You could make the argument that many of the original "war used" Panerai pieces were more than 44mm at least. But, and this is the crux I think, that's totally irrelevant to anyone but the most ardent Paneristi. I know many purchase watches to floss on this site but let's be real: at the end of the day, versatility and wearability are key.
As I've said before on this forum and others, big watches are getting a shade silly. If you have the wrist to not make a 47 or even 60mm look stupid, then it's perfect for you because it's proportional.
Most do not.
For me, this is why although I would stretch for a 45mm Rad, that's because there isn't much choice there without getting into far pricier models. 44mm is IMO the sweet spot for most, certainly me with 7.5" wrists. I agree that for many, even 44mm is too large but again there's little choice there if one chooses a Panerai. Add a plastic crystal to watches like the 372 and although more "authentic," it's also less practical and frankly kind of cheap on a watch at that price point. Non-Paneristi would absolutely laugh behind your back if they knew you dropped that kind of large with a plexi-faced watch.
I know I'll catch heat for this but you know, I'm not one of the many that are selling their 372s for smaller pieces or newer versions with sapphire crystals. Let's be intellectually honest.