Welcome to the first ever Panerai XPerience
How Panerai has changed product ownership, forever.
Before the 2nd September, few people could ever imagine what the first 2019 Panerai XPerience, the innovative project introduced at SIHH 2019 by Jean-Marc Pontroué, who took over Bonati more than a year ago as the new CEO of Panerai, would have looked like. If you meet Jean-Marc, you'll instantly get how volcanic the man is, something he proved when he revolutionized Roger Dubuis and made it a very successful brand.
Jean-Marc has injected all his visionary spirit into Panerai, and the new direction the brand has embarked, along with the acceleration and freshness he gave to the Italian brand, are even more perceivable at the end of the three-day event exclusively organized with the Italian Navy, inside their base at La Spezia, where the Italian "SEAL" grouped under the code name "Comsubin" are trained and prepared to support Italy and NATO during the most demanding international military missions, where highly skilled professionals are required.
What is the Panerai XPerience?
The first significant change occurred at Panerai, under the new leadership, was to further strengthen its military origins, by officializing the exclusive historic relationship the Florentine brand has with the Italian Navy, something that dates back to the legendary "Flottiglia X-MAS" and legendary people too, like Teseo Tesei and Luigi Ferraro, who laid the foundations of our Comsubin, making them highly respected by the International military community.
The signing of this partnership is a milestone and represents one of the most clever operations, both from a communication and authenticity standpoint and current or future products, too, I think. During the SIHH 2019, Jean-Marc (I also interviewed at the end of the XPerience) launched a new project, elsewhere said "XPerience," to combine in a comprehensive "selling proposition" both product and service. A new kind of advanced premium after-sales service. One of these projects regards the Panerai Submersible Navy Carbotech™ PAM 691, a military version of the most advanced Panerai timepiece ever, showcasing one of their latest patents.
Panerai has changed the way we live our passion for watches, replacing ownership with experience, forever.
As specialized media press representatives, we participated in a program that involved, first of all, the Panerai Submersible Navy Carbotech™ PAM 691's 33 lucky owners, who also purchased an "Experience," with the wristwatch itself. Why was it just crafted in 33 specimens? It is quite simple: thirty-three is the total gold badges of honor the Comsubin have earned throughout their history.
While focusing on updating the Submersible collection, suppressing the term "Luminor" first, and introducing some options to the new Submersible (the most remarkable being the one that combines BMG-Tech™ and Carbotech™ technologies in one single product, like it is with the Panerai Submersible BMG-Tech™ PAM799) then, Panerai was developing a project aimed at leaving the brand at the fullest, whose next step will see the Panerai Submersible Chrono Guillaume Néry Edition 47mm PAM 982's 15 lucky owners travel to Polynesia and live an XPerience with famous free-diver Guillaume Néry.
Surfing the sea onboard high-speed Zodiac Hurricane.
If you're eager to feel like a SEAL from the Comsubin, you should behave and train as they do, every single day, by doing the same training course, shooting with their weapons, and above all show their same spirit and dedication.
The full work-out day (3rd September) was anticipated by the detailed agenda of the XPerience held at the legendary Teseo Tesei military base, reached by sea, onboard the Italian Navy's official Zodiac Hurricane assault boats, while surfing the waves, high-speed, alongside the High-Speed Multifunctional Naval Unit Angelo Cabrini.
Once arrived, we attended a briefing meeting that included all the activities to be carried out the following day and, after a mandatory medical check, we were given the uniforms and equipment to help us safely perform land, sea, and air military activities.
The Panerai XPerience is a rare mix of emotions and a new way of enjoying luxury watchmaking.
During this three-day immersive event, we talked all but watches, with the exclusion of a short new product digital preview held during the 3rd September's dinner, where Jean-Marc, I also interviewed before driving back to Milan, revealed a new high-end watch to be launched anytime soon. It is a product covered by the embargo and something we were strictly forbidden to photograph; I can only affirm it is proof positive of how is the brand very active.
Regarding the experience: by combining in a single formula an experience with an Italian Navy's elite corp, where we practiced professional diving, shooting, and zip-line activities that mimic what an attendant would do during his training course, Panerai created something that raises the bar when it comes to involving the brand's owners and followers; it did to such an extent, that the gap with all the other luxury brands looks hard to close. Four days after its end, the Panerai XPerience is still in the headlines, when talking watch related events with colleagues and enthusiasts. This is the most potent outcome, in my opinion: not only has the brand reinforced its relationship with the Panerai owners, it also envisioned we could expect, I hope, more and more super-professional products along the way to further enhance, as that's the specific case with the Italian Navy, a relationship that is expected to certify Panerai as a professional military timepiece manufacturer even further.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Panerai, Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®