Panerai celebrates 70 years of Luminor brilliance
The watch world loves a birthday, the anniversary of a historic model being the perfect excuse to launch new product in celebration. That can sometimes raise eyebrows. For every 50th anniversary of the moon landing – a fairly historic event in anyone’s book, and one for which Omega recently issued handsome interpretations of its Speedmaster ‘Moonwatch’, as worn by the Apollo 11 astronauts – there’s a watch brand gamely trying to shoehorn celebrations into a 14th or a 19th birthday, as if their bottom line is so precarious they can’t afford to wait another 12 months for a round number.
This year Panerai, the Italian-designed, Swiss-powered company known for the dive watches it first supplied to the Italian navy in the Thirties, has just cause to celebrate. The occasion is not the birthday of watch, rather a substance used in its watches. Tritium is a glow-in-the-dark isotope used in nautical instruments, compasses and weapons' sights. Panerai called it 'Luminor' and patented for use in its timepieces – luminescence being a useful addition when you’re in the depths of the sea. (The tritium-based paint continued serving Panerai until 2009, when the Japanese-developed fluorescent alternative ‘Luminova’ took its place.) In 2020 it is 70 years since Lumonir was introduced, a name now used to identify one of Panerai’s most distinctive ranges.
To mark the occasion Panerai is launching seven new Luminor models.
There is the Luminor Marina 44mm, a particularly light and strong edition that extends the luminescence beyond the hour markers and the hands to the crown, the crown guard and even the strap, and comes in a limited edition of 270 pieces. The Luminor Marina Carbotech 44mm, a version using a carbon fibre-based substance developed by Panerai that gives a stealthy black appearance to the watch, also limited to 270 pieces. And the Luminor Marina Fibratech, a version made from an eco-conscious high-tech fibre with origins in basalt, available in two editions, one that makes extensive use of luminescent Super-Luminova on the dial and crown and is limited to 270 pieces, the other non-limited.
Then there is the Luminor Marina Goldtech, a version in a specially developed brushed red gold with a striking deep blue dial. The Luminor Marina DMLS, a none-more-black futuristic version in titanium, developed using a new kind of 3D printing. The Luminor Luna Rossa GMT, a version celebrating the Italian sailboat race that adds a GMT function and a dial covered with technical sail fabric. And the Submersible Ecopangea Tourbillon GMT 50mm Mike Horn Edition – a skeletonised version made of high-tech steel recycled from extreme adventurer Mike Horn’s Arctic sailing ship, the Pangea. That one is the first Marina to feature a tourbillon and comes in a five-watch limited edition, as well as another USP – each owner gets a place on an expedition to the Arctic, under Horn’s supervision.
An impressive line-up, particularly when you consider that two of the models – the Carbotech and Fibratech – come with a 70-year guarantee. An appropriate number, and another reason for celebration.
Luminor Marina 44mm, limited to 270 pieces, £17,000; Luminor Marina Carbotech 44mm, limited to 270 pieces, £14,300; Luminor Marina DMLS, limited to 270 pieces, £13,500; Luminor Marina Goldtech, £20,600; Submersible Ecopangea Tourbillon GMT 50mm Mike Horn Edition, special edition of 5 pieces, £169,900; all available November. Luminor Luna Rossa GMT £9,800; Luminor Marina Fibratech, £14,300; available December. panerai.com