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Panzera - The 4 Best Watches From Exciting Australian Brand

Posted on September 25 2021

Panzera Australian Watches

The big names in watchmaking come from Switzerland, Germany, Japan and China. There are also some great brands from elsewhere. I'm a big fan of Russian watches. And the leading economies - US, UK, France etc - all have their own iconic companies.

But Australia?

I'd be lying if I told you that I knew a lot about Australian watches.

But there is an Australian watchmaker that I've featured more than once on this blog. Panzera. They make rugged automatic watches that they like to describe as modern-vintage or neo-classic.

They're very affordable too.

So I'd like to give you a little of this eye-catching brand's background. Then I'll show you the best four watches that they currently have to offer.

The Panzera Watches Story


Panzera has a clarity of purpose. Their watches are mechanical and have a distinctly vintage styling. Key to the company's business model is a desire to keep Panzera watches affordable. Taken together it's a simple brand ethos. And as a fan of functional and affordable watches, it works for me.

As Australia's leading watch brand, they've achieved a lot since their launch. Remember, they're a young company. Panzera was only founded in 2009, but they're already at the point where they're assembling watches in their own Sydney facility.

That's a big selling point.

All Panzera watches are assembled in either their Australian or Swiss facilities. The parts are sourced from elsewhere, including automatic movements from Japan.

The brands values and its production is important, but for most watch buyers, styling is paramount.

Stylistically, Panzera has a recognisable house style. An obvious DNA that appears throughout their range.

Founders Roger Cooper and Andrew Herman set out to create watches that they've described as modern interpretations of classic styles. They've also called it 'modern-vintage' and 'neo-classic'.

So their watches have the general feel of vintage models. Their cushion case watches hint at Italian divers from the mid-20th Century. But they've updated the design to be more in keeping with contemporary tastes.

The Panzera range is separated into three lines. Land, Air and Sea.

The Land collection consists of a moto racing watch. A model that harks back to the golden age of driving. The Air collection contains large, bold aviation pieces. And the Sea collection? That consists of vintage-inspired divers.

But Panzera watches don't just look the part.

During the production process, each watch is tested on-site for five days. So the Sea watches, for example, are functional dive watches capable of going down to 300M.

And that attention to detail continues. Each watch has a unique engraved serial number which is recorded at the time of sale.

So Panzera does a couple of things really well. They design watches that build on tried and tested aesthetics. They then assemble most of their watches in Australia. Finally, they rigorously test each watch to ensure that it runs as it should.

The fact that they can keep the price down is a bonus.



Are Panzera Watches Good Quality?


I'm confident that Panzera watches are of good quality. This is based on a number of factors.

Firstly, Panzera uses parts manufactured in Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and Italy. The watches are then assembled in Australia or Switzerland - depending on the model.

Each watch then undergoes a series of quality control tests, lasting five days.

The Four Best Panzera Watches


Panzera has a limited number of styles. Essentially, they have three main models. An aviation watch, a diver and a motor racing model. From these, I've featured my favourite four models. These are the watches that best showcase the brand.

Let's dig in.

Panzera Aquamarine Pro Diver

The Panzera Pro Diver is a handsome dive watch, very much in the super compressor mould. This model, the Infinity, has a black dial and comes with a retro-looking mesh strap.

It's a bit of a beast. The case is 45mm wide and has two large, knurled crowns. The second of these rotates the internal bezel.

At nearly 15mm thick, and with a hefty cushion case, this is a tough piece of kit. As you'd expect, it has 300M of water resistance. So it is a legitimate dive watch.

It's a great example of what Panzera does best.

The design is familiar. The cushion case dive watch is well-known, particularly those from Panerai. The same with the dual crowns. This was also popular on older dive watches.

But Panzera has then updated the look. The numerals are modern, as are the prominent cut-out hands.

Finally, they've used a reliable Seiko automatic movement and a sapphire crystal. So you get some vintage touches, a little modern flair and up to date watchmaking technology.

And at this price point that makes it a very competitive watch.

In the end, it comes down to the size. 45mm, plus crowns, is big. But if you like large watches, this is the best place to start with Panzera.

Panzera Aquamarine Pro Diver A45D-01SM

  • 45mm Diameter
  • 14.25mm Thick
  • 24mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance


Panzera Flieger 46 Hornet Strike

The Panzera Flieger is a different type of watch with a different job. But the style is consistent with the Pro Diver.

At 46mm, it's even larger than the previous watch, but with Flieger style aviation watches this is often the case. They're designed for pilots. They need to be clear, very legible and often have oversized crowns. This is a practical consideration for pilots wearing gloves.

Even a quick glance at this model - dubbed Hornet Strike - shows that it ticks these boxes. The numbers are bold and both the hands and date are easy to read.

It's slimmer than you might have expected and again is powered by a Japanese NH35 movement. It's a trusted movement. I used it when designing my own Northwind watch.

There are more than a dozen strap options for the Flieger 46, but I prefer a simple canvas NATO. It gives the watch a military edge that really enhances its appeal.

Although this is a touch bigger than the Pro Diver, I see this as a more versatile piece. It's ideal if you'd like a tough, legible watch that is simple to operate.

Panzera Flieger 46 F46-01MN3

  • 46mm Diameter
  • 13mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance


Panzera Aquamarine Atlantic Dive Watch

It's all here.

This is a diver's watch that successfully marries the vintage and the modern. The case is vintage-inspired, while the colours, fonts and hands all reference modern designs.

It has 200M of water resistance, an automatic movement and can be picked up for less than £300. It's functional and affordable.

Stylewise, it has quite a sophisticated look. Despite being 45mm wide and chunky, it has a refined appearance. It's clearly a tough watch, but without a rotating bezel and when matched with a leather strap, this could be worn with a suit.

There is also a black version of the Aquamarine, but I'd go for the Atlantic blue version with its sunburst effect dial.

There's not much more to add. It has the Panzera house style in its most simple form. Again, if you're comfortable with size this is a cracking watch.

And if you're not? There's a quartz version with a 38mm case.

Panzera Aquamarine Atlantic A45-01BSL2

  • 45mm Diameter
  • 14.25mm Thick
  • 24mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Panzera Time Master Watch

The final watch that I'd like to highlight is a beauty. It follows the Panzera style, but this time with a motorsports inspiration.

At 42mm, this model is the smallest on my list. But with the slim fixed bezel, it still manages to have a large dial. And that dial is very legible. There's nothing unnecessary.

Like other Panzera models, the numerals are straightforward. Just a 12 and a 6. And the 12 is yellow to stand out. There's a good use of lume and the markers are simple and practical.

There's an obvious attempt to mimic a speedometer and it works well. In keeping with the Air and Sea models, this piece from the Land collection also has a large crown.

It doesn't have the water-resistance of a diver, but 100M is more than enough for a watch like this. And you'll be familiar with the other specs. It has the same automatic movement and sapphire crystal as the previous watches.

The final touch - a leather racing strap - gives a nod to vintage racing watches.

Panzera doesn't do subtle. But the Time Master is the nearest they'll get. It's a tough and tasteful motorsports watch with just a touch of retro chic.

Panzera Time Master Raptor TM42-01SL5

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 12.5mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

Conclusion


Panzera is Australia's leading watch company.

To get there they've stuck to a simple philosophy. Make modern watches with vintage inspiration. And keep the finished watches affordable.

Their watches are powered by Japanese movements and most are assembled in Australia. Each one is individually engraved with a serial number and undergoes strict quality control.

Taken together, that makes the watches appealing. Well-made, with good specs and able to compete with affordable watches from Switzerland, Japan and elsewhere.

The only point I'd bear in mind is the size. Most Panzera watches are big - and have oversized crowns.

But if this all works for you - large modern-vintage mechanical watches - then you'll want to take a closer look at the brand.

So follow some of the affiliate links in this piece. Then come back and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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