional bulk.
Maybe the bigger question for Panerai is: Where is the brand headed?
While Rolex, Tudor and Omega seem to become increasingly popular, the once red-hot Panerai appears to not have the appeal it possessed in the early 2000s. Of course there will always be the fanboys, the Paneristi as this group has been dubbed, but in a marketplace that requires constant evolution to maintain appeal, Panerai has done very little to attract new audiences.
Perhaps the timelessness of its core Radiomir, Luminor and Submersible models continue to drive commercial success. For me the introduction of the 42mm Submersible models was a strong move to cater towards the trend for smaller watches. I believe that Panerai can stay true to its roots while downscaling their watch sizes. First move, don’t label your watches as ladies’ (or mens’) watches. It’s soon to be 2022. Gender labeling for marketing isn’t catching on with the new generation of watch enthusiasts.
I would revitalize the Radiomir line, offer some smaller case sizes and play up the classic design elements like the onion crown and distinctive case shape. The SLC and California dial versions offer a unique look and should be offered in a size less than 45mm. I understand tradition, but if they can create their Due line, I believe there is room for rethinking the Radiomir line sizing too. I like that they renamed their Due collection entirely and a similar move could work with a smaller Radiomir-like case.
For now, I would gladly wear one of the Piccolo Due watches even though I am a man. If it looks right, I’d wear it. To me there is such a strong brand identity with the Panerai look that a version that slips could possibly be worn in dressier situations would be very appealing. I still proudly wear my classic 44mm Luminor model, but if I’m looking to buy a new Panerai, please make it around 40mm.Shop our line of curved-end straps for Panerai watches.