SIHH 2014 – the DNA lives on in gold and complications

by on Jan.26, 2014, under Allgemein

Returned from the SIHH 2014 in Geneva, took home lots of impressions and input on the new released Panerai models, which represent the future of the brand.

Impressive to enter the Panerai booth first: every visitor comes along the “legends”, walking inside is guided by historic models and instruments which carry the Panerai DNA: left and right, the entrance was equipped with Vintage Panerai models 3646, 6152, 6152/1 Angelus, 6152/1 Lefty, Mare Nostrum, compass and depth gauge as well as the famous PreVendome 5218-202/A . So, before you get know the future, you got to know the past – where the brand has its origins and where all the models got their shape from. Other brands of the Richemont family carry their guests into created worlds, themes and visions while Panerai keeps his roots clearly visible – at their booth and in the displays that presented the new models.

On a side note during the past days it seems that in the Panerai collectors world it has become a “tradition” to criticize whatever announced new and modern, which let me – as a long term “paneristi” (who got in touch with Panerai in 1998) wonder if there are some collectors around which would be ever satisfied with any of the watches Panerai introduces to their customers… How could Panerai exist if they would build only Base or Marina models in steel? Years ago the inhouse movements were a big step into the right direction – to survive in the world of luxury brands, trying to stay attractive in the market and under an endless number of competitors. Panerai is going without doubt its own way, which has been a successful one in past and hopefully becomes an ongoing and successful one in the future.

Inbetween all this, we can obviously take notice of watch collectors which decided to go another way, maybe just recently or maybe already years ago. They seem to enjoy coming back to places they once joined with pleasure sharing the passion for the same brand, but this time – since years when at the SIHH new models are presented – they throw mud over the pond to underline how much they dislike the new models. [Note to myself: if I ever would quit with Panerai for whatever reason – the last thing I would do is come back and express my negative comments.] We all know how easy it is to talk and write something bad, and how much more it takes to even try to understand the way which Panerai decided to go into the future.

This year’s new Radiomir 1940 chronographs are quite special and limited (50 pices each). Yes, they are expensive, they are made of precious metals – platinum (PAM518), pink gold (PAM519) and white gold (PAM520). Not watches for the “average paneristi” in regards of price and availability, but for sure these watches will find a lot of attraction around the world. On the wrist they appear huge and heavy but als comfortable to wear. The 45 mm cased bicompax chronographs in the new released “Radiomir 1940” case are powered with the hand-wound Panerai OPXXV movement. The dial, subdials and hands of the watch remind me on the legedary “Mare Nostrum” chronograph from the 1940s. I wonder if and when I will see one of these three references “in real” on a wrist of a Panerai collector.

New Luminor Base models (PAM560, PAM561 and PAM562) as well as new Luminor Marina models (PAM563, PAM564) in steel with white or black dial and also titanium cases with tobacco dials – all with the new inhouse P.5000 movement, entirely executed by Panerai. History repeating – once more in the Panerai history, 8-day-movements replacing movements with less power reserve, just like it happened with the Angelus movements many decades ago.

Another 44 mm Panerai will come with this P.5000 movement – the PAM590. First exclusively for the north american market, the watch bears the legendary 8 GIORNI BREVETTATO logo on its dial. In the first moment a bit “untypical” because of the missing “3” on the right side of the dial, it looks quite special and could be a quick selling piece.

Another unique edition chrono (300 pieces) is the 1950 Chrono Monopulsante left-handed 8 Days Titanio (long name!) – PAM579. The hand-wound P.2004/9 movement from Panerai is a fast runner (28.000 a/h), fitted into the 47 mm Luminor case. The single-button chronograph’s counters are placed in the center of the dial. Ecru and Tobacco are giving the face of the watch a warm appearance, matching the titanium case and titanium chrono button. A display back let the owner see the power reserve indicator. Another complication combined in a historic case – future meets history left-handed.  Another left-handed legend surfaced in the shape of the PAM557. Regular production PAM372 got a brother in shape of this historic icon, powered with the P.3000 movement in stainless steel. If this isnt a watch which paneristi were waiting for a long time, I don’t know what els to say than “finally a 47 mm Destro in steel!”

Panerai added two huge and heavy pocket watches into their portfolio in 2014. Unique editions PAM529 (white gold) and PAM447 (pink gold) in 50 mm (50 pieces each) with P.3001/10 inhouse movement. With hinged cover and chain, Panerai offers these traditional timekeepers to their customers.

Last but not least, a Pendulum Clock (PAM500) rounds up the new releases in 2014. Inspired by Galileo’s discovery in the 17th century, the “measure of time” beats again in a creation from Officine Panerai. The pendulum of Galileo Gallilei, device for measuring time which marked a turning point in horology because it opened the doors of the modern era. The law of isochronism of the pendulum says: “The period of each swing of a simple pendulum, that is, one with a weight attached by an inelastic thread to a fixed support, is independent of the amplitude of the swing.” (Galileo Galilei)

The Panerai Pendulum Clock is a faithful reproduction of the instrument designed by the Tuscan genius. The PAM500 is based on the model made by the Florentine clockmaker Eustachio Porcellotti in 1887. It is an almost exact interpretation of Porcellotti’s work which was once published in the very first Panerai brochures in the late 1990s (see the Panerai book, written by Negretti in 1997/1998, page 15). The Art of Timekeeping comes in shape of a key wound mechanical movement, a power reserve of 8 days, with one barrel. It shows hours and minutes on a sandblasted glass with roman numerals. The Pendulum Clock is placed in a aluminium framed glass on a mahagony base, personalised with PANERAI.

May the new models from the SIHH 2014 not pleased every Panerai collector, at least – as an enthusiast of the brand’s history – I was pleased. Why? Because when I left the Panerai booth, I passed the “legends” again – historic watches and instruments, of which I was able to see many details in the new models – even in gold and complications… [Volker Wiegmann]


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