The Panzera Aquamarine is a tough watch that's elegantly made (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Who is the Panzera Aquamarine for?

  • People who appreciates modern iterations on classic automatic watch designs will appreciate Panzera's aesthetics approach, which achieves the best of both worlds
  • For one's looking for 45 mm dive watches that can still look great with formal wear, the Aquamarine can be both dressed up or down comfortably
  • Coming in well under $500, the Aquamarine manages to provide an amazing package of both design, functionality and reliability for its price range

Dive watches, while originally meant for divers, have been making their way onto formal wear ever since being donned by Sean Connery's Rolex Submariner as the cinematic James Bond. I remember growing up thinking these formidable watches are what dress watches supposed to look like - and I still do. And I believe I've found kindred spirits in Panzera, a watchmaker founded in 2009 that makes watches that would look amazing on suits at a function as well as polo T's and slacks on a beach walk.

The lug-to-lug distance on this 45 mm surprisingly matches on a 17 cm wrist (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Serious hardware for the tough gentleman look

Being the watch that started it all for Panzera, the Aquamarine looks classy but not vintage, delicate but not fragile. The 45 mm stainless steel case means business, and does not seem to be for the faint hearted (read: small wristed). Surprisingly in person the watch size is not as daunting as on paper. Having a 17 cm wrist, the lug-to-lug distance of the case perfectly ran across the width of my wrist. This gave the fit a rare 'hugging' quality as it rests completely flat over the wrist. For people with an average wrist size like me, I would say it'll be hard to find a watch that fits better, especially diver watches.

True to it's diver's watch spirit, the rugged stainless steel case is coupled with a flat sapphire crystal, and finished with an aggressive looking oversized screw down double crown. The distinctly large crown is more than for good looks, but the large diameter makes it easier to screw down tight for waterproofing or release for winding or adjustments even with dive gloves on.

Durable and comfortable straps that are versatile on many levels (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Comfortable and rugged silicone straps

As I mentioned in previous watch reviews, having witnessed a stainless steel bracelet on an Eco-Drive fall apart because of sweat, I have since sworn by silicone straps. The Panzera strap is not only thick and hardy, it has an added texture molded into the back of the strap, that gives it a soft touch fabric-like texture, as well as keeping it from becoming slippery if sweat does build up.

The stitches that help make the leather look, while avoiding the leather (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

I have always wondered in the past what the function of the stitches are for silicone straps, and with the Panzera it finally sunk in: it's to simulate a leather strap look - and it does a great job in blending the sweat proof timepiece into formal attires.

What is also apparent is that with my 17 cm wrist, I'm using the third eyelet closest to the lug, making these one of the longest straps that I have used. The straps also have quite a bit of elasticity to it, so by tightening the straps a notch tighter than usual, you can get a very secure fit. Because of the long length of the strap, I could wear the watch over my bomber jacket sleeve - traditionally how aviator watches were designed to be worn, making them more visible and easier to glance on a drive or for a dive.

Panzera Aquamarine hits a timeless design with its dials (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Timeless dial design

While the case and straps on the Aquamarine are extremely well designed, they are only frames for the best feature on the watch. I've seen plenty of watch designs that get most of the watch design right while falling short on making a dial that shines as the centerpiece, but the Aquamarine is still a popular model after its first release more than 10 years ago for a reason.

The hands are the most unique and also my favorite part of the design. The hour and minute hands have the classic sword profile, but the twist comes as the hand tips transit to skeleton hands. It's a classy profile with a modern twist, and its simplicity and legibility hits a double home-run. The excellent design choices continue into the second hand, which is just a classic white needle with a red tip.

Great legibility in the dark (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

The hands have strong luminousness in the dark, along with the hour index, giving great legibility, not to mention looking amazing.

The rest of the dial compliments the hands nicely, with an upside down triangle and two dots at the 12 o'clock position, day/date window at 3 o'clock, and featured on the dial are very legible Arabic numerals, hour markers at 12 and 6 o'clock.

The watch face is a subtle sunburst metallic blue which contrasts and uplifts the whole dial design, completing the Aquamarine aesthetics.

Behind the stainless back plate is a Miyota movement chugging away (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Japanese movement

Last but not least, the Aquamarine is powered by a Miyota 21 Jewel 21,600 bph movement, which gives it the reliability on the inside that matches its exterior. In actual use I only needed to wind the watch every 2-3 days, and the accuracy was on par with other automatic watches, which needs adjusting roughly once a month.

Handsome and rugged from Australia (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Final Remarks

The Panzera Aquamarine, gets so much right in its design, build quality and durability, making it an easy choice for those looking for a versatile automatic watch that can be worn everyday, for both formal and casual occasions.

David is a tech enthusiast/writer who is often on the move and is on a mission to explore ways to make his overhaul flights more enjoyable. This is a contribution to an ongoing IBTimes review series on gadgets for Business Travellers.