Hands-On: Panerai Special Edition Set Luminor Black Seal and Daylight PAM 785

A two-piece special edition box set, the Panerai Luminor Black Seal And Luminor Daylight PAM00785 are convincing remakes of the desirable Pre-Vendome Slytech watches of 1996. But behind the vintage facade the mechanics are new, with the calibre P.5000 inside both timepieces.

Just unveiled at Watches&Wonders, the Panerai Special Edition Set PAM785 comprises two watches, a Luminor Black Seal and Luminor Daylight, inside a large presentation box. Both are remakes of the Pre-Vendome Luminor watches made for Sylvester Stallone, but equipped with the P.5000 in-house movement with eight days power reserve.

The origins of these watches lie in the nineties when Panerai was a niche brand making what were then ridiculously oversized timepieces in 44 mm cases. One of its fans was Sylvester Stallone, who commissioned several “Slytech” editions, including one he wore in the tunnel disaster film Daylight.

The Slytech watches, along with the other Panerai watches made before 1997, are known as Pre-Vendome in Paneristi parlance. That year marked the turning point for the company, as it was when the Vendome Luxury Group, which eventually became Richemont, acquired Panerai, moved it to Switzerland, and turned it into a global luxury brand.

While Panerai reproduces watches from its history every year, this is the first time it has recreated timepieces from its recent past. One half of the set is the Luminor Black Seal, modelled on the Slytech Black Seal 5218-218/A. The original Black Seal is one of the rarest Panerai watches ever made – only five were produced before Richemont bought Panerai.

The modern Black Seal is visually very similar to the original. It has a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated steel case, with Super-Luminova coloured to look like aged tritium to simulate the dials on real Pre-V watches.

The Luminor Daylight, on the other hand, takes after the Slytech Daylight 5218-207/A. 105 of the original Daylight were made, and the Special Edition sticks to it closely. Like the Black Seal, the Daylight has similar faux aged Luminova on the dial.

Though both watches are faithful remakes of the Pre-Vendome models, there is one key difference, neither has “Slytech” on the dial nor Stallone’s signature on the case back as the originals did. Nonetheless the look and feel is convincing, right down to the Pre-Vendome style strap with a sewn-in buckle.

Inside each watch is the P.5000 movement, a hand-wound calibre with an eight day power reserve. That is Panerai’s entry-level in-house movement, with a plain and unadorned aesthetic. So it is just as well that both Special Edition watches have brushed, solid case backs. Though not identical to the Pre-Vendome case backs, they have a similar style.

The PAM785 Special Edition Set is sold with an oblong pear wood box, shaped like that of the Pre-Vendome watches, except larger. Inside the box is a book on the military equipment of the Italian navy commandos of the Second World War, as well as a resin model of the slow-speed torpedo they used for their strikes on Allied vessels.

The Panerai Special Edition Set Luminor Black Seal And Luminor Daylight retails for US$20,900 or €15,900 or S$26,350. That means each costs just over US$10,000. By the ambitious prices of most current Panerai watches, that is an attractive proposition.


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