As a halo product designed not to sell in large volume, but to showcase the upper-end of the technical abilities at Panerai, the 2018 L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT is one hell of an horological product. Referenced as the Panerai PAM00920 (PAM920), this $200,000+, 50mm wide mega watch is something we’re sure you’ll want to know about (even if only a precious few will be able to afford one).
The base caliber and concept behind the Panerai L’Astronomo is derived from a model released by the brand a few years ago in 2010. This new model is more than a fresh aesthetic offering but features changes to the movement as well as a new opportunity for brand fans to discover the top-end of what Panerai can produce. Mind you that the mega-complex L’Astronomo is a far more complicated “haute horology” product from the makers of normally very elegant and often simple Italian-style sport watches. I say all this because while it certainly fits within the core Panerai timepiece theme, it is in many ways a separate type of product when compared to the majority of what Panerai is known for producing.
All images by David Bredan
It’s also provided with a different interchangeable strap, a tool to change the strap, and a steel screwdriver.Daylight timepieces are originally named after the Hollywood blockbuster from 1996 that entered the Italian watchmaker’s background as the first picture in which Sylvester Stallone worn out a Panerai watch. This great fan of the newest had requested a special edition named Submersible, so as to wear it during the shooting of underwater scenes from the film. Shortly after, Sly asked for a new line with a white dial, named Daylight.Gentleman, get prepared to start your motors when you strap the Panerai Luminor Marina Chrono Replica Daylight. The Controle Officiel Suisse Des Chronometres (COSC) illustrates the significant accomplishment Panerai committed when producing the Panerai OP XII calibre movement. The COSC doesn’t fabricate moves; they certify them craftsmanship of a motion. It has turned into a worldwide accepted means of assessing fine timepieces. The 28 jewel movement stipulates a Glucydur® balance, 28,800 alternations per hour, an Incabloc® anti-shock device, and also a 46 hour power reserve. Unfortunately, restricted visibility keeps this finishing tough hidden from the owners eye.The 44 millimeter (mm) diameter corrects the motion whilst incasing it in 316L steel finished with a brushed finish. The amazingly easy to read dial unites Arabic numerals and hour markers. The chronograph minute counter is at 3 o’clock, the second counter is at 9 o’clock, and the hour counter is in the 6 o’clock position. The angled date window 4:30 place makes you tilt your head and wonder Panerai could fit everything needed on a chronograph dial and still incorporate a date.
When Panerai first came out with the L’Astronomo Tourbillon, they claimed that it was inspired by Galileo Galilei (for obvious astronomical reasons). The astronomical functions of the watches aren’t easily apparent when viewing the front-side of the watch save for the equation of time complication. Of course, there are the sunrise and sunset indicators on the periphery of the dial that require at the least a complex calendar complication. Turn the PAM920 over on its rear and you’ll see one of the newest elements of this watch, which is a moon phase indicator – that is different from the previous 2010 model’s star chart. Opposite a representation of the sun, the moon phase disc itself is beautifully detailed and also turns every 24 hours as an additional indication of the time.
Panerai produces the complicated lattice work on the skeletonized dial of the L’Astronomo Luminor using 3D-printed titanium. They say that it’s the only way to achieve the desired level of quality and precision. It isn’t necessarily apparent to most people on these watches, but if you ask yourself “how did they produce that?” in the watch world, you’ll often be left guessing since exotic production techniques are sometimes used for such exotic products. Even though the PAM920 doesn’t fit the mold of most Panerai watches, it still uses a (large) Luminor 1950-style case and dial that keep it solidly within the brand.
Speaking of the dial, we have more complications to look at including the time with subsidiary seconds dial, second time zone hand (in 12-hour format), month indicator, date (more on that in a moment), and as I said, an equation of time and sunrise/sunset indicators that both use nifty linear scales. It is important to consider that all of the Panerai L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT watches will be produced on order. One of the biggest reasons for this is the sunrise and sunset indicators. These features need to be calibrated to a particular part of the world (only digital watches with these complications can be adjusted for different cities – in other words, different longitude and latitude coordinates). So what Panerai does is have the customer select which city he or she wants the sunrise and sunset information to correspond to.
At this year’s SIHH, Panerai debuted two new models for their Luminor 1950 collection, equally committed to left-handed lovers of the brand. Ariel went hands-on with both and we are looking at the PAM579 Chrono Monopulsante Destro 8 Days Titanio. Housed in the 47mm Luminor 1950 instance — produced from titanium in this case — and equipped with an in-house developed and fabricated monopusher chronograph movement, the 579 contains some of the strongest components of this brand.Limited in manufacturing to only 300 pieces, the PAM579 offers what might be best described as a smart assortment of some of this brand’s most conventional design hints mixed up with a few contemporary elements. The Luminor 1950’s large cushion shaped case, its curved profile along with significant crown-protector brings Panerai’s history to a concrete form, invoking the times when their watches were worn by the Italian Navy divers. Panerai eased up that vintage feel with a modern selection of material for your circumstance. It’s performed in brushed and polished titanium. Those with a deep love for the brand — or simply with very excellent memory — will recall a 2011 SIHH novelty, the PAM345. That was a 44 mm version of the specific same instance style with the exact same crown placementexactly the same material and same motion. So what has changed?First of all, the situation is now 47 mm, which is the “authentic” dimension for the case. Since its first appearance as the Reference 6152-1 from 1946, the cushion shaped 47 millimeter case and the large crown shield have become the trademark look of Panerai. Speaking of this case, one might wonder what Destro stands for in its description. The Destro cases — with Destro meaning “right” in Italian and referring to how these versions must be worn on the ideal wrist — have the crown along with its bridge at the 9 o’clock position. This layout is not new by any means because such watches were also employed by navy divers back in the afternoon — decades before, which is.
Moreover, with only a small circular aperture showing the column-wheel, the wearer is refused the superb spectacle of the lateral coupling interfacing using the six pillars of the castellated wheel. It is a shame, because it feels that some of the virtue of the movement specification is not being adequately shared with its owner.Nevertheless, that’s actually my only criticism of the PAM00526 and, in all honesty, wouldn’t dissuade me from considering the timepiece for my own collection.anerai has produced an interesting timepiece with the Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio. It is comfortable to wear, has an intriguing dial and proves easy to read, both day and night.Panerai offers many timepieces that are vintage in appearance, referencing former historic versions of its back catalogue. However, by producing the PAM 526, Panerai has revealed it is capable of producing modern watches, dispelling any accusations of being type-cast. Beyond, the handsome lines, resides much mechanical merit and the specification is extremely impressive.I do not ever envisage owning a yacht, nor competing in a regatta, but owning a Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio remains a realistic proposition.Add to all this research that Mr. Jose Pereztroika of perezcope.com has ran — read that here and you’ll learn the Mare Nostrum’s case design actually is closer to what Panerai had been doing at the mid-1950s, instead of from the early ’40s. Panerai has a rather poorly recorded background and the Mare Nostrum is a most fitting example — there is one actual detailed picture from the ’50s, the one which you see further over, and that is about it. However, the Mare Nostrum has definitely existed and it’s for everyone to determine how much weight they give to the simple fact of whether or not Italian navy commanders were rocking it during World War II.
Panerai makes a big deal out of the date indicator. Why? The reason is because if you look closely, you’ll notice that while you can see the date numeral in the date window, even though the dial is skeletonized you cannot view the date wheel. Cool right? That’s because Panerai designed a system using two sheets of polarized glass – with one of those sheets being the date disc itself. Right over the date window the polarized planes overlap in a manner so as to allow for half of the light of the lower disc to enter and thus, you can see the date. Given how polarization works the date disc appears almost invisible everywhere else.
There will always be a place for legendary, uber-tough, brooding Panerai — those rock solid divers upon which the brand’s reputation was built. But there’s also space for this brand new, slightly more elegant expression of the new — ideally that distance is the sun-drenched deck of a wooden vessel, drifting around the Mediterranean Sea.Last week, we brought you a behind-the-scenes look in sailing with Officine Panerai in the Opera House Cut Regatta, part of this Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge. There, we said that in honour of its long-standing engagement with the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, Panerai has introduced a fresh assortment of three PCYC timepieces. Basically, the collection consists of three watches: 2 Panerai Luminor 1950 PCYC 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Acciaio 44mm — one with a black dial and one with an ivory dial; and one Panerai Luminor 1950 PCYC Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Titanio 47mm. These super flyback chronographs (Pam 00653 and 00654) possess a classic appeal, as they’re motivated by the excellent classic yachts of these races. On the opposite side of the watch is a relief engraving of a tasteful classic yacht, together with the words Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge under it. Each watch is powered with the 302-part Manufacture P. 9100 automatic caliber. With the press of the push piece at 8:00, the watch immediately zeroes that the chronograph hands and immediate restarts them with no necessity for quitting to return them to zero.
It is almost easy to forget that the in-house made and developed Panerai caliber P.2005/GLS manually-wound movement also has a tourbillon. Alas, it was developed at a time when pretty much all “mega luxury” watches needed to have tourbillons. These days the tourbillon isn’t exactly passe, but its appearance as an exclusive status symbol has certainly lost a lot of weight. The tourbillon in the P.2005/GLS is actually somewhat novel because of the axis that it spins on. Rather than spin on the tourbillon cage’s vertical axis, the tourbillon in this Panerai watch spins on its horizontal axis. I also like that this is among the rarer 4Hz (28,800bph) tourbillon movements as opposed to 3Hz, which is the frequency most tourbillon balance wheels operate at. The movement further has four days of power reserve (with a handy indicator on the rear of the watch) and is produced from 451 parts.
A tiny seconds display features at 9 o’clock, in common with different non-chronograph versions from the Panerai catalogue, together with a 12-hour chronograph enroll positioned at 3 o’clock. Both subdials share exactly the identical ratio and provide a balance to the dial that’s very agreeable.Two central chronograph hands attribute on the dial. The blue hand is a central chronograph seconds hand, whereas the orange hands is a central chronograph seconds hand. It’s the latter that provides a fascinating point of differentiation.Prior into a regatta commencing, the yachts have to assemble for the beginning and also a warning, normally five minutes ahead of the commencement of a race, is made with flags and an audible signal. The wearer of the PAM 526 can press on the orange push-piece, at 4 o’clock, to advance the orange chronograph minutes hand counter-clockwise to the “start” area, indicated on the dial along with flange.The 2 chronograph hands start cutting down to zero and continue thereafter after the race has commenced.A minute railing enclosing the dial helps ease of read-off. The inner flange, as well as carrying the countdown scale, shows values around 15 minutes before the beginning of the race. What’s more, in addition, it features a tachymeter scale calibrated for knots, perfect for determining the speed of a yacht over a defined distance.It all sounds very complicated, though, a couple of minutes of familiarisation soon reveals the lookout to be very easy to use.The start / stop chronograph button is placed at 10 o’clock. The reset button is positioned at 8 o’clock. This is a flyback chronograph permitting the wearer to press on the reset button whilst the stop-watch is in operation. This results in the chronograph hands to prevent, reset and begin in one simple action, demonstrating useful for timing successive occasions.
Given that each L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT timepiece is “made to order,” Panerai can also customize the case material, finishing, and even the dial and hand colors. What they can’t do is make this big watch any smaller if you aren’t into a 50mm wide case. In this form the case is in polished and brushed titanium – and it looks lovely with great quality. The case is also water-resistant to 100m – making it at least somewhat durable like a Panerai watch should be. Ironically, even some Panerai “sport watches” are only water-resistant to 30m (even though the brand’s entire theme is Italian dive watches).
With an incredible “watch lovers” movement and cool Panerai look, the Panerai L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT is an incredible collector’s watch for high-end buyers. It has exclusivity in that no two of these watches are likely to even be made the same, along with a movement that no mom and pop horology shop can produce. People who invest in a product like this clearly need to have a deep appreciation for the Panerai brand. Though, that isn’t enough. You can spend big bucks on some rare vintage Panerai models if you merely want to spend a lot. This is a watch for those who love Panerai’s style, but also love to admire the complication and prestige of a serious piece of high-end mechanical horology. Even though it will totally fly over the heads of so many Panerai fans, it does serve its purpose well as a halo product for the brand. The Panerai L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 has a retail price of $230,000 USD. panerai.com