Florence based, Neuchâtel developed Officine Panerai describe the impressive 47mm Panerai Luminor 1950 Rattrapante 8 Days Titanio (Ref. PAM530) as a sophisticated haute horlogerie model in which the classic Panerai design is perfectly combined with the technical aspects of high quality sports watchmaking.
That’s all well and good, just don’t let The Watch Snob get to hear about it. The Watch Snob, who writes a regular column for Ask Men.com, tends to be a little sniffy about Panerai, describing the watch as a fad. But there are many who would not agree, least of all Sylvester Stallone, who ‘discovered’ the brand in 1995 while shooting on location in Italy. In actual fact Panerai, established in 1860, incorporated technology which was a guarded secret of the Italian Navy. Their watches were only produced in small quantities and only made to order, usually only 30 at a time. That’s not so much a fad as a watch with carefully controlled production limits.
The Panerai Luminor 1950 Rattrapante 8 Days Titanio introduced towards the end of last year to celebrate the brand’s sponsorship of the Panerai Transat Classique 2012 regatta, is a split-seconds chronograph with a vertical clutch and twin column wheels. It offers numerous functions that are characteristic of top-of-the range mechanical watchmaking, all assembled in the P.2006 movement, entirely developed and created in the Officine Panerai manufacture in the Swiss watchmaking heartland of Neuchâtel.
Because of, or in spite of, Sylvester Stallone, Officine Panerai continues to attract a large swathe of fans and admirers.
A rattrapante is a split seconds function, often used in motor racing to record lap times. It operates two hands that are superimposed and partially independent: the first is entirely controlled by the button at 8 o’clock, which starts, stops and resets the chronograph hand; the second, controlled by the button at 10 o’clock, is used for measuring partial times or a second event simultaneous with the first. Any confusion over legibility is overcome by the hand of the small minute counter moving in jumps while the other moves continuously. The electric blue second hand and sub dial hand at 3’0 clock add another distinct feature to the watch.
Typically of a Panerai model, the in-house developed P.2006 hand-wound movement has a long power reserve of eight days. To achieve this duration requires three patented spring barrels that store the energy. The remaining power reserve can be read on the dial from a linear indicator above the number six. The P.2006 movement also has a seconds reset function, which zeroes the seconds hand by stopping the balance wheel until the winding crown has been returned to the running position.
There is no mistaking the distinctive look of a Panerai. The Panerai Luminor 1950 Rattrapante 8 Days Titanio has a brushed titanium case with a confidently large 47 mm diameter case. The watch is fitted with the classic lever device which hermetically seals the winding crown to ensure water-resistance to 100 metres. On the caseback, in the centre of the 12-sided , is a sapphire crystal window through which the elegant finish of the P.2006 movement can be seen.
The bezel is made of polished titanium and surrounds a large black dial of great simplicity and sporting elegance. The structure of the dial consists of two superimposed discs with a layer of Super-LumiNova® between them: a type of construction which has been characteristic of Panerai watches since the 1930s, it provides great legibility and visibility even in situations of very low light, such as underwater.
The Special Edition of the Panerai Luminor 1950 Rattrapante 8 Days Titanio (Ref. PAM427) has a production run of 500, generous by earlier standards, and comes on a quality rubber strap. The watch forms part of the Officine Panerai Specialities collection. It’s still possible to find the watch online but you are always advised to start your search through an authorised dealer as there is a profusion of Panerai copies out there, and even knowledgeable collectors can be caught out.