Disclaimer: This is my first-ever watch review. I am by no means a watch expert and anything in this review is strictly my opinion based on my own observations. I have owned my 320 since Oct 2010 and it is my first and only Panerai at the moment. I have, however, been to a good number of ADs and boutiques, so have tried on a number of other Panerais. This gives me a little bit of perspective on how this watch compares to some other models. I think those who are less familiar with Panerais will benefit most from this review. I haven't included too many pictures, just enough to illustrate some of my observations. This isn't intended to be a gallery of 320 pics.
Jooboyís Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days GMT Automatic (PAM320) Review
When I first started gaining interest in Panerais, I wanted a watch with an in-house movement and GMT. As I dug deeper into Panerais and what features the different models offer, I decided I also wanted the sandwich dial and crown guard, two very distinctly Panerai features. At first, I really thought about getting a 321 because, in addition to fitting all the criteria just mentioned, the power reserve indicator on the dial appealed to me. However, after comparing the 321 and 320, I came to the conclusion that I appreciated the simpler 320 layout. The 321 started to look a bit too cluttered and the power reserve seemed a little out of place. Seeing the power reserve on the back of the 320 pretty much sealed the deal for me.
First, the case - the 1950 is simply gorgeous. The case is brushed all around except for the bezel, which is polished. In general, I prefer brushed over polished, but the 320ís combination of brushed case with the bezel makes a nice contrast that draws attention to the dial.
If thereís one fault with the case, itís the thickness. Actually, itís not the case thatís thick. Itís the case and caseback combined. The caseback adds an extra 2 millimeters or so to the caseís overall thickness (excluding the domed crystal). So when the watch is worn, the case is actually off the wrist a bit because of the caseback (see picture below). The thickness is not a showstopper to me by any means, but it can be difficult to fit it under shirt cuffs.
The thickness also brings up another slight concern Iíve had. The bezel (when looking at the profile of the watch) flares out and back in, creating an edge. While it is a great design feature, Iím afraid Iíll one day bang the watch against a hard surface and dent the bezel. If the case was a little thinner, it would be less a concern. I've tried to show the edge of the bezel in the picture below:
The 320 case also has the quick strap change system, which Iíve found to be very convenient. Itís a pretty simple system: using the provided two-piece tool (or two toothpicks), you press down the button on the back of the lug and simultaneously push out the strap pin. Putting it back together is equally simple Ė just make sure you put the pin in the right way so that the groove side of the pin locks into the locking mechanism. I havenít heard of any issues with long-term reliability of the system. The only thing that I could possibly see happening (outside of abuse or losing a pin) would be the tension spring on the button going bad somewhere down the road, depending on frequency of strap changes.
Next, the dial Ė I feel the 320 finds a great balance in displaying a good deal of information yet keeping the dial simple, balanced and uncluttered. I also like the fact that the dial has both small seconds and a ď9Ē in order to show off the sandwich dial a bit more. Even with the GMT hand, the dial remains simple because it is a 12-hour GMT hand without an AM/PM indicator (OP uses the dot in several models; other GMTs use a 24-hour hand which requires 24-hour markings on the dial). The dial itself is clean Ė it is a smooth, matte black and the printed text fonts are very sharp. Of course, you would expect this level of quality, but it is something I really appreciate. Everything is very easy to read, as you would expect from a typical Panerai dial. Lume, of course, is bright and very well and evenly applied.
Operation/movement: in general, the 320 is a very simple watch to operate. GMT takes a little practice to set, but I believe this is similar with many GMT watches. The P.9001 movement is accurate and reliable. Considering the 320 shows hours, minutes, small seconds, date, GMT, and power reserve all in an in-house automatic movement, I believe itís a lot of watch. Iím not sure any other luxury brand offers a similar set of features at this price point.
One of my favorite features of this watch is the quick hour change. I canít tell you how much time this has saved me, as Iíve travelled and changed time zones frequently in the last several months. I also do not wear this watch daily or leave it in a winder, so I have to set it frequently. This is great for daylight savings time changes, too. In case you werenít aware of this feature, when setting the time on the 320, you can either pull the crown all the way out to set the hours/minutes the traditional way, or go one step in and change only the hour hand in distinct clicks. This saves you the trouble of having to set the minutes. I donít know how many other PAMs have this feature or if other manufacturers offer it, but itís one that Iíve really come to like on the 320.
As mentioned before, the 320 has a small power reserve indicator visible through the caseback. It is pretty easy to read and serves its purpose. One small gripe I have with it, however, is that the indicator does not represent the entire three-day power reserve. In other words, if the indicator is showing full green, one would conclude that there is a full three days of reserve left. However, this is not the case. I havenít taken the time to measure how much the full green indicator represents, but my estimate is somewhere in the range of 36-42 hours.
The 320 comes with a dark brown crocodile strap with a tang buckle. Iíve never used it so I donít have much to say about it, but it is the standard high-quality OEM quality.
As my first Panerai, the 320 has met every expectation I had of the brand. It is extremely well-designed and packed with more features than the simple appearance suggests. Quality and workmanship is top-notch, something Panerai owners and fans already know and expect. I wouldnít say this is necessary the ideal model for a Panerai newbie; the very similar 312 is a cheaper alternative which appears almost identical to the 320 except for the GMT function, power reserve and strap color.
I will end this review with one more drawback: the 320 is such a great watch, that it has made me abandon my original plan to buy only one PAM.