Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526)

Angus Davies provides a “hands-on” review of the Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526), a watch featuring an interesting flyback chronograph perfectly suited to regatta racing.

This detailed review of the Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) includes live images and specification details.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) - a hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

I am often attracted to watches which confer functions I am seldom likely to use. For example, I adore diver’s watches, yet rarely venture into deep waters. Furthermore, I have purchased watches which feature the marque of a particular prestigious car company, even though I don’t own said car.

Ultimately, I suspect I am not alone. It is invariably the aesthetics of a watch that results in my cooing as I stand over a handsome horological creation. I become besotted with subtle design details, illustrated by a cradling hand resting on a beautiful form.

A watch I first saw at SIHH 2013, the Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio, is a case in point. I could not get close to its gorgeous torso, such was the hysteria generated by the Swiss brand’s superb collection of novelties at the time. A year has since elapsed and I have finally had the joy of handling this stunning watch.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) - a hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

The raison d’être for this particular model is to assist a competitive crew member in their pursuit of regatta glory.

Officine Panerai has a long association with the sea, harking back to the days it supplied the Royal Italian Navy with its über masculine Radiomir divers watches in 1936. This particular model features some ingenious functions which make it a must have for any team member vying for racing glory. However, do you really need a yacht to justify the purchase of this generously sized timepiece?

The dial

The first notable aspect of the dial on the Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) is the sheer scale of the black canvas on which the functions are presented. It is huge, thanks to the generous case diameter of 47 mm. By default, this grants a large area to display the numerous functions mentioned on the watch’s specification sheet. The resultant dial display is highly legible with each constituent part having sufficient space to breathe, nothing feels crammed.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) - a hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

Hour and minute hands are unfussy, lined with luminescent material and impart time with refreshing brevity.

A sandwich dial echt Panerai is a detail that will win favour with fans of the Swiss-Italian brand, myself included. The two layered construction accords a delicious depth to the dial that evokes a sense of discernible quality. Arabic numerals, in a modern font, feature at 6 o’clock and noon, whereas other hours are marked with simple batons. Panerai ownership invariably delivers nocturnal legibility par excellence and the Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) proves to be no exception. The dial has a fantastic luminescence, featuring a delightful green emission.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) - a hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

A small seconds display features at 9 o’clock, in common with several non-chronograph models in the Panerai catalogue, together with a 12-hour chronograph register positioned at 3 o’clock. The two subdials share the same proportion and deliver a balance to the dial which is very agreeable.

Two central chronograph hands feature on the dial. The blue hand is a central chronograph seconds hand, whereas the orange hand is a central chronograph minutes hand. It is the latter which provides a fascinating point of differentiation.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) - a hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

Prior to a regatta commencing, the yachts have to assemble for the start and a warning, typically five minutes prior to the commencement of a race, is made using flags and an audible signal. The wearer of the Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) can press the orange push-piece, at 4 o’clock, to advance the orange chronograph minutes hand counter-clockwise into the “start” area, indicated on the dial and flange.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) - a hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

The two chronograph hands begin counting down to zero and then continue thereafter once the race has commenced.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) - a hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

A minute rail encircling the dial aids ease of read-off. The inner flange, as well as carrying the countdown scale, shows values up to 15 minutes before the start of the race. Moreover, it also features a tachymeter scale calibrated for knots, ideal for determining the speed of a yacht over a defined distance.

It all sounds very complicated, however, a few minutes of familiarisation soon reveals the watch to be very simple to use.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) - a hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

The start / stop chronograph button is positioned at 10 o’clock. The reset button is positioned at 8 o’clock. This is a flyback chronograph allowing the wearer to press the reset button whilst the stop-watch is in operation. This causes the chronograph hands to stop, reset and start in one simple action, proving useful for timing consecutive events.

The case

As the nomen implies the case is constructed of titanium with a brushed finish. I wouldn’t describe the watch as a featherweight, but the use of titanium does ensure it is not unduly heavy. Indeed, I think Panerai have judged the mass to perfection. On one hand there is an agreeable feeling of substance. Conversely, there is no requirement to be an adonis when wearing the Panerai.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) - a hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

Whilst the size of this timepiece may polarise opinion, perhaps even alienating those people of diminutive stature, I personally fell under its bewitching spell.

The Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526), sat comfortably on my wrist and I did not find the push pieces, or crown with its iconic protection device, inhibit free movement of my left hand. Moreover, there were no annoying red marks caused from chafing. One reason for the comfortable fit is the rubber strap. It has a ribbed profile and envelopes the wrist uniting the wearer and timepiece perfectly.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) - a hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

Panerai has fitted an exhibition case back to the PAM00526, allowing the wearer to admire the brand’s in-house P.9100/R movement.

The movement

The impressive P.9100/R calibre is an evolution of Panerai’s P.9100 automatic calibre and is currently only used in the Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) - a hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

The column-wheel chronograph will undoubtedly attract purists with its no compromise creation, visible via the exhibition case back.

Twin spring barrels provide an impressive power reserve of 3 days.

The movement comprises of 328 parts, reaffirming that Panerai has not sought production expedience when creating the P.9100/R calibre. However, it is the exalted creation of the movement which causes me to voice a minor criticism.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) - a hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

Panerai has fitted large bridges to the movement which deny the wearer the sight of the components beneath. Whilst I accept it provides a tidy appearance to the movement, it prevents inquisitive eyes the opportunity to savour more of the micro-mechanics within. Moreover, with only a small circular aperture revealing the column-wheel, the wearer is denied the wonderful spectacle of the lateral coupling interfacing with the six pillars of the castellated wheel. It is a shame, because it feels that some of the virtue of the movement specification is not being adequately shared with its owner.

Nevertheless, that is really my only criticism of the Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526)  and, in all honesty, would not dissuade me from considering the timepiece for my own collection.

Closing remarks

Panerai has created an interesting timepiece with the Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio.

It is comfortable to wear, has an interesting dial and proves simple to read, both day and night.

Panerai offers many timepieces which are vintage in appearance, referencing former historical models of its back catalogue. However, by creating the PAM 526, Panerai has shown it is capable of producing contemporary watches, dispelling any accusations of being type-cast.

Beyond, the handsome lines, resides much mechanical merit and the specification is extremely impressive.

I don’t ever envisage owning a yacht, nor competing in a regatta, but owning a Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) remains a realistic proposition.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio
  • Reference: PAM00526
  • Case: Titanium; diameter 47.00 mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; flyback chronograph; regatta countdown; knots scale for calculation of boat speed; seconds reset.
  • Movement: Panerai P.9100/R calibre, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 37 jewels; power reserve 3 days; 328 components.
  • Strap: Black rubber strap with brushed titanium pin buckle.

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