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Hands-on with the Panzera Time Master 42
Hands-on with the Panzera Time Master 42 IBTimes / Jeff Li

Who is the Panzera Time Master 42 for?

  • If you fail to see the attractiveness or the need for rotating bezels on diver watches but still want an automatic watch with a tough build, the Panzera Time Master's stainless steel case and knurled screw-in crown will be right up your alley
  • The simple yet detailed design of the Time Master is timeless yet handsome, echoing classic design like the Swiss Railways Clock from Mondaine, making it versatile for both dressing up or dressing down situations and goes well with a variety of straps
  • Due to the absence of a rotating bezel, the Time Master has a large and highly legible face for a 42 mm watch, and is excellent for those who needs to tell time at a quick glance

Having previously reviewed the Aquamaster, I've already had a taste of Panzera's ability to curate classic, timeless watch design elements and put them together to become new creations. Panzera's watch range also strikes a nice balance between build quality and pricing, making the Australian brand worth paying attention to, especially for those looking for their next daily watch.

The Panzera Time Master 42 is the 'land' archetype from the company's air/land/sea range, and having worn it for the last two months, I'm here to report on my impressions on this timepiece.


Tough Automatic without the Rotating Bezel

Having worn many diver watches, it's almost a given for stout automatic watches to have a rotating bezel. But to be honest, other than the few actual divers among us, the rotating bezels are more an aesthetic feature rather than a functional one.

Panzera seems to have made a conscious decision to exclude the rotating bezel from all its models altogether, which leads to all their designs to have a larger watch face than its peers with the same case size.


The Time Master 42 is no exception and having gone through a few watches with a rotating bezel, it's quite refreshing to be looking at a 'bezel-less' design throughout the day. But of course, the Time Master is not actually bezel-less, but it's lens is framed by a polished stainless steel bezel. The polished texture contrasts itself from the brushed finish on the case, creating a simple but effective layering in its aesthetics.


With a sapphire glass back, the Time Master case displays proudly its 21 jewel Miyota movement. The automatic movement is rated for 40 hours reserve, and in my experience, the rotor works effectively and I rarely need to manually wind the watch if I'm wearing it as my daily piece.


One can't talk about the robustness of the case without mentioning the crown, and the Time Master has a finely knurled screw down crown that is both easy to operate and easy on the eyes. The knurled texture almost gives it a tool watch look, but the precision etching of the Panzera logo on the side is a reminder that this timepiece is more than adequate for formal occasions too.


Timeless Face Design

In terms of the watch face Panzera kept it minimalistic by using matte black as its main canvas. But by creating multiple layers of varying heights, the design team made sure that the Time Master showed character while keeping it simple.


The layering bares its good-looks especially when light is shone side-on, showing the top layer consisting of the outer ring that has the minute indices, to the white hour markers, the '12' and '6' hour markers, then the day/date window sinking into the face at the three o'clock position.

The Time Master uses rectangular skeleton watch hands (Another signature look from Panzera). To be honest, initially I thought the face design was overly simplistic. But over time, I found myself liking the timeless minimalist look more and more.


At the base of each hand, the hour, minute and second hands are also matte black finished, creating more nuanced layers from the matte black face. The ebony base is then contrasted with glossy lumed white hands, creating an intense and highly legible visual.

Panzera made the design more interesting by adding details with bright yellow highlights, from the '12' hour marker at the 12 o'clock position, to the minute markers at three o'clock, six o'clock, and nine o'clock, to the tip of the second hand that is also subtly dipped in yellow. It's finishing touches like this that distinguishes the great watch designs from the good ones.


Versatile Visual for All Occasions

Due to its simple design, the Time Master 42 can be an adequate accessory for both formal and less formal occasions. It's as easy as swapping out the straps.


The Time Master I have on-hand is the Raptor MK 1 which came with Italian rubber straps lined using yellow stitching - yes, complementing the yellow highlights in the watch face. The rubber straps themselves carry decent thickness, while supple and comfortable to wear. The waterproof material ensures that sweat won't be an Achilles heel over time.

At some point of wearing the Time Master, I decided to experiment with different straps. And by putting on a black nylon NATO strap, I discovered a whole new tactical look for the watch which I enjoyed immensely on a daily basis. The texture of the NATO strap complimented the matte black watch face nicely, and is as good as owning a second watch that suits more casual occasions.


Final Remarks

We're living in a time when automatic watches are on the cusp of becoming a novelty, yet ironically it is also a time when it's not a toy reserved only for the rich. Quality designed and built timepieces has never been so accessible, and the Panzera Time Master 42 is an excellent example of a quality automatic watch that is both reliable and budget-friendly to be enjoyed on a day-to-day basis.

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.