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I am considering a Panerai, but new to them. I have a Rolex and Cartier. The Panerai's are very confusing to me. So many different model numbers, et to me, they all look so similar. How do I choose, what should I be considering? Is there something I should know about the different models? I like the Pam 048, 176, 177 and probably many more.....

Need some advice from you PAM WIS's
 

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Welcome to the Madness! The best advise I can give you is read, read, read. This forum is a great resource, as are other forums for Panerai. A google search will find the other forums.

Now on the the models you like. Those models all have 1 thing in common, they are all Luminor case models. The 176 and 177 are Titanium cases as well. the 048 is SS. As you read you will see there are different dials depending on the model. Some have "stuffed" dials which are painted on numbers and hash marks. Other dials are "sandwich" dials, where the dial is actually made up of 2 dials sandwiched together. The lower portion is the Lum and the upper portion has the numbers and hash marks cut out of the dial to show the Lum below. Both dials are great.

The more you are on Panerai's site looking at the models the more it will make sense. The different models are base models with no complications, other models have a small second hand, others a date, some have a GMT function, some are a Chrono, some are Luminor cases, some are 1950's cases, some are Radomir cases, some are Auto movements, some are manual movements, etc... You'll get the idea.

After you have narrowed down your choices to case design, second or no second hand, date or no date, auto or manual, it will all start to fall into place for you. See what I mean about read, read, read. Panerai give us so many options to find each person's perfect Panerai. Good luck in your search and have fun! It is addicting, you will see.
 

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Good points above....
in addition, choose your price range. No point in looking at watches that are out of your price range.
Three basic styles...Luminor, Radiomir, Submersible. See what you like and startbtrying on pieces.
just so you know...the 000 is the least expensive luminor, the 380 is the least expensive Radiomir (least expensive of all Panerai), and the 024 is the least expensive Submersible.
 

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For me it came down to these points.
Luminor case or 1950 case (1950 is quite a bit chunkier)
Ti or Steel case ( some like matte and light weight of Ti)
Automatic or hand wound (hand wound is more nostalgic)
Painted dial or Sandwich dial (I find sandwich dial adds more depth to the face)
Clean face or minutes and date
Size: make sure to try on whatever model your looking at as PAMS wear like nothing else
and of course price

Enjoy the hunt!
 

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General notes on size and case style
Luminor case comes in 40 and 44 mm,this is the more common style of Panerai,AFAIK all the 40 mm models are automatic
Luminor 1950 comes in 42,44 and 47 mm (and some even larger for the tourbillion models) even though 372 is regarded as 1950 case,this case looks different than the regular luminor 1950(ala 127),it is only available in 47 mm and wears differently
Radiomir case comes in 42,45 and 47 mm,the 42 mm models are usually have 'unique' movements (some powered by P999,others are powered by JLC based movt)
Luminor submersible typically comes in 44 and 47 mm,this model have chunkier unidirectional bezel
There is also luminor sealand that is based on the standard 44 mm luminor case,usually comes in very limited quantity and the watch face is being covered with some cap,when worn this watch looks more like a giant bracelet
 

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IMO, there are two ways to go about making this decision:

1. List all the features you're after in a Panerai, then find the watch that ticks the most boxes on that list.

2. Decide on a price that you want to pay and find the watch that speaks to you the most at or under that price.

A lot of the models are similar, but when you start to take a close look there are some important differences. The question becomes which differences are important to you and how much do you want to spend.
 
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