On the heels of its big announcement at SIHH 2019 — that the Luminor Submersible sub-family will be re-branded and refocused as its own stand-alone collection, called simply Submersible — Officine Panerai re-introduces its first bronze-cased watch within that family, the Submersible Bronzo, retaining the 47-mm, cushion-shaped bronze case and adding a new brown dial and brown bezel insert made of ceramic.
The Panerai Submersible Bronzo – 47mm (Reference PAM00968 in its newest incarnation) follows up the original Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Bronzo model (PAM00382). launched in 2011, and its slightly more complicated, and even longer-named, successor, 2015’s Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Power Reserve Automatic Bronzo (PAM00507). The Submersible series itself is a modern descendant of the so-called L’Egiziano, a rare and legendary timepiece that Panerai made for Egyptian naval officers in the 1950s, back when the brand was based in Florence and producing timekeeping equipment solely for military clients rather than for retail consumers.
Like its modern predecessors, the new Submersible Bronzo’s case is constructed from the bronze alloy CuSn8, which blends copper and tin in their pure states, which is both structurally strong and highly corrosion-resistant. Bronze, historically associated with ships, diving equipment, and various nautical pursuits, has developed a growing fan base in the watch-collector community for its warm, gold-like tone and its tendency to develop a unique patina from exposure to air, humidity, heat and wear — rendering each watch individual to its owner and his or her experiences. The notable new addition to this model is the micro-sandblasted, brown ceramic disk inserted into the rotating dive-scale bezel, also made of bronze, which harmonizes with the brown dial and brown leather strap for a very unified overall look.
The case is equipped with the trademarked Panerai locking-bridge crown protector and is water-resistant to 300 meters. Under a nonreflective sapphire crystal, the dial hosts luminous, applied hour markers, a date window at 3 o’clock and a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. The studded, rotating bezel, with its 15-minute scale for timing dives, is designed with a patented system that ensures the ratchet moves precisely from one click to the next. Another sapphire crystal is fitted into the caseback, which is made of titanium rather than bronze — the former being comfortable against the skin due to its non-allergenic properties, the latter less ideal because of its tendency to oxidize and develop patina as described above.
Beating in full view beneath that exhibition caseback is Panerai’s Caliber P.9010 movement, made entirely in the brand’s manufacture in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, self-winding by means of a bidirectional rotor, and storing a power reserve of 72 hours, or three days. Like other Panerai in-house movements, it is fitted with a device for stopping the balance wheel to more precisely synchronize the watch while setting it, as well as a system for quickly adjusting the hour hand forward or backward without interfering with the running of the seconds hand — a useful feature when changing time zones or in the event one needs to quickly adjust the date.
The Submersible Bronzo’s sturdy, brown natural leather strap features beige contrast stitching and closes around the wrist with a large brushed titanium buckle. Each watch comes with an additional rubber strap in military green, all the more suitable for those who might want to use the timepiece, which is water-resistant to an impressive 300 meters, for actual diving. The price is set at $16,500, and Panerai says that the model is available only in Panerai boutiques, at the company’s website www.panerai.com, and at the Panerai’s WeChat e-commerce site.