Panerai returns once more to that which they call “Our Sea.” The Panerai Mare Nostrum Chronograph PAM716 (PAM00716) is a surprise, mid-2017 launch from Officine Panerai that actually harkens back to not just its pre-Richemont days, but also into the brand’s first chronograph, produced during World War II. . But if you are more on-point with the background of Panerai than that of the world, you’ll know that Mare Nostrum has been the title of the organization’s very first chronograph, allegedly created for deck officers in the Italian Navy.As you’d imagine, given the standing of mid-20th century Panerai, and the dreadful conditions of World War II, the original Mare Nostrum prototype proved to be a proper monstrum of a watch. For starters, it measured some 52mm wide, and was called Mare Nostrum after the term first used by the Romans — and, well, afterwards first revived by Italian nationalists after the 1861 unification of Italy and then by the fascists of World War II. Therefore, the roots of the title “Mare Nostrum” could be traced back into the age of the expanding Roman Empire, but one really need not look back that far in time to have an idea as to why it had been termed as such in the Italy of the early 1940s. Funnily enough, many sources state that the 1943 prototype of the Mare Nostrum never made it into production as a result of turmoils of the war — sounds just like a lazy explanation, because at what other time than during warfare would a watch designed specifically for the army function of no real use? Anyhow, Panerai also generated other apparatus under the name Mare Nostrum — so while they were not too keen on the watch, they were keen on the title, it seems. Additional Panerai Mare Nostrum items included delay and timing devices for torpedoes and several other explosives used by the Italian military during WWII — just check out that striking looking Mare Nostrum chronograph boasting a Minerva quality and a few nifty anti-vibration devices.
At SIHH 2015 Panerai will unveil the Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Ceramica, a variation of its Luminor chronograph, in matte black ceramic.
Two years ago Panerai unveiled its P.9100 in-house chronograph movement, a self-winding calibre with a condensed chronograph display featuring just two central hands. First available only in steel or gold, the P.9100 has now made its way into the new Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Ceramica PAM580 with a black ceramic case. The look of the new chronograph is classic Panerai: the case is matte black ceramic with a 44 mm diameter, while the dial and hands have faux vintage ivory Super Luminova.
The chronograph has just two hands, both mounted on the central axis of the dial. A blue hands records the elapsed seconds, while the rhodium plated hand just below does the same for the minutes. In addition the chronograph has a flyback function. Constant seconds is displayed in the sub-dial at nine o’clock, with the date just across. A sapphire display back – tinted grey as Panerai has done with other ceramic watches – reveals the P.9100 movement. It has a three day power reserve as well as the usual bells and whistles of a modern chronograph, like a column wheel and vertical clutch.
The price of the Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Ceramica has yet to be announced, but it will be between US$12,800 and US$30,900, which are the prices of the same model in steel and rose gold respectively. An educated guess would peg it at around US$18,000.