Panerai is a true Italian cult brand, infused with Swiss technology. Their story is based on a historic Italian watchmaker, Giovanni Panerai, who produced timepieces for the Italian Navy. Nowadays as a high-end status sports brand they focus on a niche segment. Every model is inspired by the marine world, authenticity, rarity, product identity and heritage. This year they introduced several new models to the Radiomir, Luminor, and Luminor 1950 collections and also showcased unique special editions. We will highlight a few of these below.
The Radiomir watch was produced in 1936 for the frogman commandos of the First Submarine Group Command of the Royal Italian Navy. The new Radiomir 1940 Chronograph is available in three versions with different precious metals, platinum, red gold and white gold; limited to 50 pieces for each edition. The cushion-shaped case has remained true to the prototype, but it has a polished finish, including the two push-buttons controlling the chronograph functions, the cylindrical winding crown and the bezel.
The platinum version has an ivory dial with luminous dots and hour markers. The minute counter is at 3 o’clock, seconds at 9 o’clock and there’s a central chronograph hand. We can find the tachymeter scale on the edge of the dial for calculating average speed.
The dial of the white gold version is a so-called “sandwich dial” that is frequently used by the brand because it greatly aids the readability of the light-reflective numbers. The sandwich is comprised of two superimposed plates with the luminous material in between, visible through holes corresponding to the hour markers.
All three Radiomir 1940 Chronographs are operated by the OP XXV calibre. This movement was created in cooperation with the Minerva manufacture, which have had close ties with Panerai for a long time. OP XXV calibre is a hand-wound chronograph with a diameter of 12¾ lignes.
The company started to open towards the civilian market around 1993, when the first Officine Panerai collections were created in limited editions: the Luminor, the Luminor Marina and the Mare Nostrum. The Luminor pieces continue to be hugely popular today, both in the Historic and Contemporary collections.
The Luminor Base 8 days Acciaio and the Luminor Marina 8 Days Acciaio are refined, light and at once characteristic pieces with a white dial with Arabic numerals and luminous dots markers, complemented by a cognac colour leather strap. The P5000 in-house movement runs with an 8-day power reserve and has a variable inertia balance. Its period of oscillation is adjusted by turning the little timing screws on the outside of the balance wheel.
The 47 mm Luminor 1950 3 Days is in itself an icon of the brand. The left-hand version is even more unique as the crown on the left with its protecting device are part of Panerai’s history. The commando of the Italian Marines wore several devices on their wrist thus many preferred to wear their watch on their right hand, for easier access to the winder of the watch.
The steel case of the Luminor 1950 Left-Handed 3 Days has a unique detail: the case band has a cusped shape, hinting at the form of a cushion case. The puritan black sandwich dial, the luminous Arabic numerals and hour markers and the rustic leather strap make this a rather masculine piece.
The 50 piece limited edition red gold (and white gold) pocket watch with a matching 18K red gold chain is a great favourite of mine.
The true expansion and blossoming of pocket watches began in the 19th century. Until the onset of the 20th century, wearing wristwatches was strictly a ladies privilege, and wristwatches were jewel-like, almost bracelets in appearance. Elegant men in this period mainly used pocket watches After WWI wristwatches became increasingly popular, and pocket watches remained a privilege of a niche market and special occasions.
The shape of the Panerai Pocket watch is the classic Radiomir cushion shape, the crown is located at 12 o’clock. The reverse of the watch can be opened and the P.3001/10 calibre becomes visible that was completely developed and made by Officine Panerai. The bridges and the two barrels are skeletonised with chamfered polished angles. The mahogany box of the watch hides another accessory: a unique stand whereby the pocket watch can be turned into a table clock.
Photo credits: Officine Panerai, Loupiosity.com.
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