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Panzera Aquamarine 45 Review - Bold Australian Style

Its always interesting to compare the style of a watch to its country of origin. Swiss watches are often restrained and use classic designs. Japanese watches can have modern and funky styling elements mixed in. So how does Australian culture influence its watches? Let's find out!

 

Panzera Watches was established in 2009 and, as you've probably guessed, is headquartered in Australia. They place Japanese and Swiss movements inside cases and parts that are manufactured in Germany. The straps are Italian and Spanish. Most importantly, the design occurs in Sydney. Final assembly, and five days of testing for each watch is also performed in Australia (or Switzerland for the Swiss Made Flight Master).

 

They describe their styles as "modern vintage," and their watches fall into the Air, Land and Sea categories. In other words, they are built with the classic pilot, navy or racing aesthetics you'd expect, but with bold and modern elements added.


The Aquamarine 45 Atlantic Blue Fathom

With 200m of water resistance, the Aquamarine 45 falls under the Sea category. It doesn't have a rotating bezel, but the cushion-shaped case and beefy lugs give it a resemblance to a Panerai Radiomir, which is considered a dive watch. Panzera says that it is "built for the action and lifestyle found along the rugged Australian coastline." Australia's surf culture is definitely evident in its bold and unique styling.

 

First Impressions
As you may have guessed by the name, the Aquamarine 45 has a 45mm case width. When I opened the box and strapped it on, I was sure that that it was 47-48mm. A quick check with come calipers determined that 45 is in fact, the correct number.


The Aquamarine comes in a nice black box that is the length of the strap.

My 45.5mm Omega Planet Ocean Chronograph is actually wider and thicker, but the Aquamarine 45 has a much bigger wrist presence due to the squared edges of the case (it is just over 50mm when measured diagonally). Because the lugs are not integrated, the lug to lug width is also bigger than the Omega at 55mm by my measurement.


It's visually bigger than the actual size of 45mm.

The result is a watch that looks bigger than the numbers indicate. Perfect for someone who doesn't have a massive wrist, but wants something that looks substantial.

 

Case
The Aquamarine 45 is available in a number of case finishes. Mine is the Atlantic Blue Fathom, which features a fully-polished stainless steel case. The polish definitely adds to the attention-grabbing character, and enhances the way light plays with the case and dial (more on that later).


A fully-polished case is one of multiple available finishes.

As is typical for a cushion case, the watch is nearly a square, but the sides are slightly curved. The edges and corners appear sharp at first, but are also slightly rounded off.


The cushion case is nearly square.

The bold, sloped bezel appears to be a separate piece that is pressed on.


The thick, sloped bezel adds thickness.

The chunky lugs are flat on the sides, and curve downward on the tops (lug width is 24mm). The bottom of the lugs extend below the bottom of the case, which helps the big watch sit flush on the wrist.


The lugs curve down to help the watch sit on the wrist better.

Thickness is a manageable 14mm - again, it looks much thicker than the numbers indicate due to the flat sides and deeply-recessed dial.


Flat sides and a thick bezel make the watch look thicker than 14mm.

The case-back is solid. It is polished around the edges, with a matte finish in the center. Panzera text surrounds their logo, and the critical specs encircle the perimeter. The solid case-back is likely thinner than an exhibition back would have been, so I think it was the right choice to help the watch sit flush on the wrist.


Solid case-back with Panzera logo.

 

Crown
The screw-down crown is roughly 4mm thick, and a beefy 10mm in diameter. I'm sure this was done to continue the bold look, but it also makes winding and setting the watch a breeze!


The big crown makes winding quick and easy, and adds to the big look of the watch.

The crown features a polished face with Panzera logo and text matching the case-back. The sides are ridged for better grip, and also feature a circumferential groove.


The crown is split by a circumferential groove.

 

Dial
A matte black dial is available, but I prefer the midnight blue sunburst dial for the way it plays with light.


Who doesn't love a blue sunburst dial?

It appears to be a metallic sunburst in most conditions, but actually has a light matte texture that can be detected when very bright reflections are present.


The dial takes on a matte finish in bright direct light.

The dial features thin stick hour markers that extend deep into the dial at most hours. They also have very thin polished metal surrounds. The result is that you don't notice the metal with the naked eye in most conditions, but they catch sunlight delightfully. White painted minute markers are also distributed between the hours.


The hour markers have very thin metal surrounds. Often you won't notice them, but they catch light nicely.

The hour markers are raised, and other decorations are painted.

Interestingly, a pilot-style triangle with two dots is placed at twelve.


The red twelve and arrow next to the date add color. Interestingly, a pilot-style triangle with two dots sits at the top of the dial.

There are also arabic numerals at twelve and 6 with a modern-looking font. The red twelve and arrow next to the date window add a splash of color.

 

The dial features minimal text, with "PANZERA" at twelve, and "AUTOMATIC" at six. This minimal and symmetric text is the way to go.


I like that minimal text is used.

The water resistance spec is hidden at the bottom of the dial where you would typically find the country of origin. It's a fun and clean way to hide this information without cluttering up the dial.


The water resistance rating is hidden at the bottom of the dial. A unique touch!

When a large watch like the Aquamarine 45 uses a standard movement, the application of the date can become a concern, as it tends to float in the middle of the dial. Panzera added the red triangle mentioned above next to the three marker, and also expanded the date window to show three dates. They also included a day display (with English and Spanish options) to fill the space to the left. All of the days have white text.


The date window shows three dates, plus day. Panzera did a good job of integrating the date from a smaller movement into a big dial.

Including no date would have been the cleaner option, but I prefer to have the date on my watch. I also like that they used a black rather than white background to help in blend in. Blue would have been a nice touch, but I assume it would have increased cost significantly to have custom day and date wheels developed.


I'd be interested to see a no date version.

The main hour markers are painted with lume that is pure white in the light, and whitish green in the dark. The lume is quite good, as Panzera uses Superluminova.


The greenish white lume is bight, and the design of the hands and markers makes it very legible.

Even the seconds hand is lumed.

 

Hands
The hour and minute hands are sword-shaped and skeletonized. The main surfaces are painted white with the same color lume as the hour markers. The centers are matte black which helps them blend into the dark blue dial (even more so on the black dial version).


The hands are painted black at the center to help make the white skeletonized ends stand out and improve legibility.

The second hand is a stick hand with a black center and counter-balance. The main surface is also lumed, but the tip is painted red.


I'm starting to love skeletonized hands.

I'd love to see the minute and second hand extend to the edge of the dial, but legibility is still excellent during day and night. These types of hands are some of the best for legibility in my opinion.


I'd prefer slightly longer second and minute hands, but most people would not notice.

 

Crystal
The crystal is a flat sapphire with double anti-reflective coating. The coating can take on a blue tint in some lighting conditions (matching the dial).


The flat sapphire crystal has dual AR coating.

Normally I love domed crystals, but for a watch that is already thick, the flat crystal helps the profile on the wrist. It is also completely free of distortion at any angle, further improving the legibility.


The edge of the crystal is beveled, and raised ever so slightly above the bezel. There is no visible distortion at any angle.

 

Strap
Panzera offers countless strap options for the Aquamarine 45 including many colors of silicone, leather, nylon and a stainless steel mesh bracelet.

The Atlantic Blue Fathom version comes on a 3 - 6mm thick blue silicone strap with white stitching. The blue color gives the watch a fun vibe, and makes it the perfect vacation/beach watch.


The models with the Fathom designation come with blue silicone straps and silver stitching.

The strap has two silicone keepers, and a polished buckle engraved with Panzera text. The underside is also recessed to help keep your wrist cool.


The signed, 22mm buckle and twin silicone keepers.

Normally silicone is not my first choice, but this one seems to be of higher quality than most. It's quite comfortable, and helps hold the 102/130g (without and with strap) watch securely on the wrist. The stitching and extra thickness added to the center section give it a higher end look.


The strap is molded with a thicker center, which makes the strap look more expensive.

 

Movement
Panzera fits the Aquamarine 45 with a Miyota 820A movement. It features hacking and hand-winding, 21 jewels, and the day and date functions mentioned earlier.

It beats at 21,600bph (6 beats per second). It is a workhorse movement, but is completely appropriate for this price point (plus you get to enjoy that Miyota wobble from time to time).

 

Conclusion
As mentioned, the Aquamarine 45 has some Radiomir design cues in the case shape. I like that Panzera applied a very unique dial and hand design (plus the crown). This ensures that no one will mistake the watch for an homage, and the watch has clear design language that indicates it is part of the Panzera collection.

The fully-polished case, and flashy dial give it a strong wrist presence, and the legibility is excellent.


The Aquamarine offers great value.

The Atlantic Blue Fathom version lists for $535, but is currently marked down to $294. The full price is appropriate for the level of watch you are getting, which makes the watch at the marked down price a lot of huge bang for the buck.

My personal preference would be an Aquamarine 43 (about 2mm smaller), but considering its size and weight, the 45 is quite wearable and has a bold wrist presence. If you like bigger watches, it's a great value, and I recommend checking one out.

 

Alternatives
Panzera also has a new model called the Time Master 42 coming soon. The size is (you guessed it) 42mm. If you like Panzera's design language, it looks like it will be a great option (plus I love racing watches)!


The Panzera Time Master 42

 

Your Thoughts?


What are your thoughts?

Are you a large watch lover? What do you think of the Aquamarine 45? Let us know in the comments!


Love that lume!

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