Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Ceramica

Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Ceramica, $13,600, by officine panerai.

text TERENCE LIM photography CHING

At Officine Panerai, its watchmaking philosophy is simple: High-quality proprietary movements coupled with material innovation. And this has been its strategy of choice for several years, further backed up by its 2012 offerings. The latest collection consisted of pieces using only in-house calibres. Besides stainless steel and ceramic, it also ventured into using red gold, an alloy of gold, copper and few other metals.

What about design, you ask? After all, it was its bold aesthetics that cast the then-unknown brand into the spotlight. (Panerai became more visible when luxury conglomerate Richemont acquired it in 1997.) To say that it doesn’t bother with design is somewhat unfair: Every Panerai, regardless of model, year of production or function, has such a distinctive look that it is instantly recognisable, even from afar.

That Panerai doesn’t do fancy case shapes or incorporate complicated functions with many buttons has long been accepted by even the harshest detractors. The Italian brand simply goes about doing what it does best: Bold, clean, utilitarian and highly functional instruments - perfectly in line with what founder Giovanni Panerai when it first started. (The brand was the official supplier to the Italian Royal Navy.) In fact, Panerai produces just Radiomir and Luminor variations year in, year out.

“It’s a question of simplicity and authenticity. Panerai had no watchmaking heritage but still produced watches,” its head honcho Angelo Bonati told HHJournal, an online watch magazine. “Our job has been to build a recognisable brand with watchmaking content, in particular by producing our own calibres.”
 

Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Ceramica

Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Ceramica, $180,000, by officine panerai.

This year, it launched two brand new movements - the P.3001 and P.3002 - fitted into the Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days and the Luminor 1950 3 Days Power Reserve respectively. [See sidebar] And it also improved on the P.2002 handwound movement and P.2005 tourbillon movement with different aesthetic finishes.

Powering the Radiomir 8 Days GMT Oro Rosso, the P.2002 features finely skeletonised bridges and barrels, which reveal the wheelwork as having the same red-gold colour as the case. The P.2005, on the other hand, has gone through a blackening treatment to give it the same matte black as the case of the Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Ceramica.

This year marks the 15th year that Bonati has skippered the Panerai boat. The journey may not have been all smooth-sailing. But with the brand’s  dogged adherence to its DNA and direction, charting the way even out of the roughest of waters should
pose no challenge.
 

The side view of the iconic Luminor 1950 case.

INTERNAL AFFAIRS

A rundown of Officine Panerai’s latest movements.
 

P.3001

P.3001

Based on its P.3000 handwound calibre, this is very similar in terms of structure and functions. But it has been endowed with a GMT function indicated by a central hand, zero-reset function and power-reserve indication visible on the back of the movement.

P.3002

P.3002

A twin to the P.3001, it has only one difference: Its power reserve of three days is displayed on the dial via a hand across an arc instead of on the back of the movement.