The perfectly curved bezel looks both elegant and masculine, although the cushion-shaped situation with its tall profile (unlike the sloped 1950 version) and directly lugs works in brilliant harmony with it. The PAM561 includes a fully polished case that’s not quite as impressive as exteriors with alternating finishings can be: it really is a polished mass of steel without any sharp angles, complicated corners and borders, or particularly fascinating details everywhere. It is that your bog-standard Luminor case that is attractive as a complete and in a glance, but not for its selfishly complicated intricacies.Of both minor details I would still point out which go beyond mere proportions, first is how the four corners of the midst instance are curved downwards, which carries the edges of the corners away and leaves them better match the curved dial and bezel. The second is that the profile of this crown shield – not something many would look at. Its bottom side is completely level to keep it as high above the wrist as you can (though occasionally, it does dig into the skin), while its upper part is angled upwards, towards the wearer. This, you do not necessarily realize even when looking at the watch at a small angle, but it does add more elegance to this over-60-year-old army design.Speaking of the part, oddly enough, Panerai chose to bring a fully satin-finished crown guard on the completely glossy case. This is not something which would stand out immediately at first appearance, but after spotted wasn’t something that I could really get used to within the few weeks with all the Panerai Luminor Base 8 Days Acciaio PAM561. This decorative element is sort of similar to an exaggerated spin on alternating finishing. I’ll state that, from afar, I discovered it possibly adds a higher quality appearance than that which the PAM561 would have experienced using a polished crown shield to go with the reflective instance. It is not a manufacturer or breaker of this aesthetics but rather something I think is somewhat strange at first, but finally, justified.
James Purdey & Sons is a British maker of handmade sporting guns that cost as much as a nice car; US$100,000 gets you a pretty basic rifle. A corporate sibling of Panerai in Swiss luxury conglomerate Richemont, Purdey has teamed up with the watchmaker several times on the Luminor Sealand watches, distinguished by hinged lids covered with gun engraving.
The latest is the Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio, a series of watches depicting the “Big Five” game animals of African hunting: lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros.
While not the only engraved timepieces Panerai offers – the range includes the Sealand engraved by Italian craftsmen and Radiomir Special Editions – the Purdey watches are especially finely finished.
Each watch is decorated by Purdey’s artisans in the same manner as its guns, with each watch taking a week to finish. The decoration starts with a temporary outline done in chalk, which is then traced with a burin, a sharp-tipped engraving tool.
Shading and depth is added by engraving fine parallel lines, while the rim of the lid is finished with a gold inlay in a motif inspired by African art.
The five share the same stainless steel Luminor 1950 case with the in-house P.9000 hand-wound movement inside.
Price and availability
Limited to 80 watches in total for the “Big Five”, each costs £20,500 taxes included, equivalent to US$25,500. They will be available starting November 17 at Purdey in London’s Mayfair or online.
The model references are as follows:
PAM00853 – African lion
PAM00854 – Leopard
PAM00855 – Cape buffalo
PAM00856 – African elephant
PAM00857 – Rhinoceros