Turning the watch around, I started to look for a power-reserve indicator, but did not find one. I guess you just have to keep track of the days so as not to run out of energy. However, to be honest, I have the habit of winding a watch every day before putting it on my wrist, so I am sure that the watch is wound properly when I’m wearing it. Even if you don’t do this every day (or every other day), you won’t have any worries with this Panerai, as its two barrels will ensure the full eight days of power. Regarding the movement, the Panerai P.5000 caliber has a very clean appearance and finish. It matches the overall appeal of the Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days. A richly engraved movement with lots of gears and wheels to “observe” wouldn’t fit the military look of the watch. In the end, this is still a watch inspired by the original Panerai used by the Italian Navy for military operations. Perhaps it shouldn’t even have a transparent caseback, but since the men who wear one are probably interested in mechanics and technology, it is cool to at least be able to enjoy the mechanical, hand-wound P.5000 movement when turning the watch over.
This large pocket watch sized movement has 127 components, with — as mentioned — two barrels to store the lengthy power reserve, and it ticks at a frequency of 21,600 vph. The Panerai 510 comes on a thick leather strap with a large, beautiful, polished buckle, also known as the “Pre-Vendome” buckle. This aspect may need some explanation for the non-Paneristi out there reading this review. In the period between 1993 and 1997, before Panerai was owned by the Vendôme Group (which since 1998 is itself 100% owned by the Richemont Group), Panerai watches were delivered with this large buckle, similar to the one in our photos. After 1997, there was a long period in which Panerai watches had a more “modest” buckle on its straps. Personally, I love the so-called Pre-Vendome buckle, and I think it really suits the watch and the strap.
The strap and buckle are kept in place by screws rather than spring bars. With the small screwdriver that comes with each Panerai watch, you are perfectly able to change the straps yourself. If you want to make sure not to damage either the case or buckle when changing it, make sure to use a bit of Scotch tape to protect the case around the hole. This way, if you lose control over the screwdriver and accidentally hit a part of the case, the tape will be there to protect it from getting scratched. A polished surface, like the side of the case or a lug, will show scratches in a pretty obvious way.
The patented system for the crown lock is a fairly simple yet refined one. To wind or set the watch, just release the lock by using your fingernail to flip it open. Since there is no date or other complication on this watch, it is very easy to operate. Although the thick, vintage-looking strap on this watch might look very uncomfortable, it is actually one of the nicest watch straps I have worn in a long time. The softness of the strap is unbelievable and doesn’t feel at all thick or inflexible. You will either learn to love the cracked leather look of the strap or you will always be bothered by it. If it’s not your thing, you can easily order an extra strap of your choice using the strap selector on the official Panerai website (here). If you want a more classy look for this Panerai, go for one of the alligator straps,and if you want a more low-profile look you might want to check out the calfskin straps. In case you want to use this watch in or near the water (it is a divers’ watch, after all, with a water resistance of 300 meters), I’d suggest using a textile or rubber strap. (Yes, even though alligators live in the water, alligator leather straps don’t belong there.)
In conclusion, I loved wearing this Panerai Luminor Marina 8 Days. Even though I will always like the Panerai Luminor Base (the model without a seconds hand) a little better, because it is more “clean”-looking, a seconds hand moving around on the dial does makes this watch seem more alive. I am a fairly tall guy, so this watch really suits me quite well with its thick, 44-mm case. And since I am also a fairly technical-oriented fellow, I love the fact that it is has an eight-days power reserve and even that you need to wind it by hand.