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Summer-time sailing with Panerai

Posted by Tom Mulraney on

Summer-time sailing with Panerai

Over-sized watch specialist Panerai has a long-established history with the sea. The company spent most of its formative years in the early 20th-century making precision instruments for the Italian Navy such as compasses and wrist depth gauges, before eventually being commissioned to create several wrist watch prototypes to be used by the elite frogman commandos of the First Submarine Group Command.

In recent years however the luxury watch-maker has become much more closely associated with the world of competitive sailing, including the establishment of the Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge (PCYC). Now in its tenth year, the PCYC has expanded to include ten of the world’s most prestigious classic yacht regattas, divided into two circuits – Mediterranean and North American – which are joined by two independent regattas: the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta and the Panerai British Classic Week, the latter event of which Watch Anish was invited to attend earlier this year in July.

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Panerai British Classic Week

Established in 2001, the Panerai British Classic Week is an annual classic yacht regatta held in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The 2014 regatta took place from the 12th to 19th July, with racing officially commencing on Sunday 13th. A mix of spirited sailing and lively social events, the week-long event never fails to draw a crowd, with spectators soaking up the sun and the sights in spectacular style. It’s also a great opportunity to do a bit of watch-spotting, with a number of nautical-themed pieces on display, including my personal favorite, the Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Titanio or 1950 Regatta for short.

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The Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Titanio

As you probably guessed by the name, the 1950 Regatta has been designed with skippers in mind, and features a number of useful functions for racing and even sailing in general. The primary one of course is the regatta countdown feature, which keeps track of the various stages of elapsed time before the race begins (generally a 5-minute period, broken down into one-minute intervals.) This is denoted by an orange section at the top of the dial between 11 and 12 o’clock and indicated by the matching orange hand. The watch is also equipped with a flyback chronograph as well as a knots scale that can be used to calculate the boat’s speed. All of this is packed into a large but comfortable 47mm titanium case complete with polished bezel and paired nicely with a Panerai personalized rubber strap.

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The Luminor GMT 3 Day Power Reserve Automatic

Of course if you’re not planning to actually do any racing but still want to look the part, than you may find yourself better suited to the Luminor GMT 3 Day Power Reserve Automatic. Powered by the automatic mechanical Panerai P.9002 calibre this svelte, 42mm beauty offers dual-time functionality in a nicely polished stainless steel case, making it perfect for those occasions when you decide you want to go sailing around the world. A black dial with Paris hobnails gives the watch an added touch of class and really makes it stand out on the wrist, especially in the sunlight.

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Luminor Submersible 1950 Left-Handed 3-Days Automatic Titanio

Alternatively you may want to consider the special edition Luminor Submersible 1950 Left-Handed 3-Days Automatic Titanio – another favorite of mine. As the name suggests the watch has been designed to be worn on the left, already causing it to stand out from the crowd. What I really love though is its stone cold good looks. This is classic Panerai at its best, no superfluous details, just a big-ass watch that looks like it was born on the sea. Like any mechanical diving watch worth its salt it features a unidirectional rotating bezel with graduated scale for calculating the time of immersion, an uncluttered, easy to read dial with plenty of lume and a rock solid crown guard to make sure nothing interferes with the timing of your dive. All of this is presented in a 47mm polished titanium case, making it remarkably light on the wrist, despite its impressive size.

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The Radiomir 1940 Chronograph Platino

If you’d rather stay high and dry however and keep an eye on things from the safety of the shoreline, than you’re probably going to want to strap on the gorgeous Panerai PAM 518 Radiomir 1940 Chronograph Platino. Crafted from polished platinum, the 45mm cushion-shaped case definitely makes its presence felt on the wrist, drawing attention wherever you go. The ivory, sandwich-style dial offers full chronograph functionality – allowing you to time the races yourself if you so please – and is protected by a Plexiglas® crystal. Doing all the heavy lifting is the manual-wind Panerai OP XXV calibre, visible in all its polished glory through the exhibition case back. Not everyone likes this watch but for me the vintage appeal is simply irresistible.

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Whichever watch (or watches) you choose from the above you can rest assured that you’re definitely going to at least look the part this sailing season, even if you don’t know your port from your bow.

For more information on any of the watches featured please visit the official Panerai website.

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