Panerai is steering an interesting course through the vast oceans of watches. The Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-Tech 3 Days Automatic has all the traditional Panerai characteristics – a very long name, a large 47 mm cushion-shaped case, simple dial design, patented crown protector – but in addition, it shows the brand’s commitment to the development of new materials. This is the second watch in the new Panerai 2017 collection – following the Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days – to showcase a new material, in this case Bulk Metallic Glass (BMG Tech), an alloy of zirconium, copper, aluminium, titanium and nickel that is produced in such a way as to prevent crystallization. This gives BMG-Tech greater strength and resistance to magnetic fields.
BMG-Tech is used for the case of the watch, the bezel, crown and crown protector, and it has an appearance similar to that of titanium but darker grey. Other features of the timepiece are typical of diving watches: a case with 30 bar (300 metres) water resistance, a unidirectional rotating bezel, and hands, hour markers and reference dot on the bezel coated in two different colours of SuperLuminova.
Panerai is very good at making beautiful watches. It’s easy to overlook this when writing about a new timepiece, but there are some brands that make watches that look perfect, in that there’s nothing you want to change. I’m sure that for the PAM00692, some people will take issue with the date window at 3 o’clock, but in this timepiece, I don’t think it’s a major problem. The dial is perfect, with lots of space, big, chunky, stylized hands, the small seconds dial that is a fractal-like miniature version of the main dial, and the texts reduced to the essentials. Case finish is excellent as usual, and the caseback has been dedicated the same design care as the rest, with a depiction of the Italian navy manned torpedo “MAS”, nicely arranged texts, and the serial number just below centre. The words “Firenze 1860” indicate the value that Panerai attributes to their Florentine heritage and their Italian design flair.
The caseback is in titanium, and the strap is in rubber. The movement is the P.9010 self-winding calibre, made entirely in-house. It has a three-day (72 hours) power reserve provided by two mainspring barrels, with a balance running at 28,800 vibrations per hour, 4 Hertz. It has the stop-seconds function so that, by pulling out the crown exactly when the second hand reaches the top of the scale, the time can be set and the crown pushed back in, synchronized to a reference time signal. A nice feature that enables the user to see just how accurately the watch is running.
Fast hour change
Another feature of the P.9010 movement is that the hour can be adjusted separately to the minute hand, in hour jumps, useful when changing time zones or changing from summer to winter time. There is no fast date change, but you can change the date quickly by using the hour-changing function. The movement is relatively slim at 6 mm, and this has enabled the usually very thick Luminor case to be slimmed down to about 15 mm thickness.
Price and reference
The Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-Tech 3 Days Automatic is reference PAM00692, price €9,900, US $10,200. It will reach boutiques in about May/June 2017.