2006 started with a new adventure for Mike Horn. After the Arktos expedition, his solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle which took two years to complete, he turned his attention to the North Pole Winter Expedition, the objective of which was to travel across the thousand or more kilometres of ice which separate the northernmost part of Russia from the North Pole.
This is an expedition which has never been attempted before and it took place in winter, without any sunlight but with the fragility of the polar ice cap strengthened by the very low temperature (around -40° C). Mike Horn made the North Pole Winter Expedition in company with Borge Ousland, a Norwegian explorer who, like the South African Horn, has long experience of the cold arctic regions.
The departure date was set for mid-January and the two polar pioneers expected that it would have taken them 67 days to reach the North Pole. It was a challenge in which the equipment used played a major strategic role: subjected to severe testing to check its endurance and reliability, every piece of the expedition’s equipment is the result of exhaustive technological research.
Officne Panerai, an exclusive partner of the North Pole Winter Expedition, has developed a technically advanced watch, the Panerai Luminor GMT North Pole, which had been tested in the course of this hazardous but fascinating expedition. The watch has a steel case with the characteristic bridge protecting the winding crown (an Officine Panerai patent) and an additional internal case made of soft iron, a material which protects the mechanism from the influence of the earth’s magnetic field, the intensity of which increases considerably in the vicinity of the North Pole. The calibre OP VIII, with automatic winding, has been lubricated with special oils to guarantee the best performance even close to the North Pole. The screw back has been personalised with a diagram of the expedition and the watch is water-resistant to a depth of 300 metres.
The special feature of the Panerai Luminor GMT North Pole is its rotating bezel with the applied letters of the four cardinal points. This is a practical solution which enables the wearer’s position to be established by observation of the stars. It is a simple instrument which can be used in the conditions of total darkness in which Mike Horn and Borge Ousland found themselves and it was a fundamental system of orientation in the context of an environment which prevented the operation of equipment such as the compass and GPS because of the extremely severe cold. Blue in colour to make reading the information easier, the dial indicates both the time and the date while the second time zone is indicated by a further hand.
|Case||:||In three parts, diameter 44 mm, in steel with supplementary anti-magnetic case of soft iron. Device protecting the winding crown (Trade Mark), sapphire crystal 3 mm thick with anti-reflective treatment, magnifying lens for the date applied internally to the crystal at 3 o’clock|
|Bezel||:||In steel, with the 4 letters of the cardinal points applied|
|Caseback||:||Screw back in steel with a diagram showing the polar ice cap and the course of the North Pole Winter Expedition, accompanied by the signatures of Mike Horn and Borge Ousland|
|Water-resistance||:||To 300 metres|
|Movement||:||Automatic mechanical, Panerai calibre OP VIII, 13¼ lignes, 21 jewels. Glucydur® balance with three arms, operating frequency 28,800 vibrations/hour. Incabloc® anti-shock device. Power reserve of 42 hours. Chronometer Certificate (COSC)|
|Functions||:||Hours, minutes and seconds, date, second time zone|
|Dial||:||Blue with luminous numerals and markers, small seconds at 9 o’clock, date window at 3 o’clock, second time zone indication on the outer edge|