Written by: Travis Farris
Looking for a luxury watch with some simple strength and functionality? Panerai is certainly an impressive name to turn to; the company has been making watches for over a century, and their craftsmanship is such that some of their early business was with the Royal Italian Navy. With such an admirable history, there is no question as to Panerai’s reputation. But does the Panerai Luminor Base Left Handed PAM 00219 live up to it?
First off, I should clarify that while this watch is designed for left-handers ( …ironically, to be worn on the right hand ), the exact same product is available in reverse, so all are welcome to read and consider. It is interesting though that the Luminor Base is offered as a left-handed watch; this isn’t something you often see advertised. Certainly a plus if it applies to you.
As for it’s appearance, it looks good. Not great, not even really unique, but good. A black watch face is decorated only with the 12, 3, 6 and 9 hour numbers, with lines for the other hour-marks. The hands are cool, straight white-and-gray with pointed tips, but these aren’t remarkable either.
As a utility, however, the Luminor Base does gain a foothold over other plain luxury watches. The power reserve of 56 hours exceeds most of what I tend to see, and special anti-shock devices protect against jarring. The 3.5mm-thick crystal is anti-reflective ( as most are ), but most impressive is the water resistance of 300 meters. For a luxury product not specifically designed towards divers, this is a bit more than you usually see, and it’s a welcome addition that the watch can handle submersion short of serious deep diving.
However, after all that, the Luminor Base has a list price of $6,200 – although of course this is the highest and will likely be lower from some retailers. Still, from what I’ve seen of the watch selection so far, this seems a bit steep. I expect the price has something to do with good workmanship, and the 300-meter water resistance that impressed me, because I wouldn’t attribute it to its composition. All steel and leather, there doesn’t seem to be anything remotely flashy to warrant the price tag. And while I’m certain that the watch is a very reliable, sturdy instrument, even its utilities seem to be lacking. With no chronograph, or even date, it simply doesn’t compete with others, unless you’re looking specifically for a simple, serviceable time-telling instrument.
I urge prospective buyers to study this product carefully. Fortunately, this is made easy by Panerai’s site, and a full list of specifications can fill in any gaps this review may have missed. I imagine some customers would be very happy with the Luminor Base, but I also suspect that these are a narrow audience. To those who want a serviceable, sturdy instrument that can handle some shocks and underwater activity, with no flash or extraneous functions… I present your dream watch. For the rest of you… take a look! But take looks elsewhere as well.