Tag Archives: Panerai

Cortina celebrates 45 years with Exclusive Panerai Special Editions

Founded in 1972, Cortina Watch has established itself as a leading retailer and distributor of luxury watches across the Asia Pacific region. Headquartered in Singapore, the homegrown Cortina Watch celebrates 45 years with two exclusive Panerai Special Editions and a litany of achievements including distributorship of over 50 brands and managing 30 boutiques across Asia.

Cortina celebrates 45 years with Exclusive Panerai Special Editions

To celebrate the 45th Anniversary of Cortina Watch – a longstanding and valued partner – Officine Panerai has produced two special editions Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic (PAM00751 and PAM00752).

This is the first time Panerai has collaborated with a retailer highlighting the close relationship between the Florentine watch manufacturer and Cortina. Poetically, 2017 also marks the 45th anniversary when the watchmaker was officially rebranded Officine Panerai. The new Cortina Watch Special Edition Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic is the slimmest watch among the entire Panerai collection and comes in stainless steel model of 45 pieces (PAM00751) and red gold model of 10 pieces worldwide (PAM00752).

The case of the Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic was itself inspired by the old-school Luminor of the 1950s but elegantly redesigned to be dressier and more versatile, losing close to 40% of its thickness. First presented in 2016, the Panerai Luminor Due has been subtly remodeled, the calibre has itself been partially skeletonised  while remaining true to the original.

In the general collection,  Panerai released four new timepieces in the 2017 Due Collection: PAM728 in titanium, PAM741 in red gold, the 3Days PAM729 in titanium and PAM739 in steel. The two Cortina Special Edition Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic joins the collection in a limited series run.

45th anniversary Cortina Special Edition Panerai Luminor Due Price and Specs

Movement Self-winding Panerai P.4000/10 with 72 hours power reserve
Case 45 mm Stainless steel / Red gold with 30 metres water resistance
Strap Crocodile leather
Price 45 piece Cortina Special Edition Panerai PAM00751 is SGD21,800. 10 piece Cortina Special Panerai PAM00752 is SGD38,800.

In the lead up to its 45th anniversary, Cortina Watch opened a grand Rolex boutique with in-store Exhibition of Rolex history in 2016. It also celebrated another close relationship with the re-opening of Patek Philippe at The Shoppes at Marina By Sands that same year.

For over 4 decades, Cortina Watch has established itself as a brand synonymous with impeccable, high-quality timepieces, renowned amongst discerning individuals. Cortina Watch began operations in 1972 when Mr Anthony Lim, the Founder and Chairman, opened the first boutique at Colombo Court Shopping Centre, Singapore. Over the years, Cortina Watch has expanded to 30 boutiques across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

 

Panerai Boutique Special: Limited Edition Green Dial Collection of Trio of Radiomir 8 Days, Radiomir 1940 3 Days and Luminor Chrono Monopulsante

Slightly over a year ago, Panerai, the world’s most widely known supplier of military-inspired watches released a slew of consumer friendly, gorgeously luxurious, slim Panerai Limited Edition Luminor watches with metallic blue dials. While the Limited Edition Panerai collection had featured four models of various complications, they each displayed a face of metallic blue with brushed sun-ray finishing matched with gilt hands and then accented with SuperLuminova.

Last Friday, 1 September 2017, Panerai announced a new trio of Boutique Special Limited Edition green dial Panerai watches encompassing new Radiomir 8 Days Titanio (PAM00735), Radiomir 1940 3 Days Acciaio (PAM00736) and Panerai Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT Titanio (PAM00737). All different yet bearing the same signature sandwich dial construction with lower plate of SuperLuminova paint covered with an olive-green face with cut-outs for the hour markers.

Panerai Boutique Special: Limited Edition Green Dial Collection with a Trio of Radiomir 8 Days, Radiomir 1940 3 Days and Luminor Chrono Monopulsante

Presented in an original combination of colors, the trio of new Panerai Boutique Special Limited edition green dial watches share gilded hands which match the luminous beige hour numeral cut-outs, available in steel or titanium cases and paired with natural brown leather straps with contrast beige stitching.

PAM00735

Panerai Boutique Edition Green dial Radiomir 8 Days Titanio 45mm

The iconic 45mm brushed titanium cushion case returns, this time with a green dial, a new colour scheme which plays up the gilt hands and beige luminous hour numerals of the newest Radiomir 8 Days (PAM00735). The characteristic wire loop strap attachments and conical winding crown that have been attributes of the model since its debut in 1936. A polished bezel focuses attention upon the matt green sandwich construction dial with subsidiary seconds at 9 o’clock while the small round lens at 3 houses date information. Overall, the design of dial and this case is harmonious and minimalist.

A sapphire caseback displays the finishing of the in-house manufacture hand-wound P.2002 calibre where three spring barrels connected in series provide a power reserve of eight days, the sort of useful, wind and forget functionality which seems to render the power reserve indicator on the reverse side superfluous but nevertheless still appreciated. The P.2002 calibre also has the device for zeroing the seconds hand to enable very precise synchronisation, and the mechanism for moving the hour hand forwards or backwards without affecting the movement of the minute hand. It is water- resistant to 10 bar (a depth of about 100 metres).

 

 

Panerai Boutique Edition Green dial Radiomir 1940 3 Days Acciaio 47mm

The 47mm diameter of the new Boutique only edition of the new Radiomir 1940 3 Days (PAM00736) is reminiscent of the historical Panerai versions, a sweet tributary homage to the watches made especially for its commando frogmen of the Royal Italian Navy. Sensuous lines accentuate the integrated lugs on the cushion case formed from a solid block of AISI 316L stainless steel and the cylindrical winding crown carrying the OP logo in relief.

The handwound 161⁄2 lignes calibre P.3000 features a 3 day power reserve with distinctive three brushed-finished bridges and the iconic bridge with twin supports for the 3Hz balance wheel largish 13mm balance. The manufacture calibre on the new green dial Radiomir 1940 3 Days also enjoys functionality for quick adjustment of the hour hand. It’s water-resistant to 100 metres as well.

Panerai Boutique Edition Green dial Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT Titanio 44mm

Equipped with classic bridge lever device, patented by Panerai in the 1950s, to protect the winding crown and to help ensure 100m water-resistance, the new Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT Titanio (PAM00737) completes the rugged aesthetic with its brushed  44mm titanium case with polished bezel and the monopusher or monopulsante start-stop-reset push button for chronograph actuation at 8 o’clock.

The green face makes indications of the new Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT relatively easy to read with the manually wound chronograph P.2004 calibre capable of eight day run time thanks to its three spring barrels in series. Meanwhile, the linear power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock while the am and pm counter indicating the central second time zone hand is positioned at 9 o’clock. The minutes of the chronograph are measured by the small counter at 3 o’clock. As in the other models in of this trio of Panerai Boutique Edition watches, all the hands, apart from the GMT function, are gilded.

The Neuchâtel manufacture P.2004 calibre is a high end column wheel chronograph with vertical clutch, observable through sapphire caseback. The chronograph minute hand moves in jumps, making it easier to read, and the watch can be synchronised with great accuracy thanks to the zero-reset seconds hand which returns to 12 o’clock position for precise time adjustment when the winding crown is pulled out.

Like the other models of this series, the Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT Titanio is presented in a green cherry wood box. Inside the box are a replacement black rubber strap, the tool for replacing it and a screwdriver.

PAM00735

There’s a missed opportunity to do a green dial edition but perhaps in bronze. – Jonathan Ho, Associate Editor, World of Watches

Panerai Boutique Special: Limited Edition Green Dial Pricing and Availability

Exclusive Panerai Boutique Edition
2 Orchard Turn
#01-18 ION Orchard
Singapore 238801

  • PAM735 Radiomir 8 days Titanium in 45mm: SGD17,350 or EUR11,800
  • PAM736 Radiomir 1940 3 Days Stainless Steel in 47mm: SGD13,100 or EUR8,900 (limited to only 300 pieces)
  • PAM737 Luminor 1950 Chorono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT Titanium in 44mm: SGD25,900 or EUR17,600

Shape Your Time: Exploring Square and Form Watches of 2017

 

 

Square watches, or in industry parlance: form or shaped watches are a fairly sizeable segment (given that Cartier produces AND sells so many of them, but more on that later). That is to say, even though there’s a preponderance of round watches in the industry, the belief that square or shaped watches only have a niche appeal is fundamentally unsound. However, significant conversations with retailers and brands alike all indicate that the round watch, if anything, will dominate even more than it already does. For our part, we find this very disappointing indeed.

The much-reported preference of markets (apparently everywhere) for round watches seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy that no brand has seriously challenged. Well, one brand is challenging it but because that brand is Apple, watchmaking firms have only expressed tepid interest. More often than not, the companies have expressed aggressive disinterest.

Shape Your Time: 2017 Resurgence of Form Watches

This will mean that square watches will indeed be scarce, as we will illustrate here, and that fact represents an opportunity for the most consummate of collectors. The important thing is of course to see if there is enough demand to create the right sort of imbalance. Of course, we will be steering clear of making predictions as to investment value and such. Our purpose here is only to highlight an opportunity.

Designing Time

Before getting into that, let us look at the design situation at the turn of the last century, when the taste for wristwatches was still nascent. Louis Cartier was a jeweler with a penchant for what former Cartier CEO Franco Cologni called square surfaces. It was at the turn of the previous century that Cartier entered into its famous partnership with Parisian watchmaker Edmond Jaeger, who himself was tied up with the LeCoultre watchmaking company in Switzerland. This partnership prefigured the commercial launch of the Santos watch in 1911, a move that heralded the arrival of all sorts of new shapes in watchmaking.

The Panthere de Cartier is the major form watch release for 2017 that carries the codes of the Tank and the Santos, as seen below and right.

The Panthere de Cartier is the major form watch release for 2017 that carries the codes of the Tank and the Santos, as seen below and right.

At this time, before watchmakers and the public had any idea of what the ideal wristwatch would be, it was truly a free-for-all in terms of design. According to Cologni, in his book Cartier The Tank Watch, Louis Cartier was moved first and foremost by form, believing it to be more important than function. Arguably, this is the beginning of an idea that has an inherent weakness for the development and future of wristwatches– that function should follow form.

In contemporary times, the late Apple impresario Steve Jobs redefined this with his products, recognizing that “design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” As far as watchmaking goes, the idea that design is how the object itself functions speaks to why so many watches today are round. Our daily time is indeed circular because that is what happens when you track the hours and minutes with hands. This powerful idea then shapes a powerful commercial argument.

Audemars Piguet is one of the few with a strong oval watch collection that also comes with a shaped movement

Audemars Piguet is one of the few with a strong oval watch collection that also comes with a shaped movement

The Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium brought to life from the sketch before

The Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium brought to life from the sketch before

Fragmented Collections

When asked about the new IWC Da Vinci being round despite the 2007 version being a refreshingly complex tonneau-tortue shape, here is what then-IWC CEO Georges Kern said: “The point is, 70 percent of the market is round watches. And the shaped segment is very limited and further segmented: square, rectangular, baignoire, tonneau… At the size IWC is today, with our reach, you need to be round because that’s what the market is.”

Kern was heading up watchmaking, marketing and digital for the Richemont Group overall so what he says carries weight far beyond IWC.

By virtue of its contrast bezel, the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 PAM684 is a form watch hiding in round clothes.

By virtue of its contrast bezel, the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 PAM684 is a form watch hiding in round clothes.

Despite predictions to the contrary, the Apple Watch Series 2 stuck with the rectangular shape and is water resistant to 50 metres.

Despite predictions to the contrary, the Apple Watch Series 2 stuck with the rectangular shape and is water resistant to 50 metres.

Franck Muller enjoyed a peak in the 90s and the early 2000s giving tonneau shaped watches a boost in popularity, pictured here, the Vanguard Fullback

Franck Muller enjoyed a peak in the 90s and the early 2000s giving tonneau shaped watches a boost in popularity, pictured here, the Vanguard Fullback

In fact, Kern’s estimation is generous considering that most informed sources consider round watches to be closer to 80 percent of the market. Before proceeding though, the market itself requires some definition because it does not only include the high-end market, meaning watches above US$1,000. In a 2015 article on the then-upcoming Apple Watch Series 2, no less than Forbes predicted that Apple would abandon its signature look in favour of the more conventional round shape. This prediction was based on the input of industry insiders and the like, and no doubt also took Jobs’ own philosophy into account. Of course, Apple confounded these expectations, illustrating again the hazards of journalists predicting outcomes. Considering that the Apple Watch 2 is both a status symbol and below US$1,000 (it is available for as little as $398 from the Apple Store), its very existence threatens the narrative that the market is overwhelmingly interested in round watches.

Exploring Form and Shaped Watches

Despite being, in the official lingo “timeless”, watches certainly mirror the era they are made and released in. This is what makes vintage watches from some periods – particularly the Art Deco age – so distinctive. Given the importance of heritage to the core of Swiss watchmaking – fine and otherwise – the brands have done a good job of retaining certain aesthetic touches across the ages. We have already gone into why Jaeger-LeCoultre shares the rectangular watch crown with Cartier. Both these firms maintain and champion in the 21st century a look that was already classic in the 1950s. But form watches – which are otherwise known as shaped watches – are not just rectangular of course

Patent drawing of the original Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

Patent drawing of the original Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

The 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duo owns the form space in classical styling

The 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duo owns the form space in classical styling

In official parlance, any watch that isn’t round is called a “form watch.” So that means everything from cushion-shaped Panerai watches to every collection from Cartier other than the Drive de Cartier, Cle de Cartier and Calibre de Cartier; we would argue that the popular Ballon Bleu is actually a form watch because it has a tactile appeal arising from its pebble shape. To look at the number of models in the form watch segment itself, we can only reference other magazines. Armbanduhren, a specialty German watch catalog, lists more than 1,000 models of watches (and has done since we began paying attention, in 2011). Of these more than 900 are round, meaning that form watches are roughly 10 percent of the annual offering.

If we take these numbers to base an extrapolation on, then we have roughly 10 percent of the watch models in any given year vying for potentially 30 percent of the market. Of course, we have no way of knowing just how many pieces are made and sold directly but it seems a good bet that only Cartier will be selling form watches in significant numbers.

Drive de Cartier pushes the cushion-shaped aesthetic, here in extra flat form.

Drive de Cartier pushes the cushion-shaped aesthetic, here in extra flat form.

This brings us to sales, briefly. Forbes ranks Rolex as the top-selling brand of high-end Swiss watches and Omega as the third. Guess what brand occupies the second rung? Yes, the standard-bearer of form watches itself, the Panthere of fine watchmaking, Cartier sells the most watches annually, other than Rolex.

Square and Rectangle Watches

The Tank is probably the most famous form watch in the world, rivaled only by the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. If one throws in the very popular and aforementioned Santos, also from Cartier, as well as the Twenty4, Nautilus and Aquanaut from Patek Philippe, and the Cintrex Curvex from Franck Muller, these are probably the most widely known form watches on the planet. Leaving all these aside and returning to just Cartier, this powerful brand has sought to increase its market share by unleashing an array of round watches but of these, the Ballon Bleu is so rounded that it resembles a sort of magical pebble that tells the time. The shape of this watch is, arguably, what made it an unqualified success. Nevertheless, Cartier clearly feels like its best shot at gaining market share lies with round watches, lending no small amount of credence to Kern’s statement.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5168G

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5168G

The Bulgari Octo Tourbillon Sapphire shows off its form with a sapphire case middle

The Bulgari Octo Tourbillon Sapphire shows off its form with a sapphire case middle

 

In the early days of wristwatches (pocket watches were almost universally round and so are contemporary executions, Tom Ford’s attempt to transform the Apple Watch notwithstanding), firms experimented with wildly differing shapes, only a few of which remain well known today. In the era of properly water resistant watches though, most wristwatches are round and that is just because it is much simpler to achieve ISO water resistance standards when the case of the watch is round. Once again, function keeps interfering with the notion of the form watch

The reason for this water resistance bit could very well fill another article but, to cover it briefly and intuitively, just think of how easily a rubber gasket would work with a round watch as opposed to a rectangular one. It is for this reason that even brands with a yen for specific shapes (or even just one shape in particular) opt for the round shape when necessary.

Bell & Ross makes a point about exceptional water resistance (300 metres) with the BR 03-92 Diver

Bell & Ross makes a point about exceptional water resistance (300 metres) with the BR 03-92 Diver

Function versus Form

An excellent, if obvious, case in point here is the Richard Mille diver watch while the equally obvious counterpoint is Bell & Ross. In fact, Bell & Ross raised the roof at BaselWorld this year by releasing a diver’s watch that maintained the brand’s signature square look. It is important to note that in this case, no pun intended, the display of time is round allowing Bell & Ross to package both form and function into the mix; obviously, the brand had to work hard to achieve exceptional water resistance in this unusual shape and that should only increase its appeal.

This example aside, function is arguably the strongest reason explaining why the watchmaking trade has doubled down on the round shape in recent years, The aforementioned standard bearers of form watches such as Jaeger-LeCoultre and Cartier are both betting big on round while Omega – once a stellar producer of shaped watches – now only features the odd bullhead and Ploprof for variation. Omega is the third largest maker of high-end mechanical timepieces in Switzerland and it has no other shape in its regular collections but round.

Richard Mille RM50-03

Richard Mille RM50-03

As for the number one spot, Rolex reintroduced the world to the rectangular Prince in 2005 in what was then considered to be yet another of the brand’s calculated surprise moves. It followed up by proposing the Cellini as a brand new tuxedo-friendly family in its collection. Unfortunately, Rolex unceremoniously ditched the rectangular Prince, with the model not even worthy of a mention on its website. If you have never heard of the Rolex Prince, it is as if it never existed…

What is particularly unfortunate here is that this is Rolex, a brand unafraid to go its own way. Perhaps no other major brand would take a chance on something major that would require some getting used to, such as the Sky-Dweller and the Yacht-Master II. If the rectangular Prince can’t make it here then the majors are truly closed for business on the form watch side. On the other hand, there are still pristine examples of the Prince available and this quirky little dressy number may yet have its day.

 

Chameleons: A Case in Between

All this points to the obvious truth that few brands care enough about the form segment to flood the market with options, making what’s available all the more precious. This is what Officine Panerai so smartly trades on, even resolving professional tool watch issues without compromising on the shape of the watches. Brands such as this are few and far between, and bring this story to a special class of offerings.

Audemars Piguet leads the way in disguising round watches as form watches... or is it vice versa?

Audemars Piguet leads the way in disguising round watches as form watches… or is it vice versa?

Another great chameleon in this arena is Audemars Piguet, the maker of the highly idiosyncratic Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore watches. The shape here feels distinctive yet it maintains a sort of amorphous state, being perhaps close enough to being round that the unsuspecting eye accepts it as such. Of course, it might also be a round watch masquerading as an octagonal one. Indeed, case, bezel and crystal all come together in masterful fashion to surprise both eye and hand. In short, it is a rather beautiful ambiguity that Audemars Piguet shares here with Panerai.

Other brands too have their place here, including one collection from Patek Philippe with a shared progenitor as the Royal Oak – the Nautilus, and by extension the Aquanaut. Speaking of the great Gerald Genta, it would be remiss to ignore the current Bulgari Octo collection. Bulgari’s determination to convince the world of the virtues of its Octo shape is remarkable, making this brand one of the leading lights of the form watch segment.

Engine of Demand

Taken together, the brands that champion form watches because that is what they must do to survive and, further to that, thrive, perform an invaluable service to watchmaking as a whole – and to collectors by extension. They serve to drive the engine of demand, which is a far more difficult beast to understand than supply.

To put it another way, if while pushing their own goals and growth targets, these corporations also happen to create a little demand for gems of the past such as the A. Lange & Sohne Cabaret or the Rolex Prince, so much the better for collectors, especially those who are already moving in this direction. For those on the sidelines, the success of a particular model can lead to the brand reviving the model in its current collection or increasing its offering, thus building even more cachet and demand. There is actually a proper example of this, which brings us back to Audemars Piguet and Cartier.

The original release of the so-called Series A of the Royal Oak numbered only 1,000 watches yet the ensuing popularity of the model translated to innumerable iterations over the years. This collection – and the Royal Oak Offshore – probably contributes the lion’s share of the brand’s reported figure of 40,000 plus watches sold annually. Finishing our tale at Cartier, where we started, the success of the Tank watch might arguably be correlated to the success of Cartier as a force in high-end watchmaking. While the Royal Oak has just the Royal Oak Offshore as an offshoot, the Tank has quite a number of descendants. The popularity of the Tank with collectors inspired Cartier to create extensive options here, with no less than six different families of Tank watches available, with multiple references in each family. Not bad at all for a watch that started with just six models for sale in Paris in 1919.

Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30 Degree Asymmetrical

Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30 Degree Asymmetrical

Minor Leagues: Where Independent watchmakers stand on Shaped Watches

Where the big brands have circled the wagons, so to speak, it is quite a different story at smaller outfits such as Azimuth, Bell & Ross, MB&F, SevenFriday, Urwerk and others. Certainly some, especially classical names such as Philippe Dufour and Laurent Ferrier, trade on a certain inner beauty but even here, some are not afraid to bust out of the circle. This is most obvious in the watches of Greubel Forsey, where the cases literally bulge in odd ways when the function calls for it. Obviously, when one makes very small numbers of watches it is possible to take certain risks. Here’s how Max Busser of MB&F puts it:

“It’s a question of horological integrity; I’ve said from the beginning that MB&F is not going to put round movements in funky shaped cases because we’re not designers. We’re mechanical artists. This is what separates marketers from creators; If you want to please the market you probably won’t take creative risks. The bigger the company, the more you will be inclined to please the market.”

Busser’s point here extends to watches at many different prices points, as evidenced by Kickstarter notables such as Momentum Labs, Helgray and Xeric. Obviously, Kickstarter projects are defined by the marketplace so the vast majority of projects there are round watches but there are significant alternatives, which one can discover by looking at the offering from those three names.

 

Form Watch Movements

Proportionally, it is rewarding when watchmakers equip a rectangular watch with a movement with exactly the right shape. In first half of the 20th century, it was quite normal to expect form watches to come with movements in the corresponding shape. The idea was to have the mechanical movement function as a sort of kinetic sculpture, one where function followed form. Today, form movements are the exception rather than the rule, even within the increasingly limited area of form watches. Given that form watches as a whole are like an endangered horological species, this story concerns itself with the shape of the watch as a whole rather than the shape of the movement.

The Tank Louis Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 944 are both examples of kinetic sculptures

The Tank Louis Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 944 are both examples of kinetic sculptures

Nevertheless, an entire class of collectors follows this segment and connoisseurs of mechanical watches are always pleased when watchmakers make an effort to match the shape of the movement with the shape of the watch so in this section we will look at the history of such efforts and suggest why they have fallen out of favor, although the simple answer as to why your cushion-shaped watch comes with a round movement is not hard to fathom: it makes sense from a cost and reliability perspective.

With apologies to Louis Cartier and to play devil’s advocate, what value does it really speak to that function should follow form? It is by no means a recent development that we consider function more important than form. To reference the main part of this story, this speaks to why the Apple Watch is rectangular.

Jobs’ design ideology finds its spiritual cousin in the watchmaking philosophy of Jaeger-LeCoultre, at least when it comes to the Reverso. Other than the Squadra, the Art Deco icon has always been equipped with a form movement and its case shape was dictated by function. The Reverso has the shape that it does to facilitate its defining reversible function. Function though is where form movements run into trouble, for one obvious reason: automatic winding, or rather the lack thereof.

The newly launched Tiffany Square Watch comes with its bonafide form, square shaped movement. A rarity even amongst specialist watchmakers.

The newly launched Tiffany Square Watch comes with its bonafide form, square shaped movement. A rarity even amongst specialist watchmakers.

Since at least the 1960s, the watch buying public has sought out automatic models. Once again, you can look to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso models over the years to see how this played. For the most part, the Reverso has been equipped with manual-winding calibers, all form ones of course. For self-winding models, in the Reverso Squadra and elsewhere, the Grand Maison uses round movements. Cartier sidestepped the issue though because Edmond Jaeger designed and equipped the early Cartier form watches with round LeCoultre movements.

Check out the latest Tiffany Square Watch which joined body (and movement), the pantheon of shaped watches.

 

Officine Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge North American Circuit Begins

REGATES ROYALES 2016 CANNES PANERAI CLASSIC YACHTS CHALLENGE

Since 2005, Officine Panerai has been a patron of the namesake Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, a global yachting regatta which calls to mind Panerai’s passion for the sea, dating back to its heritage as a supplier of naval instruments in the Mediterranean during the mid 1930s, the most famous of which, the very military diving watches we wear today, used by Italian Naval commandos of the era.

The Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge (PCYC) is a global series that has grown to 11 classic yachting regattas. This 2017, PCYC kicks off its North American circuit, the leg of an international competition which spans a 4-part Mediterranean Circuit, a 5-part North American Circuit (this year with the inclusion of Bristol, RI) and single classic yacht racing events in Antigua and the Isle of Wight, UK, the latter two of which having taken place earlier this season.

 PANERAI CLASSIC YACHTS CHALLENGE

Officine Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge North American Circuit Begins

Each year, the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge draws over 200 different yachts from around the world to compete for the coveted regatta trophies. But why classic yachts you might wonder? According to colleagues at sister publication Yacht Style, Luxuo discovered that modern yachts, made from fibreglass, are typically designed with interiors and creature comforts in mind and as such, they do not sail as well as the classic wooden yachts which are conceptualised for the sole purpose of swift travails over the water.

While it is true that modern boats are slightly easier to maintain, there are similarities in the maintenance requirements of both genres of vessels and the costs in upkeep for both classic yachts and their more contemporary brethren aren’t all that different.

Ph: Guido Cantini / seasee.com

The fibreglass hull of a modern yacht might not require regular re-painting as the wooden hull of a classic yacht but they still need to be washed and waxed to remove oxidation. That said, the varnish of a wooden deck like those on classic yachts require more protection against damaging UV rays and this is greatly dependent on the sort of cover provided at the facilities where you moor, thus, the expense of classic yachts tends to be the result of storage rather than base cost.

Steeped in tradition, the allure of a wooden vessel and the history of a solid heritage timepiece blends together in a seductive cocktail of classic regatta events which draws sailors and spectators alike on the New England coastline every summer to kick off the North American leg of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge in Marblehead, MA. This 2017 is Panerai’s 12th year of hosting classic yacht regattas in North America with fourteen participating yachts choosing to fly their bright colored sails to the excitement of spectators.

Ph: Guido Cantini/Panerai/Sea&See.com

Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge North America, Marblehead

The North American circuit opened with a pursuit format regatta at Marblehead with a tight finish between Tilly XV (1912 Wilhelm von Hacht Sonder Class) and Adamant (1937 Fred Goeller Adams Interclub) after 18 miles

The remaining classic yacht regatta races for 2017 Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge North American Circuit consists of:

  • The Nantucket Regatta (August 18th 20th, Nantucket, MA)
  • The Opera House Cup (August 20th, Nantucket, MA)
  • Herreshoff Classic Yacht Regatta (August 25th, Bristol, RI)
  • The Newport Classic Yacht Regatta (August 26th 27th Newport, RI).

Ph: Guido Cantini / seasee.com

Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Vintage Division Prizes awarded

  • Grand Classics Class: Marilee (1926 Herreshoff NY40)
  • Corinthian Class: Neith (1907 Herreshoff Bermudan Cutter)
  • Day Racer Class: Tilly XV (1912 Wilhelm von Hacht Sonder Class)

Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Grand Prix Division Prizes awarded

  • Grand Prix Yachts: Valiant (1970 Olin J. Stephens 12-Meter)
  • Overall Best Performance (Panerai Watch Recipient):
  • Valiant (1970 Olin J. Stephens 12-Meter)

Last year’s defender of the Grand Prix class, the 1970 Sparkman & Stephens 12-Metre Valiant who hails from Marblehead, MA took home both the Grand Prix and Best Overall Awards.

 

Make the Sea Yours: Panerai Mare Nostrum 2017

It’s thought to be among the most desirable after chronographs to never have been made (beyond a prototype) – at least until modern times. The Panerai Mare Nostrum has through its combination of good looks and name, translated from Latin, “Our Sea” – a reference to the conquests of Mediterranean waters by the Romans, is both evocative of the romanticism and aesthetic appeal (not to mention reliability) which forms the foundations of a brand forged in the crucible of war.

Make the Sea Yours: Panerai Mare Nostrum 2017

A limited edition chronograph remade from another limited edition chronograph (the original being the 52mm behemoth 1943 prototype intended for naval officers which never got made), the original 42mm civilian re-edition was launched in 1993 and another within the batch – the Mare Nostrum Slytech 5218-304; In 1997, Richemont (then Vendome) acquired the brand and released a Mare Nostrum with a face-lifted dial, moving minute rails towards the periphery and most notably, giving the bezel a polished inner ring with indexes matched to the tachymeter scale on the outer ring. The 2017 re-issue Panerai Mare Nostrum Acciaio PAM 716 follows in the same faithful recreation of the civilian classic (read: 1993 version) save for the additional text on caseback and crown.

The latest Panerai Mare Nostrum chronograph PAM 716 enjoys the same blue dial as the first edition but a notable aesthetic detail can be found in the effort taken to “age” the Superluminova on the hands and indexes to a tan which mimics the tritium lume on the 1993 pre-Vendome original which was initially white but as matured into a creamy brown.

In addition to the physical and aesthetic similarities (42mm stainless steel case with round chronograph pushers and 60km/h tachymeter bezel), the limited edition 1000 piece Mare Nostrum also returns with the same hand-wound, COSC-certified OP XXXIII calibre, exclusive to Panerai, based on ETA 2801-2 with Dubois-Dépraz module which was found on the original model; and like said original, it also comes in a similar Luigi Durand De La Penne, an Italian Navy destroyer shaped box from the same period of that first civilian Mare Nostrum.

 

 

Panerai Innovations and New Luminor Submersible 1950 range

 Panerai let us dunk the Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-TECH 3 Days Automatic in water for our cover shoot

Panerai let us dunk the Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-TECH 3 Days Automatic in water for our cover shoot

One would think that a purchase decision was often made on the basis of: there are new Panerai Innovations and the new Luminor Submersible 1950 range has them; but they’re not, instead, you are more likely to get this:

The best watches in the world naturally earn their places on the wrists of the best people. Unsurprisingly, some of these folks are proper heroes. Now, wouldn’t you like to wear the watch of a proper hero? This is a concept in marketing timepieces that goes back decades, perhaps even centuries. In fact, the idea that objects can have an intrinsic value – independent of its origins, its makers or its purveyors – that one might add to oneself by simply possessing them is positively ancient.

Historically speaking, Panerai Luminor Submersible users were more likely to be elite commando-assassins who worked under cover of darkness, thus the hero origin story is more than just marketing spiel

Historically speaking, Panerai Luminor Submersible users were more likely to be elite commandos who worked under cover of darkness, thus the hero origin story is more than just marketing spiel

Returning to watches, many brands are keen to position their offerings in a way that directly associates their brand with some notion of heroism. Very few can say that their watches were made for real men of action, and that these watches made a real difference to those who wore them. As far as we know, only one name in watchmaking can claim its origins in this way – a story cloaked for years in secrecy, with watches that were never made for the general public. Of course, if you are reading this article, then you already know that our subject is Officine Panerai.

Panerai Innovations and New Luminor Submersible 1950 range

So, why do we bother going about this preamble, especially given that we reliably cover Panerai, well, all the time. It is certainly not because we – or you, for that matter – need a reintroduction. Historically speaking, Panerai users were more likely to be elite commandos who worked under cover of darkness; thus, the Panerai story is simply incredible, and to hear it again reminds us how powerful a good origin story can be. Well, there is also a lot of pure marketing noise about the very values Panerai embodies, quite naturally, spread all across every level of watchmaking that one has to leaf through the real story again.

What Makes the Luminor Submersible

Few watches like the wet and cold as much as the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 range, as we discovered when Panerai let us dunk the Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-TECH 3 Days Automatic in water for our cover shoot. In fact, the brand was a little disappointed that we didn’t go all the way here and just submerge it. After all, the watch is called a Submersible – PAM692 to be specific – so why shouldn’t we get it wet?

The BMG-TECH part of the name indicates that this is the first mechanical wristwatch in the world to use the radical bulk metallic glass material, a Panerai innovation.

The BMG-TECH part of the name indicates that this is the first mechanical wristwatch in the world to use the radical bulk metallic glass material, a Panerai innovation in watchmaking

In any case, there is something pretty important about this watch that we have to address immediately, leaving aside the functions and aesthetics – a real Panerai innovation in watchmaking. The BMG-TECH part of the name indicates that this is the first mechanical wristwatch in the world to use the radical bulk metallic glass material. We have to take a minute to appreciate that before we get to the nuts and bolts of the watch itself. The short version is this: it isn’t metal, it isn’t glass, and it is not both, except that it kind of is.

BMG stands for bulk metallic glass. Materially, it has a disordered atomic structure, obtained through a high-pressure injection process at a high temperature, followed by a cooling process lasting for only a few seconds, so that the atoms do not have enough time to become arranged in an ordered, regular structure. The disordered structure of BMG-TECH™ is the secret to its great robustness and extreme resistance to corrosion, external shocks and magnetic fields, and enables it to preserve its appearance over time.

Looking at PAM692, it is far from apparent what is happening here at the sub-atomic level. The case, bezel, winding crown, and trademarked crown protector look for all the world like some sort of titanium; the solid case back is in titanium and features the famous engraving of the SLC slow speed torpedo and the word Firenze 1860, both of which need no explanation because the action is elsewhere in this ticker. Indeed, the most striking bit about the watch is the delicious shade of blue worn by the dial. It was ridiculously difficult to capture this shade of blue – which looks like the shimmer of some unknown ocean – in our shoot and we commend our photographer for his superlative efforts.

The most striking bit about this Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 with BMG-tech is the delicious shade of blue worn by the dial

The most striking bit about this Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 with BMG-tech is the delicious shade of blue worn by the dial

 

The Panerai innovation BMG-TECH of the 47mm case is what makes PAM692 so strong and so light, with a texture that feels distinct from titanium. However, the case still feels like metal unlike the many polymer-cased wonders trotted out by watchmaking firms. This should appeal to purists but, on the other hand, some may indeed feel that the material is too close to titanium in terms of its feel.

Returning to PAM692, the watch achieves an admirable water resistance of 300m, which makes this a proper diving watch and adds to its tool-watch cool. It shares this water resistance rating with all other Submersibles this year, except the red gold version, which is rated to 100m. Of course, like any cool tool watch, PAM692 is equipped with an appropriately reliable in-house movement. This is the in-house automatic P.9010 calibre, which actually unites it with all the other Submersibles in this story. This calibre is itself an evolution of calibre P.9000, which powered the last range of Panerai Submersibles released in 2015.

the Panerai Luminor 1950 Submersible Amagnetic 3 Days Automatic Titanio, a follow up its first Amagnetic model in 2015, the vaunted PAM389, and it caused quite a stir by shrugging off the effects of magnetic fields of less than 40,000 A/m, a sign of Panerai innovation

The Panerai Luminor 1950 Submersible Amagnetic 3 Days Automatic Titanio, a follow up its first Amagnetic model in 2015, the vaunted PAM389, and it caused quite a stir by shrugging off the effects of magnetic fields of less than 40,000 A/m, a sign of Panerai innovation

This is brings us to PAM1389, the Panerai Luminor 1950 Submersible Amagnetic 3 Days Automatic Titanio. Panerai introduced its first Amagnetic model in 2015, the vaunted PAM389, and it caused quite a stir by shrugging off the effects of magnetic fields of less than 40,000 A/m (amperes per metre). The industry standard for anti-magnetic measures is a trifling 4,800 A/m and PAM389 easily beats this, meaning X-ray machines don’t threaten it, much less more mundane electronics – all electronic devices generate a magnetic field. The key to Panerai’s accomplishment here is the Faraday cage that surrounds the movement, in the form of a soft iron inner case. This sort of construction will be very familiar to collectors, of course, but PAM389 was actually the first Panerai watch to be so equipped. Take note though that MRI machines are still dangerous to this watch as these generate fields of up to 1,595,250 A/m.

For PAM1389, which replaces PAM389, Panerai tried to streamline matters. The case of the new model is more than 2mm thinner while the movement itself is almost 2mm thinner. In a novel move, the inner case is just below the dial, which is also in the same soft iron.

The Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Bronzo PAM671 is an update of the first version, the PAM382 released at the SIHH in 2011. Secondary market values for the 2011 edition already exceed the original retail price.

The Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Bronzo PAM671 is an update of the first version, the PAM382 released at the SIHH in 2011. Secondary market values for the 2011 edition already exceed the original retail price.

Next up is another evolution, this time the Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Bronzo PAM671. The first version was PAM382, released at the SIHH in 2011 to audible gasps and general acclaim later that year as collectors got their hands on the actual watches. Well, there were just 1,000 pieces available, and of course, they are all spoken for today. Panerai capitalised on the success with another big bronze model, PAM507, in 2013. PAM671 features a blue dial where the previous bronze models had green dials. The copper-pure tin alloy used in previous models makes a return here, but of course, the movement is the new P.9010.

As expected, PAM671 is a special edition that is limited to 1,000 pieces so, if you are interested, best to get moving, if you haven’t already; PAM382 reportedly sold out within days, so you may already be too late here…

The last of the 47mm Submersibles this year is the Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio PAM1305. Alongside the smaller steel model, this watch presents the most classic choice in the range, as far as materials for proper diving watches go. Of course, it shares the same characteristics such as small seconds at nine o’clock and date at three o’clock as the other Submersibles.

Speaking of that smaller model, there are actually two being offered this year that seem perfectly innocuous at first glance. Both the Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Acciaio PAM682 and the Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Oro Rosso PAM684 are 42mm in diameter. This fact has already amazed some observers, and we can testify that it sits well on smaller wrists. In terms of features and such, these two share the same black dial as PAM1305, meaning that there are basically blue and black dials across the collection. The steel model is distinguished by the small seconds hand, which is in Panerai blue, while the red gold version sports a matt black ceramic disc.

Before closing off the story of the Panerai Submersibles this year, a note about Super-LumiNova on the hands and markers that distinguishes the 2017 collection from the 2015 one. Previously, everything glowed a vivid green, as illustrated by our 2015 story. Panerai decided that better legibility called for a mix of colours, so white and blue Super-LumiNova have taken over from green. The stud on the bezel at 12 o’clock glows blue, as does the minute hand. This makes the watch far more legible when it is most crucial, beneath the waves. After all, aesthetics is one thing, but the story of Panerai is defined by the performance of its offerings. Diving watches are such an important part of the Panerai story (see the illustrated chart, Line of Descent) that the Submersible range will only go from strength to strength. We are sure that we will be seeing far more innovations debuting in the range over the years, but perhaps we can finally say that this is the end of the beginning…

Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2017 in Antigua features the PAM653 and PAM654

Watchmaker Officine Panerai has been plying the high seas with the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge for 13 years now; for the landlubbers out there, this is the world’s leading circuit for classic and vintage yachts. The 2017 season got underway with the 30th Antigua Classic Yachts Regatta in April, which is the first of the 11 legs that make up the Challenge. Bermudan yawl Mariella won the overall prize at this regatta.

The Alfred Mylne-designed craft (launched at the William Fife and Son yard in Scotland) picked up the Panerai Prize for overall victory but also saw off strong challenges from The Blue Peter and Latifa to triumph in her own class (Vintage B). Fifty classic yachts gathered in Antigua for the opening leg, classed into Vintage, Classic, Traditional, Classic GRP, Spirit of Tradition and Tall Ships categories. Obviously, Panerai has the right sort of watches for the Challenge, named as it is for the brand! This year, the PCYC (no prizes for guessing what that stands for) watches are PAM653 and PAM654, both flyback chronographs powered by the in-house automatic calibre P9100.

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Officine Panerai names Wallace Huo as official ambassador for Greater China

Luxury watchmaker Officine Panerai reveals its first official ambassador for the Greater China region — actor Wallace Huo. The Taiwanese actor has starred in a myriad of Chinese movies and TV dramas, making him one of the most recognisable faces in China. Panerai, which has its roots in Florence, Italy, ushered in a new era with four promotional videos featuring the actor. Angelo Bonati, CEO of Officine Panerai also arrived in Beijing to celebrate this new partnership.

As the protagonist, Huo—donning Panerai watches—journeys through the streets of Florence. He perfectly captures the tradition and culture infused in Panerai’s vision. Visiting opulent locations such as a Florentine villa, the star muses, “Panerai is a timeless brand, coherent with its history and identity that has always offered an uncompromised quality to its fans. The same approach that I apply to my career. Only authenticity and passion stir true emotions”.

Huo is seen wearing a range of Panerai watches: the Luminor 1950 Equation of Time 8 days GMT Titanio, Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic Oro Rosso, as well as the Luminor Marina 1950 Carbotech 3 Days Automatic. The first is a tribute to the bond between time measurement and astronomy. Interestingly, the timepiece displays both mean solar time— by which a day may be up to 15 minutes longer or shorter—and apparent solar time. The difference between these two measurements is displayed using a linear indicator on the dial at six o’clock.

“Wallace Huo is a great artist, an elegant man with a distinctive personal style that perfectly mirrors the identity of the Panerai watches”, declares Bonati. “His career is a testament of talent, and the commitment he infuses in everything he does, make those who are lucky enough to know him admire his authenticity and passion. We are honored to give him the task of representing our brand in Greater China.”

After over a century and a half, Panerai continues to marry Swiss craftsmanship with state of the art Italian design. This collaboration sees the brand take another step towards addressing its international audience.

For more information, visit Panerai.

Novelty watches for him: Panerai unveils LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days PAM700 with 50-year warranty

Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days PAM700

Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days PAM700

A famous tale in watchmaking circles tells of how watchmakers of previous centuries sought to craft the perfect oil. Creating a clock or watch that kept perfect time had one obvious enemy relentlessly hounding the craftspeople of that era: friction. The watchmakers reasoned that a perfect watch required the perfect oil or lubricant and, with this in mind, attempted to derive improved synthetic lubricants. Some 10 years ago, watchmaking firms began to announce exactly how they would achieve perfect timekeepers by eliminating lubrication altogether. In 2017, Panerai has achieved this with PAM700 and offers a 50-year guarantee to drive home the point.

Any watch that dares offer a 50-year warranty is going to get a lot of press, so here is our shot at it. By now, you would have already read about the Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days PAM700, so you’ll no doubt be well informed of this novelty’s claim to fame. Rightly then, our story begins beneath the dial, where all the action is. While there are a great many things new about manual-winding calibre P.3001/C, the basic structure is obviously not new. This calibre is based on the P.3000 movement, but with what Panerai says are significant advancements. For one thing, this is the first Panerai watch to feature silicon parts the escape wheel and the pallet fork. From this auspicious starting point, the watchmakers at Panerai’s Neuchâtel manufacture also added DLC to the going train, the spring barrels and the four jewels of the Incabloc shock absorption system. For good measure, they also used a tantalum-based ceramic for the main bridges and plate. It is all these new materials that allow PAM700 to dispense with lubrication entirely.

Properly speaking though, it isn’t that lubrication isn’t present, merely that the need for oil has been negated. Silicon, ceramic and DLC all have excellent friction co-efficiency, making it unnecessary to add oil into the mix. One might call these self-lubricating or dry-lubricated, but whatever word you choose, the movement does in theory do away with the oil. Given that such mechanical movements have been around for more or less 10 years now, Panerai’s confidence probably has a solid foundation. Back to that dial though, this one is more than just a deeper shade of black. In fact, Panerai has used a coating of carbon nanotubes that absorbs light to deliver the inky darkness of space, which of course contrasts with the blue Super-LumiNova of the signature sandwich dial.

Specifications

Movement Manual-winding Panerai Calibre P3001/C; 72-hour power reserve
Case 49-millimetre in carbotech; water resistant to 100 metres
Strap Black leather with blue stitching
Price Unavailable

This article was originally published in WOW.

SIHH 2017 Preview: Officine Panerai introduces PAM685 and PAM687

Watches tell the story of time, interpreting it in deliberate ways and delivering it in innumerable styles. While the 12 chapters on the dial (typically) stay the same, everything else depends on the name and logo on said dial. Of the various authors, if we can call them that, Officine Panerai offers among the most compelling narratives. In 2017, the most resolutely Swiss of Italian brands draws attention to its most primal story, which in the case of PAM685 is writ large on the bezel.

Properly called the Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio PAM685 and PAM687, these Special Editions are modeled on 1930s prototypes for the Italian navy. According to Panerai, those prototypes featured 12-side bezels with the words Officine Panerai – Brevettato (Panerai Workshop – Patented) engraved. Both PAM685 and PAM687 recall this early chapter in the story of Panerai with admirable clarity, as you can see in the pictures here.

Briefly, this is the mythical tale of the Panerai reference 3646, a sort of proving ground watch for what Panerai eventually supplied to the Italian Navy. In recreating this look, Panerai has put together two elements in a way never before seen in the contemporary Panerai watch: engraving and the 12-sided bezel. To our knowledge, this is the only time Panerai has introduced engraved wording on a 12-sided bezel. This same bezel is also used on the caseback, which features a sapphire crystal window to admire the manual-winding calibre P.3000.

PAM00687

Officine Panerai PAM685 and PAM687 have the same view via the caseback, that of the P.3000 calibre

Panerai says reference 3646 (in something very much like this form) was probably used by naval authorities during the test period for the watches, which means anything from 1935 to 1938.

It is thus important to note that Panerai has merely recreated the look of the prototypes; PAM685 and PAM687 are perfectly water resistant (though only to 30 meters), have solidly dependable in-house P.3000 movements and do not feature radioactive materials (SuperLuminova is used instead). Yes, Panerai did not select the name Radiomir by accident as the originals did indeed feature radium, a toxic radioactive element.

As you may have guessed, these time-only Special Editions are in fact limited propositions and both feature 47mm Radiomir cases in stainless steel, complete with wire lugs. The only difference between the two versions is the dial color. PAM685 sports a black dial while PAM687 features a faded brown dial that Panerai calls “tropical”. Of course, both dials are in the typical sandwich construction favored by Panerai.

PAM685 AND PAM687

PAM685 AND PAM687

Specs

  • Dimensions: 47mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes
  • Power reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Manual winding calibre P.3000
  • Case: 316L steel
  • Water resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Untreated leather with large prong buckle

 

Review: Panerai Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic

Panerai has been consistently making its own movements for more than 10 years now. One of the most surprising calibres – apart from the outstanding P.2005/MR – is the P.4000 released two years ago. This self-winding movement comes with an off-centred micro-rotor, a component used almost exclusively to reduce overall height. The micro-rotor allows for reduced movement height because it is set into the movement instead of sitting on top of it. With a thickness of only 3.95mm, it is not quite the thinnest on the market, but it is more than capable of allowing Panerai to produce more slender timepieces, which begs the question: Why is Panerai making slender timepieces?panerai-calibre-p-4000-white
The ample proportions of the Luminor, Panerai’s undisputed flagship, are a source of pride and pleasure for collectors. Indeed, many are especially proud to wear the chunky 47mm models. There, however, remains a segment of watch aficionados who relish a Luminor that is not only stylistically accurate but also extra elegant. It is for these individuals that the new Luminor Due is created.

Up to 40 per cent slimmer than some Luminors, the Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic stands at just 10.7mm in height. Again, this does not make it the thinnest watch on the market, but compared to the average Luminor or Luminor 1950, the difference in thickness simply cannot be overlooked.

There are two variations of the Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic: PAM674 in steel and PAM675 in red gold. Both are fully polished, further emphasising the elegant notes of the watch, and come with dials finished with a satiné soleil treatment, in black for the steel piece and anthracite grey for the red gold. The sandwich construction allows Super-LumiNova to peek through the stencilled indexes and numerals. Apart from a small seconds sub-dial at nine o’clock, the dial keeps clutter to a minimal – just the way Panerai aficionados like it.panerai-calibre-p-4000-back

Further distinguishing PAM674 from PAM675 is the movement decoration. Through the sapphire crystal case back, it is immediately apparent that the red gold piece contains a beautiful partially skeletonised movement, as well as an oscillating weight in 22K red gold decorated with a traditional clous de Paris pattern. On the other hand, PAM674 has the regular P.4000 with industrial-style finishing.
Named Luminor Due because it is perceived as “Part Two” of the Luminor story, these watches are best appreciated on the wrist, as this is where their unique allure truly becomes tangible.

Specifications:

Dimensions: 45mm
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Movement:
 Self-winding Calibre P.4000 or P.4000/10
Power Reserve: 72 hour
Case: 316L steel or red gold;
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather with steel or red gold pin buckle

This article was first published in World of Watches.

Franck Muller

9 Stealth All-Black Watches: Dark Beasts

All-black watches are cool. It is that simple. Whether they sport in-house power plants and are the result of internal research and development or use third-party solutions, these watches are captivating. As we show in this spread engineered (and published) by WOW (World of Watches), there are plenty of forms for these dark horses of space-time to take. How did it all start? Well we won’t bore you with the details but watches with black dials offered better visibility for wearers and less glare to unwittingly call attention to the wearer.

These qualities appealed to the military mind of course and so of course many aviator timepieces had black dials. It wasn’t until 1972 that an all-black watch – with case, dial and bracelet entirely in black – emerged. That was the legendary Porsche Design Chronograph 1. Here are nine watches proudly flying the black flag into the 21st century.

BulgariBulgari Octo Ultranero Velocissimo

Bulgari Octo Ultranero Velocissimo

  • Dimensions: 41mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 50 hours
  • Movement: Automatic BVL 328 based on Zenith El Primero calibre
  • Material: DLC-coated steel
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Rubber
PaneraiPanerai Luminor 1950 10 Days

Panerai Luminor 1950 10 Days GMT Ceramica

  • Dimensions: 44mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, GMT, 24-hour hand, power reserve indicator
  • Power Reserve: 10 days
  • Movement: Automatic Panerai P.2003 calibre
  • Material: Black ceramic
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Buffalo, black
HYTHYT H4 Gotham

HYT H4 Gotham

  • Dimensions: 51mm
  • Functions: Retrograde hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve indicator
  • Power Reserve: 65 hours
  • Movement: Manual-winding, HYT calibre
  • Material: 3DPT carbon
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters
  • Strap: Black rubber with integrated Nomex fabric
Franck MullerFranck Muller

Franck Muller Black Croco

  • Dimensions: 55mm x 39mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Automatic calibre FM 800
  • Material: PVD-treated steel
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Crocodile, black
ChopardChopard Superfast Chrono Split Second

Chopard Superfast Chrono Split Second

  • Dimensions: 45mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph with split seconds,
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Material: DLC-coated steel
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Calfskin, black
BremontBremont ALT1-B

Bremont ALT1-B in DLC-coated steel; $9,000

  • Dimensions: 43mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Automatic calibre BE-54AE
  • Material: DLC-coated steel
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Calfskin, black
Bell & RossBell & Ross BR-X1 Carbon Forgé

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Carbon Forgé

  • Dimensions: 45mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: NA
  • Movement: Automatic calibre BR-CAL.313
  • Material: Carbon, titanium and ceramic
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Strap: Alligator and grey rubber
MontblancMontblanc TimeWalker Urban Speed UTC

Montblanc TimeWalker Urban Speed UTC

  • Dimensions: 41mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds, date, second time zone
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Movement: Automatic calibre MB 24.05
  • Material: DLC-coated steel
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Leather, black
SevenFridaySevenFriday V3/01

SevenFriday V3/01

  • Dimensions: 44.3mm x 49.7mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, day/night indicator
  • Power Reserve: 40 hours
  • Movement: Automatic Miyota 82S7
  • Material: PVD-treated steel
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Leather, black

Story Credits

Photography Greenplasticsoldiers

Art Direction Joaelle Ng

This article was first published in WOW.

7 Perfect Sports Chronograph Qualities

Dreams do come true sometimes and when envisioning the perfect sports chronograph, we found ourselves listing out the qualities it would have to possess. Rather than to keep it all to ourselves, we knew it would entertain those who share our passion for fine watches. We present the seven sports chronograph qualities in our checklist.

The Movement

An El Primero movement from 1969. Note the column wheel at 12 o’clock. The intermediate wheel that meshes with the chronograph wheel to drive it is in red

An El Primero movement from 1969. Note the column wheel at 12 o’clock. The intermediate wheel that meshes with the chronograph wheel to drive it is in red

The movement may lie hidden within the case, but it makes its presence felt in very palpable ways, from the functions available to the dial’s layout and the pushers’ tactility. Variations abound, but some options are definitely preferred over others here.

Switching and transmission

TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrogirder

TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrogirder

For a start, there’s the familiar stomping ground of a chronograph’s actuation and coupling to consider. Actuation refers to the “switch” that controls the chronograph. Cam actuation uses the eponymous component, which is fairly easy to produce and assemble, but has a drawback of uneven tactility – the initial force required to start the chronograph is noticeably higher than what’s needed to stop or reset it. A column wheel, in contrast, is more difficult to manufacture and finish than a cam, but promises a smoother pusher feel akin to what gun enthusiasts describe as “snapping a glass rod” when they talk about a trigger’s tactility.

The coupling system determines how the chronograph mechanism is powered by the base movement. In horizontal coupling, a wheel swings horizontally and engages with the base movement to allow the chronograph to draw energy from the gear train. This engagement can be precisely adjusted, since it’s a system of levers that can be visually inspected by the watchmaker. It has its disadvantages though. For one, the connection puts an additional load on the mainspring all of a sudden. This reduces the energy sent to the balance and hence its swing amplitude, which affects isochronism. The meshing of wheels also causes wear and tear, and leads to a chronograph seconds hand that’s prone to flutter and backlash when the chronograph is first started. The vertical clutch does not have these problems, as the chronograph mechanism is constantly engaged with the base movement, and started by frictional meshing of two discs pressing into each other vertically. It’s considered a better solution but does, however, demand more skill in regulation and adjustment.

Rolex’s Calibre 4130 with column wheel and vertical clutch

Rolex’s Calibre 4130 with column wheel and vertical clutch

Quick ticks

A movement’s beat frequency typically runs from 2.5Hz (18,000vph) to 5Hz (36,000vph) in modern calibres. All else being equal, a movement with a higher beat rate will be more accurate, as the balance gives more “readings” per second, which averages out any erroneous beat’s timing to a greater extent. This is why quartz movements, whose crystals vibrate at 32,768Hz, are far more accurate than mechanical ones. A chronograph’s resolution corresponds to its beat rate – a 4Hz movement can measure elapsed time down to 1/8th of a second, while a 5Hz one goes to 1/10th of a second. Taken to the extreme, this can yield mindboggling results like TAG Heuer’s Carrera Mikrogirder, which beats at 1,000Hz to give a resolution of 1/2000 second.

Further complications

Flyback and rattrapante/split-seconds chronographs are variants on the simple chronograph. The flyback function allows a chronograph’s reset pusher to be actuated while the chronograph is running. This makes all its hands “fly back” to zero and continue running without lag – useful for timing consecutive events such as the legs in a plane’s navigation pattern. The rattrapante chronograph has two chronograph seconds hands. Actuating a third pusher stops one of them to allow an intermediate timing to be read, and pushing it again snaps it forward to catch up with the other instantaneously.

The verdict

Parmigiani Fleurier’s PF361 calibre in the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire

Parmigiani Fleurier’s PF361 calibre in the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire

The ideal movement for the ultimate sports chronograph should have the following: a column wheel for smooth and confident actuation, vertical coupling for greater accuracy and a precise start to the chronograph second hand, high frequency that’s both more accurate and capable of measuring smaller units of time, and split-seconds functionality to time simultaneous events that will arguably see more use than a flyback function.

Note the two column wheels

Note the two column wheels

Parmigiani Fleurier’s PF361 has all of the above, but is limited to just 50 pieces, and is constructed in gold. Relax the requirements, however, and more options present themselves. There’s Zenith’s El Primero, which remains the only high-beat chronograph movement in mass production, but it uses horizontal coupling and is a simple chronograph. Rolex’s Calibre 4130 is both column wheel-actuated and vertically coupled, but beats at 4Hz and lacks a split-second functionality. The list goes on (both Rolex and Zenith movements are detailed here).

Making A Case

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver chronograph in steel, with ceramic pushers

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver chronograph in steel, with ceramic pushers

A great movement is nothing without a case to protect it – and everything else – from the ravages of the outside environment. Of course, details such as water resistance and a scratchproof sapphire crystal are non-negotiable. However, the choice of material and production technique for the case are less clear cut given the permutations of the available options.

Metals and coatings

Bulgari Octo Velocissimo Ultranero

Bulgari Octo Velocissimo Ultranero

By eliminating precious metals like gold and platinum, as well as exotic ones such as tantalum, only stainless steel and titanium are left when it comes to metallic cases. Both are available in several variants. Grade 2 titanium, for instance, is close to steel in terms of its hardness, but it is far less dense, and therefore much lighter. Grade 5 titanium, on the other hand, is significantly harder than its Grade 2 sibling and just as light, but lacks the latter’s unique drab grey appearance.

Both steel and titanium cases can be toughened with a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating applied via physical vapour deposition (PVD), which significantly increases their surfaces’ hardness. This is commonly done nowadays for both practical and aesthetic reasons, and its only drawback is perhaps the hassle and costs of repairing a chipped/damaged coating – the original layer of DLC must be completely stripped before the case is polished and a new coating is reapplied.

Exotic stuff

Instead of steel or titanium, ceramics and carbon can also be used to make a watch’s case. These materials vary in hardness and density, but generally exhibit a high level of toughness with a touch of the exotic. Ceramics are fairly straightforward – compact the powdered formulation in a mould, bake it under high pressure to sinter it into a solid, then machine this mass to create a finished case. Carbon, on the other hand, can be forged, baked, or vacuum-moulded together, often with other “ingredients” such as quartz fibres to enhance its properties. The last step is still machining though, to achieve the desired shape and contours.

New production techniques

Panerai PAM578

Panerai PAM578

The available materials described above are fairly well understood, and new ones being introduced tend to be variations on existing themes, with marginal improvements over current offerings. New production techniques, however, sometimes create paradigm shifts. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), for example, was introduced by Panerai earlier this year in its Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio PAM578. The technique is already in use elsewhere, including the aerospace and medical industries, and works just like 3D printing – a solid component is “built” from a metal powder using a laser, which sinters the powder layer by layer. Unlike subtractive production, which involves removing material by cutting/milling out unwanted parts, DMLS is additive, and capable of producing solid components with hollow interiors. As the PAM578 shows, a hollow titanium case can be made with DMLS, with no loss of structural strength or water resistance thanks to the manipulation of the internal space’s shape.

The verdict

Oris Williams Chronograph Carbon Fibre Extreme

Oris Williams Chronograph Carbon Fibre Extreme

The clear winner here is the latest and greatest technology available – DMLS. Titanium, especially its Grade 5 variant, is already light and hardy enough to stand up to general abuse. With DMLS, further weight savings can be had for an extremely comfortable chronograph with no loss of strength.

Shock Proof

The MRG-G1000HT uses Alpha Gel for shock protection, like other metal-clad G-Shocks

The MRG-G1000HT uses Alpha Gel for shock protection, like other metal-clad G-Shocks

Shock protection such as Kif or Incabloc is ubiquitous in modern calibres, and serves to protect the delicate balance staff, which must be thin to reduce friction, yet support the weight of the entire balance wheel. Why stop there, though? The entire movement can be protected, and there are various ways to do this.

Suspended animation

A movement can only receive shocks through its case, so isolating the two from each other is a very viable method. Richard Mille does this in the RM 27-01 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal by suspending the movement with four braided steel cables, each just 0.35mm thick, and using a system of pulleys and tensioners to adjust their tautness. The brand claims that the watch has a shock resistance of 5,000G – enough to survive a tennis match on Nadal’s wrist.

Instead of minimising the contact between the movement and its case, Franck Muller took things to the other extreme with the Vanguard Backswing, its golf-themed timepiece. The watch has a relatively small movement just 26.2mm across, which is fitted into a case measuring 44mm by 53.7mm; a wide spacer ring containing silicone inserts takes up the rest of the inner case and cushions the movement from shocks and vibrations.

Steel cables suspend the movement inside the Richard Mille RM 27-01

Steel cables suspend the movement inside the Richard Mille RM 27-01

Gelled up

When Casio started developing G-Shocks with metal cases, it had to re-examine the issue of shock resistance, since the protection afforded by the original shock absorbing resin case was no longer available. The solution to circumvent this has evolved over the years, and the latest involves the judicious application of a high-tech material called Alpha Gel. This silicone-based substance is sourced from Taica Corporation, a Japanese R&D firm, and contains extraordinary shock absorption properties – a layer of Alpha Gel barely an inch thick can cushion a one-metre fall of an egg and keep it from breaking. By designing the movement and case to be in contact only at specific points, and “reinforcing” these points with Alpha Gel, the movement is effectively protected against shocks and vibrations.

The verdict

Suspending a movement with tensioned cables or floating it within a wide spacer ring are both effective solutions to creating a shock resistant watch. The main drawback, however, is the volume of space needed within the case to implement them. Alpha Gel thus emerges as a preferred option as it requires less internal space, which allows a larger movement to be used.

Surviving Magnetism

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph has a soft iron inner cage

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph has a soft iron inner cage

Magnetism is the bane of any mechanical watch. A magnetic field wreaks havoc on a movement’s accuracy by affecting the swing of the balance wheel, and continues to do so even after it’s gone should the movement become magnetised. From obvious sources like MRIs, to insidious ones like a handbag’s magnetic clasp, this invisible force permeates our daily life. Naturally, the perfect sports chronograph must guard against it.

There are two ways to render magnetism moot. The first is to shield the movement using a soft iron inner case, like what IWC does with some of its pilot’s watches. Such an inner case protects the movement by redirecting the magnetic field through itself, while remaining non-magnetised due to its soft iron construction. The advantage of this method is its simplicity and low cost – crafting an inner case with this common material is easy. In a sufficiently strong magnetic field, however, the soft iron inner case will be magnetically saturated, and any “residual” magnetic field will still pass through it to affect the movement. In addition, this principle requires a specific design – a sealed inner case that encases the movement – to work well. The dial and case back must thus have no cut outs lest the magnetic field affects the movement through these holes.

Rolex’s Syloxi hairspring

Rolex’s Syloxi hairspring

The alternative to shielding a movement is making its regulating organs amagnetic. The hairspring, pallet fork, and escape wheel can all be made in silicon, which is nonmagnetic, thanks to improved production techniques like DRIE (Deep Reactive Ion Etching). As a silicon hairspring is already cut specifically to promote concentric breathing, the balance assembly is free sprung and not regulated. This necessitates a variable inertia balance wheel with weighted screws on its rim for regulation, so the balance wheel is not rendered in silicon.

The verdict

Silicon pallet and escape wheel visible through the dial cut-out

Silicon pallet and escape wheel visible through the dial cut-out

In most environments, a soft iron inner cage is more than sufficient protection for a watch movement; the design’s longevity attests to its effectiveness. Why stop there, though? Silicon parts aren’t just impervious to magnetism, but also require little to no lubrication while weighing less than their traditional counterparts. The no holds barred option will have to be silicon.

Visibility In Darkness

Barring electronic solutions like LED lights, there are two main methods to making a watch visible in the dark. The first involves Super-LumiNova or other such luminous paints, which glow in the dark after being “charged” with light, whether natural or artificial, ambient or directed. Luminous paint can be applied in any pattern and, with some tweaks in production, anywhere on a watch down to its case and lugs. It can also be recharged an unlimited number of times, and a sufficiently thick layer of it will glow in the dark for hours before fading off.

Luminox Navy SEAL Colormark Nova

Luminox Navy SEAL Colormark Nova

The alternative to Super-LumiNova is self-powered light sources driven by the radioactive decay of tritium gas. To achieve this, tritium is sealed within a glass tube whose inner surface has been coated with a fluorescent material – the (very low levels of) radiation from tritium excites this coating, which glows and gives off light. This glow is constant, and lasts through the night. Tritium, however, has a half-life of just over 12 years – after this period, only half of the tritium gas in each glass tube remains radioactive, which means that the brightness has also been halved accordingly.

The verdict

Why make a choice between the two? As Luminox has demonstrated with its Colormark Nova series of watches – the two technologies are not mutually exclusive. It makes sense to use tritium-powered light for essential indicators such as the hands and hour indexes, which can then be complemented with Super-LumiNova on other indicators, such as bezel markings.

The Bezel

The right bezel can greatly enhance a watch’s functionality; the challenge lies in narrowing down the available options. Should it rotate? If it should, in one or both directions? What type of markings should it have?

Longines Pulsometer Chronograph

Longines Pulsometer Chronograph

The Options

Rotating bezels tend to come in two variations. A diver’s rotating bezel only turns counter-clockwise, and comes with count up markings to allow its user to measure elapsed time by aligning the marker at 12 o’clock with the minute hand. Other timepieces, such as pilot’s watches, tend to have bi-directional rotating bezels containing either count up markings that function similarly, or count down markings that function as reminders for time sensitive events.

The alternative to these are bezels with specific markings that must be used together with the chronograph seconds hand. These are usually fixed bezels, although manufactures including TAG Heuer have made rotating ones in the past.

The most common one is the tachymeter, which allows the wearer to read off its markings for the hourly rate of an activity, by measuring the time it takes to complete one unit of it. Starting the chronograph and stopping it after a car has travelled for one kilometre, for instance, will give the car’s speed in kilometres per hour – the wearer just needs to see where the chronograph seconds hand is pointing to on the tachymeter. The unit does not matter; one can arrive at the number of cookies a person eats in an hour by measuring the time he takes to finish one cookie.

Tudor Fastrider Black Shield with tachymeter on bezel

Tudor Fastrider Black Shield with tachymeter on bezel

The pulsometer and telemeter function similarly to the tachymeter, but are more specialised. A pulsometer gives the heart rate of a person (in beats per minute) by using the chronograph to measure the time it takes for a certain number of heart beats, usually 10 or 30. The telemeter, on the other hand, indicates the distance to an event, such as a lightning strike. The chronograph is started when the event is seen, and stopped when it is heard. By assuming that light travels instantly, while sound’s average speed through air is around 300m per second, a calibrated scale – the telemeter – can be made, and the distance to the event read off it.

The verdict

The tachymeter is an easy pick here for being the “Goldilocks” bezel – it is neither too general to make proper use of the chronograph, like the diver’s bezel, nor too specialised, like the pulsometer. The flexibility inherent to the tachymeter is also an important advantage – any event can be timed and instantly converted to give an hourly rate.

The Strap

The attention that’s lavished onto a timepiece, down to the last screw, usually leaves little love for its strap. Yet, as the interface between watch and wrist, the strap performs a vital function, and can make or break the wearer’s experience. Ideally, the perfect sports chronograph will be paired with a strap that’s comfortable, robust, and also convenient to wear and adjust. Naturally, these requirements preclude a dressy leather strap, but what of the other options out there?

Rolex’s Glidelock fine adjustment system

Rolex’s Glidelock fine adjustment system

The Options

The evergreen choice for a sporty watch, chronograph or not, is a metal bracelet. Whether rendered in steel or titanium, a well-made bracelet stands up to abuse well, and maintains a presence on the wrist with some reassuring heft. Many bracelets also feature fine adjustment clasps, which allows the bracelet to be sized even more precisely for a wrist after adding or removing links. Since it doesn’t require a tool, such a clasp also allows the bracelet’s fit to be changed out in the field, which is perfect for impromptu adjustments when wearing the watch over clothes like a windbreaker, for instance.

The rubber strap is another popular option, thanks to its lightweight, waterproof, and hypoallergenic (when made with synthetic materials) properties. Out of all the available choices, Rolex’s Oysterflex probably takes the cake – it has an internal skeleton of nickel titanium that makes it unbreakable, yet maintains the supple feel of a rubber strap with all the advantages described.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 40 with Oysterflex bracelet

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 40 with Oysterflex bracelet

A third possible alternative is the NATO strap. Usually woven from nylon or an equivalent material, it has a section with two layers, and is fastened to the wrist via a series of rings and a regular ardillon buckle. Compared to the bracelet and rubber strap, it has two benefits – it can be swapped without any tools, and it keeps the watch on the wrist even if a springbar were to fail.

The verdict

Easily replaceable and capable of keeping a watch attached should a springbar breaks, the NATO strap is a clear winner. Brands like Tudor offers some of their timepieces with NATO straps, while myriad aftermarket options are also available. The icing on the cake is its cost – NATO straps, even premium ones, are relatively cheap.

Magnificent Seven

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Cristiano Ronaldo with NATO strap

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Cristiano Ronaldo with NATO strap

To build the ultimate chronograph, one only needs to combine all the elements discussed above…right? Well, not exactly. If it isn’t obvious enough by now, the perfect chronograph doesn’t exist, not least because every wearer’s needs are different. The exercise that was done on the preceding pages was useful for revealing the breadth of available options to a manufacture, but choosing one over another for any category will almost certainly entail trade-offs, even if they weren’t explicitly mentioned. Making a strong, lightweight, hypoallergenic titanium case using DMLS is certainly an attractive proposition, but the process is slow, and far more costly than milling a similar case from a block of the same metal. In the same vein of things, a rattrapante chronograph with two column wheels and a vertical clutch may be the bee’s knees, but the production, assembly, regulation, and servicing of such a calibre will cost its owner, to say the least. Price and value are also important factors to consider for a watch buyer, which explains the longevity of the workhorse Valjoux 7750 – it’s not perfect, but it works, and it’s affordable. Ultimately, options are always a good thing, and the luxury of choice never hurts.

This article was first published in WOW.

BaselWorld 2016: WOW Singapore Summer issue

WOW’s Summer issue has arrived, and with it the latest and greatest from BaselWorld 2016. What has all the talk of offering greater value wrought? What new collaborations with industry outsiders are afoot, and how have they contributed to watchmaking? Which classics have been refreshed this year with new iterations? These questions, and more, are all answered in the annual Basel Report.

Fronted by Panerai’s Radiomir 1940 10 Days GMT Automatic Oro Rosso PAM624, the issue is anchored by an in-depth look at the brand’s long power reserve watches. Other key features include interviews with four elder statesmen in watchmaking, a rundown of the 10 movements any aficionado must know, and the things that go into making the perfect chronograph. Balancing out the heavy reads are two contrasting photospreads for the summer days and nights, as well as a story pairing the scents and watches worn by a man.

For more on the new issue, see the Heart Media website. Heart Media is the publisher of Luxuo.

Dive into Time: 11 New Panerai Watches

Last week, watchmaker Officine Panerai took us on a dive into time to discover the past, present and future of the Italian company. At the Marino Marini Museum in Florence, the firm presented the new Luminor Due case, a new Luminor Marina collection (featuring the calibre P.9010, as shown below) and, of course, the Panerai Minute Repeater. The exhibition space was impressive at 1,000 square meters but even such a large area can barely contain the notions of time and timekeeping that collector-favorite Panerai (which is Florentine by heritage but its watchmaking is done in Neuchatel, Switzerland) was playing with. Indeed, it succeeds in showing how difficult it is to communicate the depth of skills, vision and heritage present in every Panerai watch. Certainly, our little story here will barely scratch the surface so we will attempt to focus our efforts a little.PAM01312-P9010

We have already brought you news on the PAM 600 Minute Repeater so do check that out for the details on what we can only reiterate here is a momentous timepiece. That leaves us the less daunting task of telling you about the Luminor Due, the Luminor Marina and the Radiomir Firenze in a few hundred words, while also succinctly delivering the goods on the exhibition itself. We’ll begin with the future, meaning the 11 new watches on display in Florence. Now we really do mean the “future” when we mention these new watches because they are only expected in store by September this year (depending on where you are in the world).PAM00675-profile

To begin with, these new watches did not show at the SIHH earlier this year, making their appearance now something of a surprise. True, the minute repeater was long-expected but having 11 watches following on from this tent pole release is like Marvel releasing 11 Marvel Universe movies at the same time it opened Avengers Age of Ultron. If we can liken a watchmaking event to a cultural one, that is how big this Florentine reveal is. It left us swooning and we only just recovered enough to write this up.PAM00674---Detail--2

Panerai Luminor Due

Ok seriously, the Panerai Luminor Due is basically the firm’s version of the ultra-thin watch, which never previously featured in its collections. To understand the slimness here, just take a look at the two images above, both of which are automatic Luminor Due models. There are actually four models here ranging from 10.5mm thick (manual-winding) to 10.7mm thick (automatic). The manual versions are the Luminor Due (PAM676) 3 Days 42mm (in steel) and the Luminor Due (PAM677) 3 Days 42mm (in red gold). The automatic versions are the Luminor Due (PAM 674) Automatic 45mm (in steel) and Luminor Due (PAM 675) Automatic 45mm. Specs for each are below.

Panerai Luminor Due 3 Days Acciaio PAM676Panerai-PAM676

  • Dimensions: 42mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, seconds reset
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Manual winding, calibre P1000
  • Material: AISI 316L polished steel; black dial, Arabic numerals, hour markers
  • Water Resistance:  30 meters

Panerai Luminor Due 3 Days Acciaio PAM677Panerai-PAM677

  • Dimensions: 42mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, seconds reset
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Manual winding, calibre P1000/10
  • Material: 18k polished red gold; anthracite dial, Arabic numerals, hour markers
  • Water Resistance:  30 meters

Panerai Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic PAM 674Panerai-PAM674

  • Dimensions: 45mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Automatic, calibre P4000
  • Material: AISI 316L polished steel; black dial, Arabic numerals, hour markers
  • Water Resistance:  30 meters

Panerai Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic Oro Rosso PAM 675Panerai-PAM675

  • Dimensions: 45mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Automatic, calibre P4000/10
  • Material: 18k polished red gold; anthracite dial, Arabic numerals, hour markers
  • Water Resistance:  30 meters
Panerai Luminor Marina 1950

The story with the six watches of the Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 is the movement and the case are new but it is still the same fan-favorite Luminor 1950 (signature crown protector, dial features, hands and so on). All six watches share the same automatic calibre P.9010; two of the watches share a diameter of 42mm while four more measure 44mm in diameter.PAM00661---Detail-1

What’s significant to collectors then is that the old Luminor models with calibre P.9000 will be phased out. Check out the PAM numbers in the specs list below and you can figure it out. The one exception is the Carbotech model (PAM661) as it is an entirely new variant.

Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Acciaio PAM1523Panerai-PAM1523

  • Dimensions: 42mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Automatic calibre P.9010
  • Material: AISI 316L polished steel; white dial, Arabic numerals and dot indices
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters

Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Acciaio PAM1392Panerai-PAM1392

  • Dimensions: 42mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Automatic calibre P.9010
  • Material: AISI 316L polished steel; black dial, Arabic numerals and markers
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters

Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Acciaio PAM1499Panerai-PAM1499

  • Dimensions: 44mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Automatic calibre P.9010
  • Material: AISI 316L polished steel; white dial, Arabic numerals and dot indices
  • Water Resistance: 300 meters

Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Acciaio PAM1312Panerai-PAM1312

  • Dimensions: 44mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Automatic calibre P.9010
  • Material: AISI 316L polished steel; black dial, Arabic numerals
  • Water Resistance: 300 meters

Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Acciaio PAM1359Panerai-PAM1359

  • Dimensions: 44mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Automatic calibre P.9010
  • Material: AISI 316L polished steel; black dial with Arabic numerals and markers
  • Water Resistance: 300 meters

Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 Carbotech 3 Days Automatic PAM661Panerai-PAM661

  • Dimensions: 44mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Automatic calibre P.9010
  • Material: Carbotech; black dial with Arabic numerals and dot markers
  • Water Resistance: 300 meters
Radiomir Firenze 3 Days

This is a new version of last year’s Firenze model, a boutique exclusive at the Officine Panerai historic store in Florence. The new Panerai Radiomir Firenze 3 Days Acciaio (PAM672) features a hand-engraved case as usual but also an engraved manual-winding calibre P.3000. Visitors to the exhibition would have actually gotten the chance to see the watchmaker working the engraving. This is one seriously limited proposition, with just 99 pieces for 2016. Considering the handwork involved, this is hardly surprising.

SpecsPanerai-PAM672

  • Dimensions: 47mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Movement: Manual-winding calibre P.3000/F
  • Material: AISI 316L brushed steel
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters

Finally, just over a thousand words later, we’re all done with the 11 new watches from the Dive into Time exhibition. We went above our promised word count so we apologize for that. If you’re still with us (congratulations!), you must be looking for information on the exhibition itself. We close our story with just a paragraph here on this event, which our friends at World of Watches were invited to. Did we mention that it was held in an ancient crypt of the former church of San Pancrazio in Florence? Well it was and, here in the dim confines, Panerai drew back the veil on previously unseen historical gems, including the first instruments (read: not watches) made by the Panerai family. Of course, watches from the current era (since luxury group Richemont acquired it in the late 1990s) and from the famous wartime past were on display.

Superwatch: Panerai PAM 600 Minute Repeater

When we say that this is Officine Panerai’s most complicated watch, we aren’t exaggerating. The Panerai PAM 600 Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon GMT brings together a menage-a-trois of complications: the tourbillon regulator, the GMT function and a double minute repeater mechanism (simply put, it is able to inform you of the time in two time zones by chiming either the local or home time zones, on-demand). We think it qualifies as a supercomplication or a superwatch, if you will (the watch equivalent of the supercar).

To get right into it, the Minute Repeater Carillon sounds out time with the help of its three hammers and three gongs. This enables three different sounds to be combined to produce a melody resembling that of, well, bells. To activate the striking mechanism, one uses the push-button at the 8 o’clock position (see below). As expected, the first gong identifies the hours and produces the lowest chime while the final gong produces the highest chime, indicating the minutes. The middle gong delivers an intermediate chime because of course it does! The press release provides the following helpful example: should your home time be 10.28, there would 10 chimes for the hour; two triple chimes at for the two 10 minute intervals; and eight single chimes.
Panerai-Minute-Repeater-Carillon-gong

With its long power reserve of 90 hours, and a carillon minute repeater mechanism, the watch is a surprisingly sturdy work of art (being water resistant and boasting a safety feature that prevents you, the owner, from inadvertently damaging the striking mechanism). As collectors will already know, PAM 600 boasts a hand-wound P.2005 calibre as its base, which the company first began developing back in 2005 — hence its name — at Panerai’s Neuchâtel manufacture. The tourbillon cage rotates on an axis perpendicular to the balance. The rotation also occurs once every 30 seconds instead of the usual 60.

The timepiece bears the instantly recognizable and historic Radiomir 1940 case and solid lugs. As you can see from the images, the timepiece has a skeletonized movement so it is beautiful both to the eye and to the ear. Measuring 49mm and bearing markers and figures coated in Super-LumiNova, the Minute Repeater Carillon comes in a case made of 18K red gold. Since this is a made-to-order timepiece, customers can also personalize it by changing the case to a material other than red gold — of course, it also explains why the watch carries a $400,000 price tag. As enthusiasts of striking watches will know, changing the material of the case will alter the quality of the notes the repeater makes so go in with your ears open…

To help you with that part, here is a video illustrating the dulcet tones of this most complicated timepiece from Panerai. When you are done with that, if you’re still hungry for Panerai news, check out our post on the other 11 watches they premiered at the recent Dive into Time exhibition

  • Specs
  • Dimensions: 49 mm
  • Functions:Hours, minutes, small seconds, GMT 12/24 h; Power reserve indicator on the back; Local time and home time; Minute Repeater for hours, 10 minutes and minutes; Rapid adjustment of local time
  • Power Reserve: 90 hours
  • Movement: Hand-wound P.2005/MR Calibre with 30 seconds tourbillon
  • Material: 18K Red Gold
  • Water resistance: 30 meters

6 Métiers d’Arts Monkey Year Watches

The year of the monkey began several months ago but that doesn’t mean its too late for you to get some arm candy featuring exceptional artwork. We bring you six timepieces that combine the art with the zodiac in a sophisticated way.

Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the MonkeyChopard-Monkey-Business

Reprising the Japanese art of lacquer painting, the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Monkey depicts a scene considered particularly auspicious: A monkey gathering eight peaches. This symbolises longevity and good fortune since peaches stand for good health and eight is a lucky number. Chopard worked with the Yamada Heiando lacquerware firm, which happens to be the official purveyor to the Japanese imperial family.

Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Relief MonkeyJaquet-Droz-Monkey-Business

The incredibly lifelike Petite Heure Minute Relief Monkey resembles a mini-diorama, the kind you might find in a natural history museum. No less than four métiers d’art techniques were employed in its making: mother-of-pearl marquetry (on the peach tree), hand-engraving and sculpture in relief (on the macaque and branch), and lacquering (on the dial). Two versions exist, one in white gold and the other in red gold, each limited to 28 pieces.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio PAM850Panerai-Monkey-Business

Panerai’s tradition of making Luminor 1950 Sealand models engraved with animals of the Chinese zodiac continues this year. It began with the Year of the Ox in 2009. This year, PAM850 bears a picture of a monkey surrounded by peach blossoms. While the subject engraved on the case cover is indisputably Chinese in style, the technique used is Italian, involving the hammering of gold threads into hand-chiselled grooves.

Ulysse Nardin Classico Year of the MonkeyUlysse-Nardin-Monkey-Business

Going for a more comic strip-like style as opposed to attempting to create a lifelike image, Ulysse Nardin presents a monkey motif that is alert, lithe, and impish yet artistic. This dial had been created for Ulysse Nardin by sister firm and dial specialist, Donze Cadrans, which used the champlevé technique. Chiselling grooves on the dial and filling them with vitreous enamel, the background lends a nice contrast to the gold markings.

Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art La Légende du Zodiaque Chinois Year of the MonkeyVacheron-Constanin-Monkey-Business

Crafting artistic watches is Vacheron Constantin’s specialty and its Chinese zodiac collection has always aimed to replicate the nuances in poise and expression of the animals. This year’s piece combines relief engraving with the traditional art of paper cutting. In addition, Grand Feu enamel was used to create the backdrop of a blue or bronze-toned dial. Using the Calibre 2460 G4 allows for a view that is not obscured by hour and minute hands.

Piaget Altiplano Cloisonné EnamelPiaget-Monkey-Business

After the dragon, snake, horse, and goat, Piaget gives the monkey a go in this 12-year series. World-renowned master enameller, Anita Porchet, graciously loaned her skills to the manufacture, presenting a dial that resembles a traditional Chinese watercolour painting. Here, Porchet used the cloisonné technique with the Grand Feu method and her initials have been painted by hand at five o’clock. Only 38 pieces have been produced.

Story Credits

This story was first published in World of Watches.

Less is More: Panerai Lo Scienziato PAM578

Thinking outside the box yields a world of benefits. As Panerai demonstrates, advancements in material engineering from other industries can be translated to watchmaking, especially in case making. Take 2015’s PAM616 for instance. That watch was the first to use Carbotech – a composite material normally reserved for high performance brake pads – for a case with both unique aesthetics and superlative physical properties. Now, the manufacture has unveiled a new case-making technique in the Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio PAM578: Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS).

This method essentially 3D-prints a case by sintering powdered metal in layers with a laser. Unlike subtractive manufacturing techniques, where a case is milled out of a solid block of material, DMLS is additive – the final product is built in layers, and can thus be hollow. This, coupled with the choice of titanium, which is 40 per cent lighter than steel, made it possible to create a case weighing less than 100 grams despite its hefty 47mm diameter.Panerai-Lo-Scienziato-Luminor-1950-Tourbillon-GMT-Titanio-view

None of the other properties of titanium have been compromised. The new case can still be brushed or polished, and remains corrosion resistant and hypoallergenic. As for issues of strength, Panerai has stated that the cavity within PAM578’s case was designed with a geometry that maintains the watch’s physical integrity. This idea isn’t new, as various objects from bicycle frames to aeroplane wings use the same principle for weight reduction at no expense to strength. Naturally, PAM578 underwent the same quality tests – water resistance included – as all other Panerai watches.

The idea of weight savings has been extended to the movement too. PAM578 is fitted with the P.2005/T calibre, a version of the skeletonised P.2005/S modified with titanium plates and bridges in lieu of brass, which makes it 35 per cent lighter. The rest of the movement remains unchanged, from the GMT and accompanying day/night indicator on the dial side, to the power reserve indicator on the reverse. Calibre P.2005/T also preserves its predecessor’s tourbillon, notable for making a complete revolution once every 30 seconds, and an axis of rotation that’s perpendicular and not parallel to the balance’s axis.

Of course, the movement features a long power reserve, which is the calling card of the manufacture from its days making military watches; three separate barrels arranged in series confer a power reserve of six days. PAM578 has a limited run of 150 pieces.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 47mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, second time zone with day/night indication, power reserve indicator
  • Power Reserve: 144 hours
  • Movement: Manual-winding P.2005T calibre with tourbillon
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Material: 47mm in titanium, water resistant to 100m
  • Strap: Ponte Vecchio brown leather strap with trapezoidal buckle in titanium and anthracite alligator leather with titanium deployant buckle

Story Credits

Text by Jamie Tan
This story first appeared in WOW.

Here Come The Goats

The Chinese Zodiac is a rich source of inspiration for art, given its cyclical nature and varied subjects, from the magnificent dragon to the more worldly pig. Come 19 February, Chinese around the world will welcome the Year of the Goat. Or Sheep. Or Ram. Curiously enough, a distinction was never made on the specific animal which occupies this sector of the zodiacal calendar which, as you can see below, has allowed much room for watchmakers’ interpretations.Here Come The GoatsJaquet Droz is offering two references dedicated to the goat this year. Based on its eponymous collection, the Petite Heure Minute Relief Goats comes in either a white or red gold case, and is rife with symbolism. Note, for example, the three goats which have been hard carved in relief from either red or white gold. Beyond their allusions to the Year of the Goat, their depiction on a mountain top also symbolises achievement, and the hope for success in the year ahead. The dial also contains stylised plum blossoms done in champlevé enamel. As one of the four “noble flowers” in Chinese iconography, plum blossoms flower in the winter and are seen as a herald of spring. Each reference of the Petite Heure Minute Relief Goats will come in a limited run of 28 pieces.Pam00848 PressPanerai’s Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 44mm is the seventh in the series to pay tribute to an animal of the Chinese Zodiac, beginning with the Year of the Ox in 2009. PAM848 has a decorated steel cover – a special tool called the sparsello is first used to engrave grooves into the cover, before multiple layers of gold thread are inlaid into these grooves and pounded to fill them up. Each representation of the goat is thus unique, since the process is done entirely by hand. The PAM848 contains Panerai’s in-house P.9000 calibre, fitted into the Luminor 1950 case which is 44mm wide. This boutique exclusive is limited to 100 pieces worldwide.Pam00848 Detail 3Piaget’s Art & Excellence collection is dedicated to special pieces commemorating the Chinese New Year. Like the models before it, the Altiplano Enamelled Cloisonné Goat has a dial featuring cloisonné enamel in muted tones that fully flaunt the artist’s mastery of the medium. The enameller, Anita Porchet, has used the cloisonné technique to great effect here – note the sharp demarcation between the shadowed outline of the goat and the light shades of the sky; the two shades of vitreous enamel would have mixed during firing if the gold wires weren’t present to separate them. The watch houses Piaget’s 430P ultra-thin movement, and has an 18K white gold case set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling approximately 0.7 carats. It is sold exclusively in Piaget boutiques, and has a limited run of 38 pieces. A separate reference in pink gold is also limited to 38 pieces.G0a39540Ulysse Nardin’s acquisition of dial enamelling specialist Donzé Cadrans in 2011 signalled the brand’s desire to vertically integrate this branch of metier d’art into its operations. A quick glance through the manufacture’s Classico collection will reveal just how well this decision has turned out. The latest from Ulysse Nardin, the Classico Goat, depicts a goat with two kids with champlevé enamelling. The UN-815 movement within it is COSC certified, and the watch is limited to 88 pieces.8156 111 2 ChevreVacheron Constantin’s Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac collection has been updated with the Year of the Goat model. The boutique exclusive comes in either pink gold or platinum, with 12 pieces in each reference. The watch uses champlevé enamelling to create a background of leaves and honeysuckles, upon which a goat engraved in relief has been set. The timepiece has no hands. Instead, four digital displays allows its wearer to read off the time, day, and date. This timepiece is certified Poinçon de Genève. 

86073 000r 9889 86073 000p 9890 Tr 720635

Pre-SIHH: Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Ceramica

In the run up to SIHH 2015, Panerai has revealed the, take a deep breath now, Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Ceramica. The timepiece contains many elements that have made Panerai the iconic brand that it is today, with several less usual ones that add a sense of novelty.Pre Sihh Panerai Pam580 2As its name suggests, this new watch (PAM580) is a flyback chronograph, which allows consecutive events to be recorded without any lag time spent on stopping, resetting, and restarting the chronograph. Panerai has chosen a less common layout with both the chronograph second and minute totalizers in the centre, a la the Lemania 5100 movement. In lieu of differentiating the hands with different shapes, however, Panerai has opted to colour code them instead. The second totalizer is blue, while the minute totalizer is a rhodium-plated silvery grey. By moving the latter to the middle, the legibility of the watch is greatly improved, and ­its user can read off the elapsed time instinctively, just like how he would the minute hand.Pre Sihh Panerai Pam580 1PAM580 is driven by Panerai’s Calibre P.9100, the first self-winding chronograph calibre completely developed and produced in-house by the manufacture. Besides its flyback function, the movement has several features that elevate it above a “basic” chronograph movement. For one, its winding mechanism is bi-directional for greater efficiency, since the rotor will wind the mainspring whichever way it pivots. The chronograph itself is actuated by a column wheel and vertically coupled, which confers a smoother pusher action and less power loss from the main gear train.

Of course, the improvements and new developments above are grounded in classic Panerai styling, beginning with the Luminor 1950 case with the brand’s signature crown protector. The case is executed here in ceramic, which Panerai is no stranger to, for greater scratch resistance than steel, at a lighter weight. PAM580 also comes with a sandwich dial, with indices cut out from the upper dial to reveal the Super-LumiNova coated lower dial.