When you think Panerai, you’ll probably have in mind a cushion-shaped watch with diving capacities, an oversized case, a sandwich dial and a relatively simple yet powerful movement, with barely any complications to display. And rightfully so, as this is the basic concept of the brand, found under the classic Luminor or Radiomir collections. Yet, the Florentine brand has demonstrated in past years that it could also go into complications, such as chronographs, the always-questionable equation of time or even tourbillons. One complication that the brand has barely even touched through its history (I say barely because there’s one example to be found) is the perpetual calendar, otherwise a classic for the industry. Surprisingly, it’s only in 2021 that this will come in the collection, with the new Panerai Luminor Perpetual Calendar Platinumtech PAM00715 we have here, and its new in-house movement.
You can search deep into the brand’s history and you’ll only find one evidence of a watch made by Panerai that features a perpetual calendar complication. This watch, known under the references FER00015 (steel) and FER00016 (pink gold), doesn’t even feature the name Panerai on its dial, as it was branded Ferrari. Indeed, from 2005 to 2010, there was a deal between both brands for a collection named “Ferrari Engineered by Officine Panerai” with watches that were easily identifiable as made by Panerai – cushion-shaped case yet with styling differences – but did not feature the watchmaker’s name on the dial. Instead, only the Ferrari branding was used. This Ferrari-themed watch is the only time a Panerai would feature a perpetual calendar, in this instance powered by calibre OP XXII, a Valjoux 7750 base without its chronograph function but with an added Agenhor QP module on top. Rather surprising indeed for such an established watchmaker, but things are changing this year as the Officine is presenting an in-house perpetual calendar watch, with a new movement and a few tricks to make it quite special.
This new complicated movement, known as the Calibre Panerai P.4100, is presented within two references, the PAM00742 in Goldtech with a blue dial (not photographed here) and the present PAM00715, an even more luxurious take on the concept with a platinum-based case and a green dial – a theme that was first introduced with the Luminor Marina reference PAM01116.
Looking at this new PAM00715 Perpetual Calendar – or Calendario Perpetuo if you want to do it right – there’s no denying that we’re looking at a watch from the Officine, with all the trademark design cues found in modern references. Part of the Luminor collection, this model is on the contemporary side of things, with a 44mm case with an edgier design than the Luminor Base or Logo watches. Of course, the crown protecting device is present as well as the bulbous crystal on top with a large dial opening.
One of the specificities of this model is its material. Indeed, in order to make this new movement more special, Panerai decided to house it only in its proprietary precious metals. The PAM00742 is housed in Goldtech, a specific alloy with high cooper proportion and a touch of platinum, giving a deeper red colour and more resistant to fade. The model we have today, the PAM00715, is made of Platinumtech, another proprietary alloy coming out of Panerai’s Laboratorio di Idee. Still rated as a 950 platinum alloy, it “is harder than conventional platinum with enhanced physical properties” according to the brand, which doesn’t disclose its formula, and says that “it is more difficult to work and to polish.” For the rest, the case is typical of the brand’s production and features sapphire crystals front and caseback, with a water-resistance of 50m – not what you’d expect from a brand with such dive watch credentials, specifically since there are no recessed correctors in the caseband to reduce the WR.
On the wrist, there’s no doubt that the 44mm diameter is felt, and so is the weight of platinum. Not a surprise from Panerai, which is used to oversized and heavy watches, but make sure to test the watch before getting it, as it deserves a solid wrist.
The dial of this new Panerai Luminor Perpetual Calendar PAM00715 is probably the most noticeable element. The brand brings back here the combination of platinum with a relatively soft-coloured green dial, with a classic sandwich architecture and a sunray-brushed pattern. It is paired with gold-coloured hands and the luminescent material is white, for a relatively modern look overall. The colour is pleasant and subtle, and pairs well with the patinated brown alligator strap, closed by a platinum pin buckle.
The display is also rather special. In order to retain the emblematic look of Panerai models, with their uncluttered dials, the brand has decided to keep things simple. Besides the central hours and minutes hands, an independent GMT function (always practical), as well as the presence of a sub-dial at 9 o’clock with the small seconds and day-night indication, the perpetual calendar function only displays essential indications; the day of the week and the date. What could be mistaken for a day-date watch is of course more complex and other calendar indications are relegated on the backside. In all fairness, we usually have a pretty good idea of the current month and this display is quite pleasant – even if a bit Moser-styled.
Turning the watch over, the in-house Calibre Panerai P.4100 reveals a known architecture (shared with other movements from the P.400X family), but highly modified to accommodate the QP functions. Indeed, the QP isn’t a module added on top of the movement but it is integrated. Additional functions on the back include an indication of the month and leap year, practical when adjusting the watch, an indication of the year with a 4-digit display and a power reserve indicator. This movement, wound by a micro-rotor, beats at a modern frequency of 4Hz and, thanks to its twin-barrel architecture, can store up to 72 hours or 3 days of energy when fully wound. The decoration is traditional for the brand, with hairline decoration on the main bridge and diamond-cut bevels. The presence of an engraved 22k gold micro-rotor elevates the look a bit, but one could expect a bit more from a watch of this complexity and price.
Availability & Price
The Panerai Luminor Perpetual Calendar Platinumtech PAM00715 is now available from the brand’s boutique and retailers. This platinum model is priced at EUR 66,000, while the Goldtech PAM00742 is priced at EUR 46,000.
I know that platinum is harder to machine and finish than gold, but a €20K difference between gold and platinum feels exaggerated, especially on a watch that isn’t cheap to begin with. Looking at an obvious competitor, the equally large and bold IWC Pilot QP, it comes at about EUR 30,000 in steel. If Panerai would offer its new Calendario Perpetuo in steel or titanium in this price range, it would be more relevant. Not even mentioning that it would still look as good and would be more comfortable…
For more details, please visit www.panerai.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.