Versatility and wearability across a variety of wrist sizes and tastes has become a driving force in luxury watchmakers’ product line extensions in recent years, manifesting itself in downsized versions of some traditionally large models (Exhibit A being IWC’s high-profile launch of a 43-mm version of the Big Pilot’s Watch; Exhibit B, Breitling’s 41-mm, three-hand Navitimer; and so on). Panerai, a watch brand strongly associated with very large timepieces, joins the party this week with the introduction of the Luminor Marina Quaranta — at 40 mm in diameter, the smallest iteration yet of the model and arguably destined to be the one most appealing to a mass audience.
The Quaranta series (Italian for “Forty”), will replace the 42-mm versions of the Luminor Marina that previously represented the smallest case option, and revives a size that had once been part of the model’s history. (The larger 44-mm versions of the Luminor Marina will presumably remain the flagships of the collection.) Aside from the reduced dimensions, the Quaranta models all possess the features identifying the Luminor Marina, including the familiar cushion-shaped case with polished bezel and brushed surfaces, the sandwich-style dial, and the patented safety-locking crown protection device on the case’s right side.
The series launches with three dial selections, all in 40-mm stainless-steel cases and delivered with two color-coordinated straps, one in calf leather, the other alligator: matte white dial with black alligator and deep brown calf; matte black dial with black alligator and black calf; and sun-brushed blue dial with navy blue alligator and “tobacco” brown calf. All the straps are equipped with Panerai’s patented Quick Release system for changing easily without tools.
The Luminor Marina dial layout —with luminous sword hands, large luminous hour markers and numerals, small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, and date at 3 o’clock — remains strikingly legible at the reduced size. Behind the dial, inside the 100-meter water resistant case with solid brushed steel caseback, ticks Panerai’s in-house Caliber P.900, a self-winding movement holding a three-day (72 hour) power reserve in a single spring barrel and equipped with an Incabloc anti-shock device. The movement, used previously in Panerai’s Luminor Due models, was designed to be as thin as possible (just 4.2 mm) while still providing the three-day power supply and the date indication.
With the launch of the Luminor Marina Quaranta, Panerai is obviously reaching out to those watch aficionados who have appreciated the brand’s signature style from afar but have been intimidated by its watches’ typically robust sizes; the series just may be the compromise that many were seeking. All three models are priced at $7,100.