Panerai’s New Navy SEALs Watches Celebrate One of the World’s Most Elite Fighting Forces

For the first time, they’re available outside the U.S.

September 13, 2023 7:19 am
Luminor Marina Navy SEALS ref. PAM01412
The Luminor Marina Navy SEALS ref. PAM01412, one of the newest watches from Panerai's collaboration with the Navy SEALS

Expanding upon a partnership established in 2022, Panerai is releasing a new collection of watches with the Navy SEALs — including an Experience Edition that incorporates a simulated special operations-esque mission. 

Established in the 19th century in Florence, Panerai produced timepieces and equipment for the Italian navy’s elite Decima Flottiglia MAS frogmen during the Second World War. Following the end of hostilities in 1945, the company continued making specialized watches for the Italian navy, with its designs and patents shrouded in secrecy. 

Upon its purchase and incorporation into what would become the Richemont Group in the 1990s, Panerai began making contemporary versions of its military dive watches for the civilian market, eventually capturing the attention of stars such as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Today, its diving watches are horological icons, beloved the world over for their unique designs, compelling aesthetics, and lively backstory.

The partnership with America’s elite naval fighting force is thus a fitting one. “SEAL,” an acronym for “Sea, Air, Land,” describes the varied terrain upon which the force must execute its missions, but it’s the unit’s aquatic expertise that differentiates the unit from other special organizations within the American order of battle, such as Special Forces and Rangers. Indeed BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL), the unit’s rigorous training and selection course, incorporates combat swimming, diving, boating, and more and has an attrition rate above 70%. Only the best finish the course and become SEALs.

The new watches incorporate five separate references and are tied together with a cohesive color scheme as well as the words “NAVY SEALS” printed on each dial. Distributed within the Luminor and Submersible collections, they span a price range from $9,800 to $61,700 for the Experience watch; by no means entry-level fare, these are serious timepieces with serious price tags, to boot, and each is a boutique-only exclusive that includes a travel pouch and a second strap. If they fall within your budget, however, they present a compelling collection of tool watches for the larger-wristed adventurer. 

Luminor Marina Navy SEALS Watch
Luminor Marina Navy SEALS

Luminor Marina Navy SEALS ref. PAM01412 ($9,800)

Incorporating the Luminor collection’s famed crown protection device, the reference PAM01412 differentiates from others in the Luminor line with its Brunito steel case — incorporating a PVD (physical vapor deposition) coating, each example is hand finished for a completely unique look. Measuring 44mm in diameter, it features a matching brushed bezel, a corundum sapphire crystal, and a handsome anthracite “sandwich” dial with luminous Arabic indices, a sword handset with an orange-accented seconds hand, a date wheel at 3 o’clock, and a small seconds totalizer at 9 o’clock. Powered by Panerai’s automatic Calibre P.9010 movement with dual barrels and a 3-day power reserve, it comes paired to a black rubber strap with a Brunito steel buckle and has 300m of water resistance. 

This is the most “classic” offering of the new sub-collection, with familiar Luminor looks and a silhouette that any Paneristi would immediately recognize. The Brunito finishing sets it apart from other, more run-of-the-mill Luminors, however. 

Black Luminor Navy SEALs Chrono Watch
Luminor Navy SEALs Chrono

Luminor Navy SEALs Chrono PAM01409 ($11,000)

Also within the Luminor collection is a compelling chronograph featuring the same Brunito case treatment as the time-and-date model. Measuring 44mm in diameter, it likewise incorporates the Luminor crown protection device and smooth bezel, but adds dual, mushroom-shaped chronograph pushers on the left case flank. The automatic Panerai Calibre P.9200 movement powers a dual-register chronograph within the shaded black dial, which features a target-inspired small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute totalizer at 3 o’clock. Equipped with a luminous “sandwich” dial with green Arabic and slash indices, it incorporates a white tachymeter scale along the rehaut for speed and distance computations. Paired to a black rubber dive strap, the ref. PAM01409 is water resistant to 100m as is a limited edition of 562 pieces. 

This is a handsome chronograph, and it looks like something from an instrument panel in a fighter jet. The minutes totalizer, however, would have more utility if inscribed with legible Arabic indices, while the small seconds subdial could use some more hash marks. 

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Luminor Chrono CarboTech Navy SEALs Watch
Luminor Chrono CarboTech Navy SEALs

Luminor Chrono CarboTech Navy SEALs ref. PAM01419 ($17,900)

While the dial and guts of the ref. PAM01419 are the same as those of the PAM01409 above, the case material is very different: The PAM01419 is made from Panerai’s proprietary CarboTech material, a substance in which thin sheets of carbon fiber and compressed at high pressure and combined with PEEK (polyether ether ketone), a thermoplastic polymer that acts as a binding agent. The result is a jet-black, highly durable, high-performance material with a sleekness and stealthiness appropriate for a unit used to operating in the dead of night. Paired to a black rubber dive strap with a DLC-coated titanium pin buckle, it’s water-resistant to 100m and is limited to 462 pieces. 

Submersible BiTempo Navy SEALS  ref. PAM0312 ($10,600)

The Submersible collection is where Panerai keeps its hard-wearing dive watches. Shaped like a Luminor, the ref. PAM0312 boasts seaworthy functionality that make it an ideal SCUBA companion — plus a handy GMT function. Housed in a 44mm, brushed stainless steel case with a crown protection device and a sapphire crystal, it, unlike its brethren in the Luminor collection, boasts a unidirectional dive bezel with luminous pips. Within this is a graduated, black grain dial that fades from dark to light as one nears the center. Rather than using “sandwich” construction, it features applied, luminous indices, a target-inspired small seconds indicator at 9 o’clock, a date wheel at 3 o’clock, and a luminous sword handset with an orange- and white-tipped GMT hand. Highly legible, it’s paired to a black rubber diving strap and powered by the Panerai Calibre P.900 automatic GMT movement with a 3-day power reserve. (Notaly, its second included strap is a bi-material model with black and grey camouflage inspired by the SEALs’ uniforms.) And unlike certain dressier models in Panerai’s catalog that merely take inspiration from vintage military dive watches, this is a heavy-duty diver with 300m of water resistance.

Once again, this is a great looking, genuinely utilitarian diver-GMT — of which there aren’t that many on the market. However, the lack of a 24-hour scale on the dial makes at-a-glance reading of a second time zone tricker than it needs to be. Throw some numerals on there, Panerai!

Submersible Chrono Navy SEALS Watch
Submersible Chrono Navy SEALS

Experience Edition: Submersible Chrono Navy SEALS ref. PAM01402 ($61,700)

The pièce de résistance among the five new releases is the PAM01402, a striking watch with an unusual feature set. Executed in Brunito steel and measuring 47mm in diameter, it features a unidirectional titanium and ceramic count-up (dive) bezel with luminous pips, a sapphire crystal, a crown protection device, and several chronograph pushers at 4, 8, and 10 o’clock. The shaded anthracite dial features luminous, applied green indices, a target-inspired small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, and a 12-hour totalizer at 3 o’clock. Far from being a standard chronograph, however, the PAM01402 features flyback functionality — plus a special Time to Target function, complete with an orange-tipped hand, that counts down to a defined event using the pusher at 4 o’clock. Powered by the Panerai Calibre P.9100/R automatic movement with a three-day power reserve, it boasts 300m of water resistance, ships on a Military Green rubber strap with a Brunito steel buckle, and is limited to 50 pieces.

Purchasing the PAM01402 doesn’t just get you a watch, however — you’ll also be invited to a special experience in which participants “will be put through a series of tactical exercises, all designed to challenge participants physically and mentally, encouraging them to push themselves to their limits and beyond.” Designed to give each buyer insight into the life and mentality of Navy SEALs, the experience also comes with a special NFT containing the watch’s warranty, technical information, and unique artwork created by Panerai Studio.

While it results in a busy dial, the combination of a flyback chronograph with the special “time to target” function makes for a unique complication and watch that we haven’t seen before. Encountering a new complication or layout is rare these days, so kudos to Panerai for its development. (Even if Navy SEALs are significantly more likely to use G-SHOCKs in the field than luxury mechanical watches!)

Our Thoughts

Spanning two distinct collections that are nevertheless tied together through common design language — including case shape and the use of the brand’s signature crown protection device — the new Navy SEALs collection includes some genuinely compelling watches. Timepieces introduced as part of partnerships such as this one are often distinctly hit or miss, and we would argue that these fall into the former camp. The biggest drawbacks, to our mind, are the lack of indices in the subdials and on the GMT dial — which translates to a lack of timing precision — and the words “Navy SEALS” on the dials. There’s something about wearing a watch that loudly advertises a top-tier fighting force when one was never in said unit that screams distinctly of “stolen valor.” We’d rather see it on the caseback — where, to be fair, these watches are indeed signed — and that’s it. (Unless you’re one of a rare handful of actual Navy SEALs wearing these watches — in that case, the more power to you!)

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