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REVIEW: The PAM 202 “Slytech” Luminor Chrono>>>>>

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Published on 02-07-2010 10:52 AM

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Review of the PAM 202 “Slytech” Luminor Chrono
By: John B. Holbrook, II


One of the watch industry’s hottest companies with the most dedicated fan base comes not from Switzerland, but from Italy — Officine Panerai. Founded in 1860, Giovanni Panerai began in a humble workshop in Florence. As work continued through the dawn of the 20th Century, the operation grew and was subsequently expanded by Guido Panerai (grandson of Giovanni). By the 1930s, Panerai was specializing in developing and manufacturing high precision diving instruments used by “frog men” and was eventually commissioned by the Italian Navy to produce watches which could be used and read underwater. These first models actually used movements, case backs, and crowns made by Rolex. Thanks to Panerai’s innovative use of luminous materials using a mix of zinc sulfide and radium bromide (given later the name Radiomir), Panerai’s watches were perfectly legible underwater. Today, the oversized and uniquely styled watches have become a hot fashion accessory item among celebrities, and Panerai’s unique heritage and tradition have also given them a strong following among watch enthusiasts. In fact, it was the attention of one mega-celebrity in particular, around 1995, which really helped propel Panerai’s success — Sylvester Stallone. Over the past 10 years Stallone has become known as a devout fan and collector of Panerai watches, which led to Panerai and Stallone working together on a few limited production “Slytech” models which bear the actor’s nickname and signature. The PAM 202 “Slytech” Luminor Chrono is yet another example of this ongoing relationship between Panerai and Stallone.


The PAM 202 is suitable for deep sea saturation diving, as it is rated with an incredible 1000 meters of water resistance, and features a helium escape valve to ensure the watch is not damaged when a saturation diver spends time in a decompression chamber. The valve is designed to deploy automatically if pressure inside the watch case reaches critical levels. The PAM 2002 features a solid titanium case back which is screwed down for improved water resistance. The case back also features some gorgeous engraving work which identifies the model, and bears Sylvester Stallone’s engraved signature. Fortunately, thanks to the titanium used in the case construction, the PAM 202 isn’t as heavy as the 44mm case size might suggest. The PAM 202 was quite comfortable to wear, and almost light by Panerai standards.


Attached to the case lugs is a Panerai-signed rubber dive strap, and case-matching buckle. I found the rubber strap to be thick and strong, though not particularly fashionable. The use of this rubber strap over a metal bracelet also contributes to the above-mentioned weight of the watch. Clearly the PAM 202 is designed with the utility and functionality of a pure “tool” watch, despite the fact it’s a celebrity-signed, limited edition model. While many diver-styled watches really aren’t suitable for actual diving, the Luminor Chrono 1000 is designed to be a life saving device suitable for professional diving.


Inside the massive watch case resides the Panerai caliber OP XII — a 27-jewel, self-winding mechanical movement. The OP XII is a “high-beat” movement and vibrates at a speed of 28,800 vibrations per hour, and is COSC certified for accuracy. The OP XII is based on the Valjoux 7753 chronograph ebauche. From a tool watch perspective, the choice of the Valjoux base ebauche is perfectly acceptable. However, from a horological point of view, a Panerai designed and manufactured movement would have been far more interesting than using an out-sourced base caliber like the Valjoux 7753. The OP XII has a power reserve of 46 hours, and is equipped with Incabloc anti-shock protection as well as a “quick set” date feature.

The Panerai PAM 2002 “Slytech” Luminor Chrono offers impressive capabilities and functionality as a dive watch. In addition to standard dive watch features such as a rotating bezel for tracking dive time, and luminous hands and markers for underwater visibility, the PAM 202 offers an uncommonly deep water resistance rating. Additionally, the watch offers the utility of chronograph functionality, found on relatively few diver-style watches. The limited production numbers of the PAM 202 and the association with Sylvester Stallone will also appeal to the loyal “Paneristi” — the legion of collectors who rabidly devour all things Panerai. The Panerai PAM “Slytech” Luminor Chrono has a retail price of $13,700, which is in line for a limited edition collector’s piece of this type.

**Photos & Text Copyright 2010 WATCH TALK FORUMS. No part of this report can be reproduced outside of WATCH TALK FORUMS without the expressed permission of John B. Holbrook, II.

This article was originally published in forum thread:

REVIEW: The PAM 202 “Slytech” Luminor Chrono>>>>>
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