The start of a vintage yacht race is a moment of remarkable beauty. The boats of every class, with timbers sometimes a hundred years old or more, gather together at the starting line between the buoys, driven only by the wind which fills the sails and by the skill of the captains and crews who with a few simple instruments must carry out complicated tactics to master the sea, the wind and time. Timing in particular is crucial: in the minutes preceding the start, marked by the ritual of the strict countdown signalled by the judges’ flags, the Lords of the sea must line up behind the buoys without crossing the imaginary line before the race has started. It is not a simple operation for yachts which are often tens of metres long with an immense sail area exposed to the unpredictable nature of the elements.
These are passionate moments at the start of which Officine Panerai is well aware, given that since 2005 it has sponsored the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the main international circuit of races for vintage and classic yachts. From the most beautiful locations of the Mediterranean Sea to the waters of the Solent, from the Caribbean Sea to the coast of New England on the East Coast of the United States of America, Officine Panerai gathers together each season hundreds of vintage yachts and thousands of sailors to celebrate the beauty, elegance and uniqueness of yachts which have been part of the history of sailing, since the end of the 19th century to which many of them date back.
From the union of Officine Panerai and the world of classic sailing the Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio was born. This is a chronograph with an automatic movement and a three-day power reserve, fitted with the Regatta countdown function, specifically created for yacht racing starts.
The remarkable simplicity of using the Regatta countdown function is evidence of the excellence of the technical innovation achieved by the new P.9100/R automatic chronograph calibre, the movement of the new Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio. An orange push-button at four o’clock moves the central orange chronograph minute hand back one minute at a time, until it is at the correct position in relation to the length of the countdown. On starting the chronograph, by pushing the chronograph stop/start button at ten o’clock, the relative hands begin to move, indicating first the minutes and seconds which remain until the start, and then, when the countdown has finished, the time elapsed since the start of the race. The push-button at eight o’clock ends the time measurement, returning all the chronograph hands to zero. Alternatively, if it is operated while the hands are still moving, it activates the return-to-zero (flyback) function of these hands, thus enabling a new time interval to be measured immediately without having to operate the stop and reset buttons.
The black dial of the Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio has the sandwich structure and the classic Panerai design distinguished by the large linear hour markers and figures, enriched by the elements enabling the indications of the chronograph functions to be read. The chronograph hands are central and distinguished from each other by different, easily recognised colours, while the orange hand of the hours rotates within the small dial at three o’clock, mirroring the small seconds dial at nine o’clock. The flange carries not only the scale of up to 15 minutes for the countdown to the start, with the five final minutes picked out in orange, but also the tachymeter scale expressed in knots which enable the speed of the yacht to be measured over a defined distance.
The Luminor 1950 case has the characteristic Panerai lever device for protecting the winding crown and it is 47 mm in diameter. It is made of brushed titanium, a material which is light, strong and non-allergenic, contrasting with the polished bezel. On the back, a wide sapphire crystal window reveals the P.9100/R movement, with its rotor which winds the springs of the two barrels while oscillating in both directions, providing a power reserve of three days. The open back also permits the admiration of other details of the sophisticated chronograph movement, with its column wheel and variable inertia balance which oscillates at 28,800 alternations/hour.
Water-resistant to 10 bar (about 100 metres), as is to be expected of a professional sailing instrument, the Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio (PAM00526) is part of the Contemporary Collection. It is supplied with a rubber strap with strong sports connotations, using a patented Officine Panerai system enabling it to be easily replaced by means of the little tool provided with the watch.
Officine Panerai has for many years promoted the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the most important international circuit of regattas for classic and vintage yachts. It has dedicated a series of watches to it which today have become cult items among collectors. The fascinating world of classic yachting shares with haute horlogerie the extraordinary ability to arouse great emotion and passion through a unique blend of history, technology, craftsmanship and beauty. Values which make every vintage yacht unique, as well as every Panerai watch. To celebrate its special link with the world of classic yachts, Officine Panerai has created the P.9100/R calibre, the first Panerai watch with a function specifically associated with the world of sailing: the Regatta countdown function for the start of the race.
The P.9100/R calibre is a development of the P.9100 automatic calibre with chronograph function. With its flyback chronograph with vertical clutch and column wheel, the P.9100/R is identical in architecture and diameter (133⁄4 lignes) to the P.9100 but it is a little thicker (9.55mm) and it has 26 more parts (328 altogether) as a result of the greater constructional complexity resulting from the addition of the Regatta countdown function.
The indication of the countdown to the start is displayed by the two central hands, and it is controlled by the push-button at four o’clock. The minute hand moves backwards by one minute each time the push-button is pressed, until it reaches the position required for the duration of the countdown. At this point it is only necessary to press on the push-button at ten o’clock to start the chronograph function. The hands begin to move, indicating the minutes and seconds which remain before the start, and when the countdown is completed, they continue to measure the time, thus displaying the time elapsed since the start of the race until the chronograph is stopped. The device which enables the minute hand to be moved backwards on operating the countdown function is controlled, like the whole chronograph, by the column wheel. This is taller than the one in the P.9100 calibre so that it can engage the correcting lever which is mounted higher up, because it is located on an additional plate.
|Calibre||:||Panerai P.9100/Rexecuted entirely by Panerai.|
|Frequency||:||28 800 alternances/ heure.|
|Anti-shock device||:||KIF Parechoc®.|
|Power reserve||:||3 days, |
|Functions||:||Hours, minutes, small seconds, |
knots scale for calculation of boat speed,
|Case||:||47 mm, brushed titanium.|
|Buttons||:||Engraved brushed titanium buttons for the chronograph functions |
at 10 o’clock and 8 o’clock.
|Button||:||Brushed button and orange surface for the regatta function |
at 4 o’clock.
|Back||:||See-through sapphire crystal.|
|Device protecting |
|:||Brushed titanium (protected as trademark).|
|Dial||:||Black with luminous Arabic numerals and hour markers. |
Chronograph hour counter at 3 o’ clock,
seconds at 9 o’clock,
central chronograph seconds and minutes hands.
|Crystal||:||Sapphire, made of corundum, |
1.6 mm thick.
|Water-resistance||:||10 bar (~ 100 metres).|
|Strap:||:||PANERAI personalised rubber strap and trapezoidal brushed titanium buckle. |
Supplied with a second interchangeable strap, a tool for changing the strap and a steel screwdriver.