SIHH 2015 Panerai
Our full report
Two weeks ago, during the unveiling of the Luminor Carbotech to the press, it seemed more than evident that the Submersible range represents the true “Laboratorio di Idee” of Panerai, when it comes to launch innovations such as new materials, since the classic Luminor 1950 collections are inevitably confined to the brand’s more traditional values. It is not by chance for instance, that the first non-magnetic Panerai ever was a Submersible, namely the reference PAM389. Only time will tell whether my hypothesis are correct.
If the reader is an enthusiast of watch complications, such as the Flyback chrono for example, and is eager to buy a Panerai, he will be able to choose (or else he will have an additional doubt) between a Luminor 1950 and a Luminor Submersible 1950. The brand has in fact equipped a Submersible with the same P9100 caliber it already adopts on the Luminor 1950, and has debuted two chronos that boast the same name, Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Titanio 47mm, but two different references, PAM614 and PAM615. References, that for any real Panerai’s aficionado represent the actual model’s name, have never been more necessary, since the two new timepieces have exactly the same name.
The PAM614 is an aesthetic evolution of a reference PAM305 Submersible: the dial is practically the same (with the exception of the Arabic numerals), including the small seconds counter at 9 and the rotating bezel. Panerai has preserved this layout, while just adding two chronograph push-pieces on the left side of the case, as well as a double seconds and minute chrono hand in the middle. The PAM615 is a chronograph with a two-counters layout, and the one at 3 is the hours’ counter. Central seconds and minute chrono hands are used on either model, as both adopt a smooth rubber strap, even if I'm curious to see how they would look with either the Velcro or Coramid strap, from the Accessories range and, last but not least, with the one made of natural rubber with a blue alligator inlaid decoration; this seems perhaps to be the most appropriate, since it matches the blue tones the brand has begun to use from this collection.
If I were to choose between the PAM614 and the PAM615, I would go for the first one because of its aesthetical purity, and because I believe it to be the most wearable “Flyback Submersible” of the two, although I find it still difficult to appreciate that small date window at 3, that first appeared when the brand launched its new manufactured collections: the digit is too small if compared to those used for the Arabic numerals on the dial, and alters the dial's neat design. The two chrono push-pieces are screwed in, so as to avoid involuntary use, and the 9100 caliber movement has three barrels, to ensure a total 3 days of Power reserve.
As we are all used to, Panerai launches a number of new limited edition timepieces each year, that are among the most highly sought-after timepieces on the market. One of them, retailed at an astounding 37000€, is the re-edition of a legendary Panerai that the brand had already, with the same main tech features, put forward some years ago as reference PAM300: the Mare Nostrum Titanio 52mm. This timepiece was first created by Panerai for the Italian Royal Navy back in 1943.
This year's version, reference PAM603, is faithful to the original prototype, and will be made in just 150 pieces and boasts a 52mm wide case. On the wrist it is as big as it is beautiful, and I truly consider it to be the ultimate Panerai (along with the impressive PAM341, aka the “Egiziano”).
Its two-layer dial and its tobacco color, that seem to resemble a vintage navigation instrument, are its strenghts. It is big, very big but astonishingly classy and I hope that Panerai will come up with a more accessible range. Such a high price is due to the historical appeal of the watch, and to the exclusivity of the movement that beats inside its case, indicated as a caliber OPXXV, made from a Minerva 13-22; this is the second evolution of a very refined hand wound caliber called 13-20, launched by Minerva in 1923 and which reminds, with its 18000vph, of the same features of a historical Angelus movement.
Among its distinctive traits, there are the bridges made in Maillechort, an alloy of nickel and silver, quite hard to work. This caliber was clearly visible through the transparent case back of the PAM300, that boasted a stainless steel case. This timepiece is dedicated to the brand's super-collectors, or to those that are just looking for this Panerai because, even considering its tech features and its historical significance, it has a price that inevitably puts it in competition with several other “complicated” timepieces out there.
Far more exclusive, in a way, is the Panerai Radiomir Firenze 3 days acciaio 47mm PAM604. The 99 pieces of this series will be sold exclusively at the Panerai Boutique in Florence. Panerai has commissioned a few selected Italian craftsmen with the engraving of the steel case, decorated manually via a burin, with embellishments typical of the Florentine iconography, such as the lily and flowery motifs. It adopts the same P3000 caliber you may find for instance on a Radiomir California and retails for 17000€. The wording “Firenze” appears on the dial and this engraving, made exclusively by hand and requiring nearly a week of work, makes each of the 99 pieces unique.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Panerai; Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter®
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