This is the story of the Panerai that got away.
For me, one of the most iconic PAM of all time is the PAM00112. The 112 is a 44mm Luminor with a base, sandwich dial. Having this base (I.e. two hands and no seconds) and sandwich (numerals cut out of top layer exposing luminous layer beneath) dial gives the 112 a distinctive Panerai look that you can recognize from across the room. The 112 uses a basic movement based on the workhorse ETA Unitas movement. It’s hand wound with about 56 hours of power reserve. This movement suits the 112 because it is simple, reliable, sturdy, well made and has no frills.
The 112 is one of the least expensive Panerai models. So it’s no surprise that it is sought after and hard to come by. Now, Panerai are replacing the ETA movements with their in-house movements such as the P.5000. The 560 is, I guess, the eventual replacement of the 112. Similar case, similar base dial, but with a sensational in house movement with 8 days of power reserve. So eventually, you won’t be able to find a 112 at all.
About 2 years ago, I stood in an authorized dealer’s showroom with a brand new 112 strapped to my wrist. There it was — it had every single feature I dreamed of in a Panerai, including an exhibition caseback. And even back then, I knew these were hard to come by. I let it go because I couldn’t spend so much money on that day without being sick. I regretted it ever since.
I have since spent way more money on various pieces. I often think that, had I just bought the 112 initially, it would have saved me money in the long run. Last year, I saw a pristine 112 on CWC and was tempted to trade for it. But I already had two PAM in my stable and just couldn’t figure out which one to keep. It’s gone. I know. The 112 is my Eleanor. My white ghost. The one that got away.
My current collection boasts more complex and more high end pieces than the 112, yet the 112 remains on my mind. So what’s the moral of this story? It’s not all about price tags, complications, and extra features. In watch collecting, one must follow the heart and seek out those timepieces that speak to oneself. Go for character. And, when you have the right timepiece in your hands, be ready to pull the trigger. Or else, you may one day find yourself blogging about your Eleanor. ..