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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.

 

Panerai and Celebrity Fight Night: Knock Out

Celebrity Fight Night was originally conceived as a charity event with ample doses of humour, where celebrities duelled each other with oversized boxing gloves. It has since evolved to feature live music performances instead, while retaining “Fight Night” from its association with Muhammad Ali, who has been the event’s featured guest for the past 18 years. Over its 20-year history, Celebrity Fight Night has not strayed far from this concept – invited celebrities and professional athletes enjoy live performances and participate in auctions to raise funds for charity. To date, this American charity event has raised nearly $95 million, with the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Centre as a significant beneficiary.Panerai And Celebrity Fight Night Knock Out 2For its 20th edition, the event moved beyond its “hometown” of Phoenix, Arizona, and was held for the first time in Italy instead, from 3 to 8 September. The city of Florence hosted the event, and Panerai was one of the major brands from the city that organised exclusive occasions for guests. Panerai was founded and maintains its headquarters in Florence, where it has two boutiques. The historical boutique lies within the Archbishop’s Palace in Piazza San Giovanni, and is currently undergoing renovations and enlargement. Panerai’s other boutique is at Palazzo della Gherardesca, which is currently the Four Seasons Hotel.Panerai And Celebrity Fight Night Knock Out 4

Apart from hosting special events, the brand donated the Radiomir 1940 Oro Rosso 47mm (PAM515) that was auctioned off on the evening of 7th September by Sotheby’s during the event’s gala dinner. The gala dinner featured a performance by Andrea Bocelli, who was accompanied by the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, with the latter directed by Maestro Zubin Mehta.

Panerai And Celebrity Fight Night Knock Out 3Andrea Bocelli’s namesake foundation is also a major beneficiary of this edition of Celebrity Fight Night, and Panerai is donating 5% of every purchase made during the event to it. The tenor himself was presented with the Luminor 1950 10 Day GMT Ceramica 44mm (PAM335).

 

Panerai: The Face of Time Exhibition

If you’re in town this week, you owe it to yourself to visit Panerai’s The Face of Time exhibition at ION Orchard Singapore. The exhibition opens daily from 25 June to 1 July, 1030am to 9pm, and is held at the ION Orchard atrium. Note, however, that it is closed for private events on 26 and 27 June from 7pm to 930pm.Panerai The Face Of Time Exhibition 3As you can guess, the exhibition’s name refers to Panerai’s watch dial, which has remained unchanged since 1936. Barring minor variations, the dial is consistent across Panerai’s core collections, which have been reclassified according to their cases: Radiomir, Radiomir 1940, Luminor 1950 and Luminor. The exhibition’s layout follows design cues that reference this iconic dial, just like the items presented – visitors will be able to inspect choice selections from Panerai’s 2014 novelties and timepieces that represent the brand in different eras since its founding in 1860.Panerai The Face Of Time Exhibition 4Beyond the watches on display, a watchmaker from the brand will be present to give live demonstrations within the exhibition space. Such occasions are few and far between, so feel free to chat with him and pick his brain about watches; we did, and it was a blast. Be sure to view the special display showcasing the making of the ceramic Luminor case as well.Panerai The Face Of Time Exhibition 2Note, though, that the exhibition is only displaying a selection of Panerai’s 2014 novelties. The full range of Panerai’s offerings is available at its boutique just a minute away from the exhibition. While we’re on the topic, it’s also worth noting that the ION Orchard boutique was Asia Pacific’s first to launch the current interior design concept of using a simple and classic Italian design vocabulary. Our more well-heeled readers will also be pleased to know that the VIP area within the boutique will allow guests to explore a range of selective timepieces in precious metals. 

 

Vintage Panerai Sold For Record Price At Sotheby’s Auction

A Panerai timepiece was sold for an all-time record price of CHF425,000 at Sotheby’s “Important Watches” auction held last week, up from an estimate of CHF180,000/360,000. Given that Panerai watches weren’t produced for sale to the public until 1993, vintage Panerai watches often attract considerable attention from connoisseurs and collectors, especially those made to military order between the first Radiomir prototype in 1936 for Royal Italian Navy commandos, and the 1950s.

The watch in question was acquired by a Panerai enthusiast and is a Luminor in stainless steel, reference 6152/1, that can be dated circa 1955. Said watch has a classic levered bridge device protecting the winding crown, a feature which persists until today, along with a hand-winding movement and screw-down caseback. Unique to the watch is its rotating bezel. Transparent and made of polycarbonate, it has a single luminescent marker and eleven other black dot markers, undoubtedly serving to either measure elapsed time or to act as a countdown timer. The bezel is also removable, a previously unseen feature which suggests that the watch is a prototype that never made it to the production stage.

The watch was put up for sale by the descendants of the late Admiral Gino Birindelli, to whom the watch belonged. 

Lot 298 Panerai Wristwatch Ref 61521

Chain Blinger: Panerai Pocket Watch 3 Days PAM447

Panerai Pocket Watch 3 Days 2

Finally. A Panerai pocket watch for Radiomir die-hards. This very special timepiece truly allows one to admire the new and improved cusp-shaped case of the Radiomir re-introduced in 2012. Obviously the classic wire loop strap attachments were omitted. In their place we find a single gold bow arched over the winding conical crown, and attached to it is a 40-cm long gold chain designed to evoke nautical sentiments.

Panerai Pocket Watch 3 Days

Fluted for maximum traction, the conical crown engraved with the OP logo makes winding the movement a breeze. Detaching the gold chain from the bow can be simply achieved thanks to a spring-loaded lever in the hook.

Panerai Pocket Watch 3 Days 1

In accordance with pocket watch tradition, the watch features a hunter’s case back which pops open to reveal a beautifully skeletonised manual-winding movement, Calibre P.3001/10. Offering a three-day long power reserve, the movement’s twin barrels had been artfully skeletonised and chamfered, as were many of its bridges.

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Power reserve indication can be viewed through the case back – simply flip the watch over and pop open the hatch. That’s a hassle free bonus compared to those wristwatch models featuring this movement. 

Panerai Pocket Watch 3 Days 3

The Panerai Pocket Watch 3 Days might strike one as a simple timepiece at first glance but those familiar with the watchmaking philosophy of Panerai will know how much detail can be gleaned from just looking at the exterior. For starters, the unique cusp-shaped case looks different when viewed from the side as compared to the front. Indeed, it is no simple cushion-shaped watch.

A wide expanse on the hunter’s case back allows ample space to accommodate a special message or one’s family crest – few better ways to customise your watch than with a personal touch.

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In 5NPt red gold (PAM447), the watch is paired with a sunray-finished brown dial. In white gold (PAM529), the dial is also sunray-finished but in anthracite. Both variations utilise the classic Panerai sandwich dial construction where two superimposed discs enclose a layer of SuperLuminova (sand-coloured) which shines with exceptional brightness through the stencilled hour numerals and markers.

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Panerai Pocket Watch 3 Days 6

Panerai Pocket Watch 3 Days 12Panerai Pocket Watch 3 Days 11

Planets Align: Panerai Jupiterium

Hello Jupiter 1

 

Making its appearance for the first time in Singapore from 13 December to 14 February 2014 is the Panerai Jupiterium. This device is a planetarium-clock showing the position of the sun, moon and Jupiter with its four satellites, from the viewpoint of an observer from Earth. Specially created as a tribute to Galileo Galilei when he first spotted Jupiter’s four satellites in 1610, watch aficionados can appreciate real time movement of the planetarium-clock which reveals the actual positions of Jupiter.

 

Hello Jupiter 5

Above: The four satellites around Jupiter are represented by rotating orbs  

Planets in Orbit
Earth is represented by a glass ball found in the centre of the transparent glass sphere, suspended from the top. The moon, sun and Jupiter are represented by the smaller orbs revolving around the Earth in real time. As for the four satellites around Jupiter, Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede, they complete one full revolution in 1.8, 3.6, 7.2 and 16.7 days respectively.

Hello Jupiter 2

Above: The constellations are lined with Super-Luminova to recreate the stars in night skies when the surrounding environment is dark

Night Skies
The glass sphere housing the device represents the celestial skies. It is made up of two semi spheres which make up the northern and southern hemisphere and is joined in the middle by a band (symbolising the equator) engraved with the 12 zodiac signs. The sphere is decorated with Super-Luminova constellations that glow in the dark.


Hello Jupiter 4

Above: The Panerai Jupiterium includes a dial which inherits Panerai’s design DNA

Powered by Panerai
The Panerai Jupiterium is backed up by a 40-day power reserve and its base houses a perpetual calendar mechanism which tells the day, date, month and year with no manual calibration needed until 2100, not even for leap years. The mahogany wooden base which supports the entire planetary system in the glass sphere has a typical black Panerai dial with Arabic indexes at six and 12 o’clock and long stick hour markers and a power reserve indicator.

 Hello Jupiter 11

Above: Panerai also set up a Science corner where a replica of Galileo’s telescope with which he made the celestial observation in 1610 is on display

The VIP area was transformed into a mini exhibition area, covered with a black obscuration coating fabric to bring out the illuminated planets and constellations. There is also a Science corner displaying a replica of the telescope used by Galileo as he witnessed his first celestial observations in 1610.

The rare showcase of Panerai’s Jupiterium was first presented in Stockholm, Sweden, in December 2009, followed by Florence, Italy, in September 2010. It then made its way into Asia in May 2011 to Shanghai, followed by Tokyo in June this year.

To The Left: Panerai Luminor 1950 Left-Handed 3 Days PAM557

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Left-handed watches have been, and still are, important instruments in naval units. Contrary to popular belief, they were not designed for left-handed people even though they are indeed useful that way. In the past commandoes in the Italian Navy need to wear several instruments such as a compass and depth gauge in addition to their dive watch. Each of these instruments is crucial to the success of their missions and very often their lives depend on them. This is the genesis of the left-handed watch.

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For as long as Panerai was the official supplier of naval instruments and tools to the Italian Navy, it has always made left-handed watches. Among the modern creations, we have the Luminor Marina Left Handed PAM26 in PVD steel, Luminor 1950 Left-Handed 8 Days Titanio PAM368, Luminor Base Destro PAM219 – curiously all are Luminors. 

The new Luminor 1950 Left-Handed 3 Days PAM557 comes with an additional feature reminiscing the heroic era of divers and armed combat. While offering ergonomic comfort, the cusp-shaped case also dishes out yet more history as this case had evolved from the Radiomir’s cushion and would eventually inspire the hefty Luminor case.

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Like a long lost twin of the 2012 Luminor 1950 3 Days PAM372, PAM557 contains all of the important hallmarks of the manufacture – a pure classic sandwich dial, vintage coloured SuperLuminova, gold hands, an in-house manufactured manual-winding movement (Calibre P.3000), and a 47mm case. Also, this model is fitted with a Plexiglas crystal instead of sapphire. 

Pam00557 Back W1600 H1600