News september 2007

Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT

The Watch Quote™ - September 28th, 2007



Ever since the company was founded, research and development have been two of the strong points of Officine Panerai. The company has always been innovative, investing significant human and economic resources to this end. Making its debut in the history of watchmaking in 1938 with the production of the first professional underwater models for the Royal Italian Navy and now with many decades of experience in the field, Officine Panerai has recently made a further leap in quality with the creation of several of its own manufacture calibres, completely designed, developed and created within its own workshops. “Calibre” is simply the technical name for a watch movement, that is, the “engine” which gives a watch life and enables it to indicate the time. Of the four “engines” developed in recent years, the Panerai P. 2005 is certainly the most sophisticated from the constructional point of view. Using this calibre, the Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT has been created, an exceptional synthesis of tradition, sports qualities, precision and technology of the highest level.

The distinctive feature of the new Luminor is its “tourbillon”. This is a device invented by the great watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet in the late 18th century, the purpose of which was to eliminate errors in rate (that is, faster or slower deviations in the indication of time) caused by changes in the effect of gravity on the balance, imperfections of workmanship, thickening of lubricating oil and the consequent varying friction in the different positions of the watch. To make it, Breguet constructed a cage containing the balance, escapement and relative pivots which itself rotates continuously. In this way any variation in rate which may occur when the balance is located in a particular position will be cancelled out when the balance is in the opposite position. For over two centuries the tourbillon has been synonymous with extreme constructional difficulty, demanding the greatest precision in manufacture, and for only a few years has it been used in wristwatches which are inevitably of the highest quality. The tourbillon escapement has fascinated generations of enthusiasts and it has always been recognised as a substantial technical challenge. Officine Panerai has taken up this challenge and it has even managed to make innovations in this field, putting its imprint on a horological speciality which has been substantially unchanged since it was first invented.

In the Luminor 1950 GMT the cage rotates on an axis parallel to the base of the movement at right angles to the axis of oscillation of the balance; in addition, the cage makes two rotations per minute. These two innovations make the Panerai design better at compensating for errors arising from changes in position, which are much more numerous with a wristwatch than a pocket watch. Operating through a series of gear trains comparable to those of an automobile’s differential, the device is the distinctive feature of the P.2005 calibre, which differs from all the other tourbillons currently in production in several other details. Consisting of 239 components, it is manually wound and with its three spring barrels it stores enough power for the watch to operate for a good 6 days without further winding. It is also equipped with the GMT function, that is, a second time zone. The Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT has a sapphire crystal back which exposes the whole movement to view. This allows the fascinating rotation of the tourbillon to be admired, as well as enabling the amount of power reserve available to be read from the indication of a hand which moves over a circular arc.

With its unmistakable case and distinctive lever device protecting the winding crown which for more than 60 years has identified Panerai Luminor models, the new watch has been executed in polished and brushed stainless steel, with a diameter of 47 mm. Water-resistant to 100 metres, as is to be expected from the nautical vocation of the House, the dial of the watch is protected by a sapphire crystal two millimetres thick with anti-reflective treatment. The dial itself is of sandwich construction, one of Panerai’s other innovations, with large markers and Arabic numerals that are particularly visible in the dark as a result of the large quantity of luminous material contained between the two layers of the dial. The large hour and minute hands contrast with the arrow-pointed thinner one of the GMT function, which is also set by means of the winding crown. Unlike some of the most sophisticated models with a tourbillon escapement, the Luminor 1950 does not ostentatiously show off this technical speciality; the device is not revealed through an opening cut in the dial, as is usually the case, and its existence is only indicated by a single original detail. In the small auxiliary dial on the left there is a little circular blue indicator as well as the continuous seconds hand. This indicator is connected to the tourbillon and therefore moves twice as fast as the seconds hand, making one rotation every 30 seconds. The other small dial has a hand which makes one rotation every 24 hours, pointing at the inscriptions “pm” and “am” to indicate whether the hour shown by the GMT hand is during the day or the night.

The watch is completed by an alligator strap with the characteristic large brushed steel buckle personalised Panerai, and it is supplied with a second spare strap in leather, and the tool and screwdriver for replacing it. Identified by the reference PAM00276, the Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT is certainly one of the most sophisticated, exclusive sports models to appear in the watchmaking panorama of recent years. It is being produced in a numbered limited edition at a price of 79,000 euros.

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Panerai Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT

Ref.: PAM00276


Movement:Hand-wound mechanical, Panerai P.2005 calibre, executed entirely by Panerai, 16 ¼ lignes, 9.1 mm thick, 31 jewels, Glucydur® balance, 28,800 alternations/hour. KIF Parechoc® anti-shock device. Power reserve 6 days, three barrels.
Functions:Hours, minutes, small seconds, second time zone, power reserve indicator on the back, 24h indicator, Tourbillon.
Case:Diameter 47 mm, AISI 316L brushed steel.
Bezel:Polished steel.
Back:See-through sapphire crystal.
Device protecting the crown: (protected as a Trade Mark) Brushed steel.
Dial:Black with luminous Arabic numerals and hour markers. 24 h indicator at 3 o’clock, small seconds and Tourbillon indicator at 9 o’clock.
Crystal:Sapphire, made from corundum, 2 mm thick. Anti-reflective coating.
Water-resistance:100 metres.
Strap:PANERAI personalised alligator strap and large-size brushed steel buckle.
Supplied with a second interchangeable strap, a tool to change the strap and a steel screwdriver.
Reference:PAM00276

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