​Five modern examples of Panerai Watches That Proved Left is Right.

​Five modern examples of Panerai Watches That Proved Left is Right.

Posted by O.J. Whatley on Mar 21st 2020

When it comes to watches for lefties, one thing is certain: Officine Panerai holds the undisputed crown for being the first watch company to design and release a wristwatch specifically designed for left-handed people, and to do on a production basis. Urban legends about a mythical one-off, left-handed Rolex Sea-Dweller made for COMEX abound, but cannot be confirmed. There are also all sorts of fanciful, stylized versions of homemade left-handed Rolex sport watches. Most of these seem like Franken-watches or acts of a skilled Photoshop user creating a “dream” watch. Panerai refers to all of their left-handed models as Destro. Destro, counter-intuitively means “Right” in Italian and refers to the preferred wrist the for the watch to be worn. The Destro models are differentiated by their winding crown and trademarked crown guard moved to the opposite side of the case and inverting the dial print to reflect the watch’s new right-wristed orientation. This creates a watch that is a mirror image of the “standard” model and allows for the use of the crown by the stronger and more dexterous hand of left-handed users.

And now, my picks for the 5 modern examples of Panerai watches that proved Left is Right

5. PAM 22 Luminor Marina Destro

The PAM 22 will go down in history as the first of two Panerai left-handed watches ever released

(both were released in 1998) as well as being one of the first production left-handed wristwatch.

The stainless steel 44mm Luminor case was equipped with a solid caseback and the watch was

produced for 4 years with 1,500 being made. It was released to the general public at the same

time as the Panerai brand was being launched worldwide, so not only did people get the chance

to experience Panerai, but also experience the out of the box thinking that made them so

successful as a military supplier. It was also the quintessential example of what a left-handed

watch should be: a mirror image of the right-handed version. Why only rank this watch at

number 5? The (relatively) long production time of 4 years means there are more of them than

almost any other Destro. It was also evolved and replaced in the catalog by the PAM 115. There

is no doubt that this watch is historic, but the long production and eventual replacement force it

to start my list.

4. PAM 123 Luminor Marina Power Reserve Destro

The PAM 123 is the left-handed version of the PAM 90 and uses the same movement as its right

handed brother. This watch was produced from 2002-2004 and over those 3 years, only 800 units

were produced. It keeps the same complications as the PAM 90, so it includes a power reserve

indicator and date. This also marked the first example of a Destro based off a modern watch and

the first Destro to feature an automatic movement. I think the funkiness of the dial side is what

keeps this watch from ranking higher to me. While most of us can figure out that the movement is

rotated 180 degrees, the relatively clean appearance of Panerai dials makes it easy to think that

there is some magic underneath the hood. The PAM 123 attempted this same magic, but the

execution was a bit different. Thanks to some hard points on the movement, the power reserve

and date had to be located in the same place as their right-handed friends. When the movement

is rotated 180 degrees, the power reserve is essentially upside down and backwards and it really

feels that way on the dial side. The PAM 123 is the first and really only, watch to truly shatter the

illusion of how a Destro is made and for that, it is only number 4 on my list.


3. The PAM 217 Luminor 1950 Marina Militare Destro


The Marina Militare…this watch is amazing. It is really inspired by the first Panerai to adorn the

wrists of the Italian Navy (aka the Marina Militare). It combines an oversized 47mm case, with a

superluminova sandwich dial, and the iconic Marina Militare naming to create a watch fit for a

frogman. It is the first use of the 47mm 1950 case with a Destro configuration, it has a great “First”

place on the map. Its historical homage is best in class. Why did it only make it up to 3? It does 

not have the history nor the uniqueness of the top 2 to make it any higher. While it was created 

as a one-year special edition, they did create 1000 pieces, which is more than the combined runs 

of the top 2. We are getting to the point where uniqueness and limited will be even more 






2. PAM 26 Luminor Marina PVD Destro

The PAM 26 is the PVD darkened brother of the PAM 22. We tend to take for granted PVD cases,

but Panerai was among the first brands to produce a PVD case. Ever. So, they created a black

cased, left-handed watch in their FIRST YEAR of global civilian production (talk about bold)! This

piece was made from 1998-1999 (the A and B production years) and features a black dial with

applied tritium lume to the Arabic numbers, dial markers, and hands. The original 2 year run only

saw 700 pieces produced (less than half of the PAM 22). It was ended two years earlier than its

stablemate, for reasons unknown. Then, it was re-released 8 years later in a one-off special 

edition of 1000 pieces, known by collectors as the 26 K. The major differences were a slightly 

less black charcoal grey PVD case, new, sandwich style dial using Superluminova for intense 

brightness. Thecase was also changed and brought a larger, sturdier crown guard, larger lugs, 

and morepronounced edge. There were so many changes, I can’t believe it did not get its own 

referencenumber! This reference remains an oddity, as it was one of the few, if only, Panerai that 

was re-released using a different case and dial, without changing the reference number.

1. Pam 239 Luminor Submersible Destro for 


I feel that this piece definitely deserves the top spot on this list. First and foremost, it is a

thoroughly modern Panerai, with automatic winding, a date, and a 300m depth rating. It also uses

Panerai’s Submersible uni-directional dive bezel to create a totally different look than any other

watch on this list. It also lacks any dial side adornment that would give away this illusion of how 

the left-handed switch was made. To my knowledge, this is also the most limited of the Destro 

watches, with just 75 pieces ever being made. It is also the only piece on this list that did not get 

re-issued or continued.

Honorable mentions go to:

PAM 115This was the first attempt by Panerai to re-release the Destro. It took up the mantle 

left by the discontinued PAM 22. It brought a newer style case, exhibition case back, and swan 

neck regulator adjustment to the party, but it was not so different from the PAM 22 that it 

deserved a place on the list.

PAM 358Another Left-handed watch by Panerai for Chronopassion in Paris, this is the Destro  

version of the Luminor Submersible 2500. Created in 2010 for a special run of 100 units. This is a 

47 mm watch,with a helium escape valve, and a completely different bezel to any Destro piece 

created before or since. It was edged out of this list because of its place as the second 

Chronopassion limited edition,made in a higher number.

PAM 56The first titanium left-handed Panerai is worthy of some praise, but as you can see 

from the list above, simply being the first was simply not enough. It featured a chocolate brown 

dial that looked great with titanium and paid homage to the historic fading that black dials would 

see with constant exposure to sunlight.

Do you agree with me? Do you hate my picks? Should I be tarred 

and feathered for loving the PAM 217 over the 

PAM 22? Let me know your thoughts!