A preview of the Panerai Submersible Chrono Guillaume Néry edition.
Since 1860, when Giovanni Panerai opened his first watch store and Florence’s first watch making school, Panerai has held true to its long history and tradition of high quality watch craftsmanship and innovation.
In 1916, while serving the Royal Italian Navy, Panerai revolutionized the art of reading instruments in the dark. Using a radium-based powder, which Panerai called Radiomir, the watchmaker made the dials of naval instruments luminous. Later, in 1936, the first Radiomir watches were designed for the Royal Navy’s frogmen commandos from the First Submarine Group, who served in the Second World War.
Panerai had traditionally only manufactured wrist worn diving instruments and watches for the Italian Marina Militare (1938 – 1970) and the Egyptian Navy (1956). Their diving watches had evolved based on the rugged and extreme needs of the naval divers. The initial wire welded lugs that held the wrist strap had to be reinforced and eventually evolved into a block of hard steel. The straps had to be water resistant for the long duration of each dive. The winding crown was replaced from a conical shape to a more flat and tubular shaped crown. The bridge device with the clamping lever to protect the winding crown was also introduced in 1950 (due to the extreme tension needs), and has since been an iconic (and patented) feature in Panerai timepieces. For better underwater visualization, the dial had only 4 large Arabic numerals at the cardinal points with a series of indices, hour and minute hands, but without the small second hand. That same year in 1950, the radium-based paste was replaced by the hydrogen isotope (Tritium, patented substance); and the Luminor series was introduced.
By the 1970s, Panerai ceased manufacturing for the Italian Marina Militare and launched its products commercially in the 1990s.
Time and Tide
Not only has Panerai devoted 90 years to enhancing the safety and the lives of divers, the watchmaker has also spared no effort in finetuning their aesthetics as well. Just as the kidney grilles are distinct to the BMW, and the three pointed star to Mercedes Benz, the protective crown bridge device is distinct to Panerai.
For me, the Panerai is a must-have in any collection of fine timepieces. Unfortunately, my wrist does not hold too much watch (more than 42mm and above). Having said that, its strong, manly charm, shiny chunky look and perfect panache would sway any watch lover’s heart its way.
2019’s SIHH Submersible Chrono Guillaume Néry edition (PAM00982) is a definite charmer. Appropriately named, this timepiece is a collaboration between Panerai and French free-diving world champion, Guillaume Néry. This former professional athlete is an ambassador of the sea, and has turned his astonishing underwater experiences into images and videos.
The Panerai Submersible Chrono – Guillaume Néry edition is water-resistant to 300 metres with a unidirectional rotating bezel. It is extremely sporty and boyish in its blue and shark grey combination. True to a diver’s watch, the dial, with its luminous white markers, is clearly legible under all lighting conditions and in complete darkness. The watch is a 47mm titanium case, with the flyback chronograph buttons at the 8 and 10 o’clock positions, and a 72 hour power reserve. Engraved on the caseback, the champion’s signature and his final single-breath dive record of 126 metres. This movement was entirely developed in Panerai’s watchmaking Manufacture in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
This new Panerai Submersible Chrono adds the allure and mystery of the deep blue to the brand’s exciting collection debuting at SIHH 2019.