Despite offering a list of PAM-numbered references that could fill a phonebook, Panerai has long been defined by just two major families: the Radiomir and Luminor, with the rugged, dive-ready Submersible models mostly regarded as offshoots of the Luminor 1950. As of this year, however, the Submersible — whose design inspiration can be traced back to the L’Egiziano model made for the Egyptian Navy in the 1950s — has become a family in its own right, with only the word “Submersible” rather than “Luminor Submersible” on the dials. In building out the new collection, Panerai has used the Submersible to showcase some of its innovative new high-tech materials and to highlight its latest partnership with an icon of the extreme sports world.
Headlining the new collection, unveiled this week at SIHH 2018, is the Submersible Chrono Guillaume Néry Edition 47MM, a timepiece celebrating Panerai”s new collaboration with Guillaume Néry, the French free diving champion who broke four world records and is now known worldwide for his stunning underwater photography and videos. The case, water-resistant to a professional-level 300 meters, is made of titanium, with a unidirectional rotating dive-scale bezel made of blue ceramic (Despite Panerai’s well-known history as a supplier of watches to Italian naval divers, the Submersible is the only Panerai model that would pass muster as a real diving watch nowadays, as neither the Luminor nor Radiomir models are equipped with such bezels). The dial is “shark gray” with an appealing pebbled texture. Another shade of blue makes an appearance on the central chronograph seconds hand and on the hands of the two parallel subdials an hour counter at 3 o’clock and running seconds at 9 o’clock.
The 47-mm case is equipped with a chronograph buttons at 8 and 10 o’clock, the Panerai-specific and Panerai-trademarked locking bridge device to protect the crown, and a solid caseback engraved with Nery’s signature as well as a reference to his final and perhaps most impressive professional free-diving feat: 126 meters, the record breaking depth he achieved with a single breath.
Beneath that engraved, screwed titanium caseback beats the movement, Panerai’s in-house Caliber P.9100, which powers the timekeeping as well as a chronograph with a flyback function. The automatic movement has a vertical clutch and column wheel, and stores a three-day (72-hour) power reserve in two series-connected spring barrels. Other technical highlights include a seconds-reset device, a bidirectional rotor, and a variable inertia balance oscillating at 28,800 vph.
Panerai is also offering another edition of the Submersible Chrono Guillaume Néry, in a 47-mm DLC-coated titanium case with a blue-to-black gradient dial, strictly limited to 15 pieces. The hour markers and hands of this model are treated with a pale turquoise blue that is designed to bring to mind the seas off French Polynesia. Why French Polynesia? Because the fortunate 15 owners of this watch will receive not only an extremely rare timepiece but also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dive with Néry himself in the waters near his home in the island of Moorea.
Stay tuned to WatchTime.com to discover more highlight pieces from the new Submersible collection as we continue to cover new SIHH releases in the coming days and weeks.