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Watch Reviews Watch Comparison: Vacheron Constantin & Panerai Luminor

Vacheron and Panerai

Vacheron Constantin Harmony Dual Time & Panerai Luminor 1950 GMT Oro Rosso PAM 576

It would seem at first, an unreasonable task, to compare a brand new Vacheron Constantin release with a one-year-old Panerai release. Each brand currently occupies space in different segments of the watch world, so a direct comparison would seem a bit silly. And in almost every other case, I would agree. But today I want to take a look at two — as I see it — very comparable pieces: the Vacheron Constantin Harmony Dual Time and the Panerai Luminor 1950 GMT Oro Rosso PAM 576.

At SIHH this past winter, Vacheron Constantin not only debuted a new model to the collection, but it also debuted a lovely new case shape for the line called simply Harmony. The round dial and soft, cushion-shaped case is really beautiful. I find this case shape very attractive — perhaps even more so than the Malte case. Panerai, on the other hand, essentially specialized their niche by creating cushion shaped cases, and the PAM 576 is no exception. The PAM 576 features the popular 44mm Luminor 1950 case in 18kt rose gold.  There are more similarities than just the case shape. Both watches are made from pink/rose gold and feature similar Dual Time complications. Both watches also feature beautifully executed movements that are displayed by exhibition case backs.

Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin Harmony Dual TimeThe Vacheron Constantin Harmony Dual Time features a striking white dial accented with painted blue numerals and ornate gold Poires Stuart style hands. Between the four and five is the dual time zone indicator which reads out as a twelve-hour dial. It can be easily set with the crown. Right next to the dual time zone indicator is the nicely designed day night indicator (which is sandwiched between the seven and eight o’clock position). The dial is balanced and genuinely well-executed. On the wrist, the watch is slightly on the larger size for what I would consider a dual time dress watch. It’s roughly 41mm x 50mm (including the lugs), but it is comfortable and very wearable. While the thickness of the watch won’t ever be confused with a Patrimony case, it also won’t be mistaken for the PAM576. It sits at a moderate 11.4mm thick.

The Harmony Dual Time is powered by the Vacheron Constantin Caliber 2460 DT, a Poincon de Geneve finished self-winding movement. In typical Vacheron Constantin fashion, the movement is a piece of art. The Harmony, then, is a sharp dress watch that should appeal to those who are looking for something that looks different than your classic, ultra-high end round dress watches.

Panerai

Panerai PAM 576On to the Panerai PAM 576. It’s certainly a larger, sportier watch than the Vacheron.  Make no mistake about it, like the Harmony Dual Time, the PAM 576 is brilliant. It features a dual time hand on the center stack, an AM/PM indicator at nine o’clock, a linear 8-day power reserve indicator under the hand stack and the date at three o’clock. The matte sandwich dial is tobacco brown and the numerals are tan and the combination of colors are rich and the work really well in the rose gold case (the PAM 576 is essentially the discontinued PAM 289 with a different dial). The major mechanical differences between the the Vacheron Caliber 2460 DT and the Panerai P.2002 is that the P.2002 is a manual wind and has an extended eight day power reserve. The Vacheron has fairly standard 40 hour reserve. On the wrist, the PAM 576 is like its brethren in the Luminor 1950 line; it wears big and it’s weighty. But my goodness is it attractive! From the color combination to the case and movement finishing, the PAM 576 is beautiful.

Typically, a comparison between a Panerai and a Vacheron Constantin wouldn’t be warranted. They are two totally different kinds of watches, yet with the PAM 576 and the Harmony Dual Time they each encroach on similar grounds. The similar case shapes, the excellent finishing, and the functionality bring these two watches together.

The Vacheron Constantin is most definitely a dress watch. The Panerai is a luxury sports watch. If you wanted to own a beautiful luxury dual time watch and opted for a nontraditional case shape, these two pieces are great candidates.

About Jon Callahan
Father, husband and watch enthusiast. After getting his start as a stock boy in a jewelry store and watching them expand to carry Swiss watch brands including: Ulysse Nardin, Oris and Roger Dubuis, he was hooked. His first watch is an Oris XXL Chronograph which he still owns. He has also owned a Graham Chronofighter Oversized, a Panerai PAM 251 Daylight and an Oris Pro Driver. His ultimate grail watch is the ultra rare Kari Voutilainen Monopoussoir Chronograph. Find Jon at the Philadelphia location of Govberg Jewelers.