Panerai Luminor Base 8 Days Acciaio Pam 561 White Dial 44mm Pam00561 Manual Wind


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From a strictly military perspective, wearing a white dial dive watch on a mission would possibly cause your fellow commando soldiers to smack you in the back of the head. But what the Panerai Luminor Base 8 Days Acciaio PAM561 lacks in historical accuracy and stealth capabilities it makes up for by being one of the more affordable, in-house-movement-equipped and refreshing-looking alternatives in a sea of boring black and blue dial watches.

Panerai may be a brand of only a handful of – admittedly very similar – collections, yet it still is one among few that have an almost unearthly power in bringing their first-time customer back for another model… and then another, and another, and so on. As such, I don’t think that the Panerai Luminor Base 8 Days Acciaio PAM561 is a typical “first Panerai” 

I picked the PAM561 specifically because I wanted to review a Panerai that isn’t an obvious choice but something one might actually end up considering after looking at the current production line-up of the brand. Clad in a 44mm-wide Luminor case, it is a simple, legible, and among Panerai watches, competitively priced offering that also packs a more unusual hand-wound, in-house-made movement with an 8-day power reserve. 
Being the simple watch that it is, there isn’t much pizzazz to get distracted by. But that just means that the fewer number of consequently more prominent elements have to work together all the better – and, with one notable gripe notwithstanding, they do.

To this day, I remain positively baffled by how ingenious this Luminor case design is, especially in 44mm where proportions with the dial elements I find more spot on than the 47mm. The larger case is proportionate but often too large to work well with the dial, in my opinion.

The perfectly round bezel looks both elegant and masculine, while the cushion-shaped case with its tall profile (unlike the sloped 1950 variant) and straight lugs operates in brilliant harmony with it. The PAM561 has a fully polished case which is not as impressive as exteriors with alternating finishings can be: it really is a polished mass of steel without any sharp angles, complex corners and edges, or particularly fascinating details anywhere. It is your bog-standard Luminor case that is attractive as a whole and at a glance, but not for its selfishly complicated intricacies.

Of the two minor details I would still point out that go beyond mere proportions, first is how the four corners of the middle case are curved downwards, which takes the edges of the corners away and makes them better complement the round dial and bezel. The second is the profile of the crown guard – not something many would look at. Its bottom side is completely flat to keep it as high above the wrist as possible (though at times, it does dig into the skin), while its top part is angled upwards, towards the wearer. This, you don’t necessarily realize even when looking at the watch at a slight angle, but it does add more sophistication to this over-60-year-old military design.

Speaking of this component, oddly enough, Panerai decided to add a fully satin-finished crown guard on the completely polished case. This isn’t something that would stand out immediately at first look, but once spotted wasn’t something that I could quite get used to over the few weeks with the Panerai Luminor Base 8 Days Acciaio PAM561. This aesthetic element is sort of like an exaggerated take on alternating finishing. I will say that, from afar, I found it possibly adds a more quality look than what the PAM561 would have had with a polished crown guard to go with the reflective case. It isn’t a maker or breaker of the aesthetics but rather something that I think is a bit odd at first, but ultimately, justified.

Typical Panerai treats include the reassuringly snappy crown guard lever – that I liked to fiddle with whenever I had a brief moment to spare in a queue or on public transport. It is something I find myself reaching for and disappointedly not finding after strapping on other watches. Also appreciated was the 24mm lug width that opens up a virtually infinite supply of strap options.

Panerai will sell you calf and buffalo leather straps from CHF 220 going up to CHF 360 for alligator ones. But frankly, at this point, there is such a vast selection of aftermarket straps that you’d be highly encouraged to shop around there (and support those guys, as well).

The black “Calf Monte Carlo” leather strap that the Panerai Luminor Base 8 Days Acciaio PAM561 is supplied with is of decent quality, but nothing notable that would really add or take away from its overall appearance and impression. If anything, this black-on-black option I think is a bit safe and boring, especially as this white dial version is all about more vivid colors and pushing regular, safe aesthetics to the side a bit. Apart from looks, wearability is as great as it always is with a Panerai, as the watch is held firm and secure thanks to the ample width, thickness, and rigidity of the strap and its massive, Panerai-marked pin buckle.

The dial is more unusual not just in its color but also in its markings, with Arabic numerals all around (unlike your more typical Panerai dials that only have numerals for 12, 3, 6, and 9 with baton markers everywhere else) plus an additional and, again, rarer 60-minute track on the periphery. The numerals are not lumed, only the hands and the pips on the periphery of the dial are. All of these are painted on the dial’s surface as the Panerai Luminor Base 8 Days Acciaio PAM561 has a solid dial rather than the famed Panerai sandwich dial. 

Sandwich dials are fun and all, but your first Panerai more than likely had that already, and the PAM561 is more like your second or third in the line, as I mentioned above, where you do want something new in the subtleties that render one Panerai different from another. The prominent “8 DAYS” marking above six o’clock refers to the P.5000 in-house caliber.

The black numerals and the black painted hands with their off-white (but not faux vintage!) center contrast beautifully against the sharp white dial – the lume pips and the center of the hands turn noticeably green even when it’s bright outside, the famously excellent Panerai lume is so strong. Stay inside for longer, though, and as the lume discharges (and doesn’t receive much charge from ambient lights), these elements go back to being white.

With that, onto the movement we go: dubbed the P.5000, it is one of Panerai’s tirelessly expanding range of in-house movements and pretty much the most affordable among them. It contains two series-coupled mainspring barrels that together supply 8 days worth of power reserve, though you do only get a 3 Hertz operating frequency. I presume to some extent that is in line with some movements Panerai used ages ago, but in truth, here it really is about extending that power reserve as much as possible. Bumping the frequency up from 21,600 to 28,800 beats per hour would have meant a few days less between the necessity of hand-winding the movement.

As far as history goes, in its earliest days Panerai had already used 8-day power reserve watches powered by Angelus movements. This was to meet military requirements in an effort to make the watches more dependable over a longer period of time and also, reportedly, to not necessitate constant adjustment of the time and rewinding of the movement, saving the crown gaskets from premature wear. Speaking of which, I timed it for you guys out of curiosity: it takes about one minute and 45 seconds to fully wind a stopped movement.

The movement itself is in line with Panerai manufacture caliber aesthetics: it’s rugged first, interesting second, and beautiful third. It’s one of the most rugged-looking calibers out there, with only one massive plate covering the gear train and the two barrels, and one bridge that holds the balance wheel secure. Revealed is a massive – and I do mean huge – third wheel that is secured by a skeletonized bridge. Deep underneath it, close to the barrel, is the center wheel while closer to the balance wheel, and again deep in the bowels of the movement, is the fourth wheel and the escapement.

The balance wheel itself is of a free-sprung construction, meaning its accuracy is adjusted via the more old-school and clearly more elegant way of variable moment of inertia screws in the periphery of the balance wheel. Panerai explains that the bridge supporting the balance is fixed by two screws beneath which are threaded rings that turn in both directions. The purpose of this is to adjust the “end-shake” of the balance staff pivots. This technical solution helps the escapement to continue running more smoothly in the event of shocks.

All the finishing appears to be machine-produced, but the edges of the plates and the countersinks are nicely beveled and polished still – adding a bit of flair to an otherwise very technical looking movement. Texts are in blue and are very tastefully done in relatively small, discreet letters – and yet this still contrasts nicely against the subtle, horizontal brushed finishing of the plates.

Overall, the P.5000 is a developed taste in the sense that it doesn’t at all want to be the prettiest, most shockingly good-looking movement out there – but, on a personal note, part of me is happy about that and I appreciate that Panerai appears to have thought this through and went with something that complements their military styling and heritage more. The P.5000 also contains an impressively low number of components at just 127 in total. A power reserve indicator arguably would have been a nice element but would definitely have driven up the price and added more complexity. So, in this instance and paired with the 192-hour power reserve, I didn’t miss it that much.

Overall, the Panerai Luminor Base 8 Days Acciaio PAM561 is a fun, if not exciting watch in the Panerai Luminor stable and one I wouldn’t mind wearing for an even more extended period of time. This noted, I don’t think it has everything going for it to be a keeper, more like a refreshing addition that you wear and then sell to move onto the next Panerai that tickles your fancy – because that’s often how it works, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

BRAND: Panerai

MODEL: Luminor Base 8 Days Acciaio Pam00561 

MOVEMENT: Swiss Manual Wind Caliber P.5000 – 8 Days Power Reserve

CASE: Stainless Steel

CROWN: Push/Pull Crown with Crown Guard

SIZE: 44mm

LUGS: 24mm

DIAL: White Dial

BEZEL: Non rotating

CONDITION: Pre owned – As-New!

BOXES/PAPERS: Complete Triple Box Set with everything you see in the pictures.- including 2 aditional straps!


STRAP/BRACELET: – 4  – Original Panerai Black Calf leather strap with correct Panerai Tang buckle & additional Panerai Black Rubber Strap & aditional Panerai Blue Alligator strap & additional Brown rubberized alligator strap with raised white stitching.


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