Officine Panerai with its unique heritage has came to become one of the iconic brands of modern horological society. The Italian-born house has its own DNA that no other brands dare to copy - astonishingly large yet beautifully crafted cases with luminous sandwich dials and the iconic (patented) crown guards. These features give PAMs their simple yet sophisticated look, which make them immediately recognisable even from a fair bit of distance. The reason why I said "large yet beautiful" is because so many brands actually get this wrong - most of them just get them large and ugly but Panerai certainly knows how to play the size game.
Most PAMs are/always have been +44mm in terms of the case size. But in 2012 at SIHH, Panerai introduced a 42mm 1950 Luminor model - PAM 392. Some say this move was made to satisfy the demands from the Asian market, but let me tell you, you don't have to be an Asian to enjoy and appreciate this fabulous piece.
Just like PAM312 and other PAMs with the same complications, PAM392 is equipped with the hallmark in-house P.9000 automatic calibre, which beats at 28,800 alternations/hour or 4Hz with 3-day power reserve.
Since PAM392 is essentially a reduced version of PAM312, to get the balance of the dial right, Panerai had to take out 9 'o clock hour indicator - I personally think that the dial looks overall more balanced without the '9' since there was no '3' in the first place.
It is not just the diameter that has changed in size, but also the thickness. Quite a number of Paneristis and myself have found PAM312 to be unusually chunky even for a 44mm PAM - which was probably due to the 1950 shape case. Hence, I personally found it to be somewhat uncomfortable at times but I think Panerai came up with a solution to this problem with PAM392. Since it's thinner and smaller, it definitely feels way more comfy.
If you have ever owned a 312 or other 1950 cased PAMs in 44mm, upon wrapping this piece around your wrist, you will immediately recognise how different it feels and how different it looks. In terms of wearability - If you ever felt your PAM was too big to wear with a suit, this piece will give you the option to either dress up and go casual.
Although some 'purists' say that this piece breaks the tradition of Luminor models since it's smaller, non-44mm model, it still definitely embraces all the qualities and characters of a PAM. What's better is that it is a very wearable piece that is not only comfy and versatile but also overall more balanced.