Modern and classic; innovative and traditional; an avant-garde movement dressed in a case which for years has been unmistakable for its originality and functional quality. This is the new Luminor 1950 8 Days Chrono Monopulsante GMT, the chronograph from Officine Panerai’s Manufacture Collection. It is distinguished by its exclusive, sophisticated mechanical movement housed in the traditional Luminor 1950 case 44 mm in diameter. Created in steel or pink gold, in a millesimed edition for both versions, the watch stands out from the current panorama of sports chronographs by reason of its avant-garde technical characteristics, its reliability and its legendary water-resistance.
The movement, the P.2004, is the first chronograph calibre entirely designed and manufactured by Officine Panerai in its own manufacture in Neuchâtel and it incorporates a number of outstanding details and innovations. This manually wound movement has a power reserve of 8 days; linear indication of the amount of running time remaining; a second time zone with day/night indication; a device for zeroing the seconds hand so that the watch can be accurately synchronised; and a single-button chronograph with column wheel and friction clutch.
The movement consists of 321 component parts. It is visible through the transparent back, revealing some of the details of its unusual design (it is completely different from other chronograph movements), with its large brush-finished plates, chamfered and polished angles and mirror-polished screws. But its outstanding characteristics are concealed within its interior. It has three superimposed spring barrels which for eight days deliver a constant force to the watch, ensuring that it runs accurately and providing power for all the additional functions. The power reserve that remains is displayed by an indicator which moves horizontally across a little window positioned above 6 o’clock and it is suitably calibrated from 0 to 8.
Of the various functions provided, the chronograph stands out in particular in that – unlike most chronograph models now in production – it does not have two push-pieces; instead it has a single one which, pressed in sequence, enables the central hand to be started, stopped and zeroed. With a column wheel mechanism, the element which is a feature of the most sophisticated chronograph movements because it enables the chronograph hand to provide the maximum precision of operation, the calibre P.2004 has the chronograph function which operates through a friction clutch. This is another distinctive detail because the device helps to avoid any unsteadiness in the movement of the hand. The minute counter (at 3 o’clock) has been designed to avoid any possibility of confusion: it does not move slowly and continuously, but instantaneously, clicking from one position to the next on the 60th second of each minute.
The calibre P.2004 has a balance wheel which oscillates at 28,800 alternations per hour (equivalent to 4 Hz), fitted with a regulating screw. It has 29 jewels and is fitted with the device for zeroing the seconds. This means that, when the winding crown is pulled out, the small seconds hand returns instantly to zero and stops; it does not begin moving again until the crown has been returned to its normal position, thus enabling the watch to be synchronised to the exact second, for example with an hourly time signal.
Another very important and useful function is that of the second time zone, which in the Luminor 1950 8 Days Chrono Monopulsante GMT is traditionally displayed by a second central hand with an arrow point. Like the hour hand, this hand is adjusted by the crown and it rotates once every 12 hours. But how does the owner know whether the hour indicated is in the morning or the evening, that is for example, 5 a.m. or 5 p.m., given that there are 24 hours in the day? This additional information is provided by a little window located in the small seconds dial at 9 o’clock. When it is completely white the hour indicated is during the day and when it is completely black it is night; when the black begins to give way to a little of the white, it can be said that the Sun is rising in the selected time zone, and vice versa.
The dial uses the traditional sandwich construction; it consists of two plates superimposed above each other; the upper one perforated with hour markers and numbers, while the lower one is covered with a thin layer of luminous material. This provide the maximum visibility at night, and in addition the new chronograph from Officine Panerai maintains the characteristics which made the first military models so famous: there are large Arabic numerals at the cardinal points, bar markers and index hands, all luminous.
The brushed stainless steel case is 44 mm in diameter with a polished bezel and it sports the celebrated bridge with lever device acting on the stem of the winding crown to ensure a proper seal. Water-resistant to 100 metres, the watch has a single chronograph push-piece on the left; this position was chosen so as not to alter the outline of the case dominated by the bridge with its lever device, as well as to facilitate the operation of the chronograph with right hand. But the case of the Luminor 1950 8 Days Chrono Monopulsante GMT (in the steel version) has a further feature incorporated in the system for attaching the strap. The bars through the strap can be released from the strap attachments quickly and easily by operating a little button with the special tool provided in the presentation case of the watch, thus enabling the strap itself to be replaced very rapidly.
For 2008, there will be 500 millesimed units of the new chronograph from Officine Panerai in the version with a steel case and 250 units in the version with a pink gold case. The model with a steel case has a black alligator strap while the pink gold model has a brown one. The price is 12,900 euro for the version in steel and 23,500 euro for the one in gold.