News July 2007

Marine Chronometer

Precision is not only in the depths of the sea,
but also on the surface

The Watch Quote™ - July 12th, 2007



Precision not only in the depths of the sea, but also on the surface. Officine Panerai’s skill and experience is further confirmed by a remarkable new timepiece which represents a development of the instrument recognised as being one of the most absolutely important in the history of horology and navigation: the marine chronometer. The Panerai Marine Chronometer is a development of the instrument recognised as being one of the most absolutely important in the history of horology and navigation. From the second half of the 18th century until relatively recently, this type of timepiece has guided the course of innumerable ships, proving itself to be the most accurate portable mechanical timepiece ever constructed.

Nowadays marine chronometers have become very rare, but now Panerai, whose history is indissolubly connected with the sea, has created a limited, numbered series of Marine Chronometers, which is not simply a re-edition but an interpretation in the modern key of an ancient horological speciality. As its starting point, Officine Panerai’s Marine Chronometer has been created using a period movement, the mechanical parts of which have been substantially modified, thus becoming the Panerai calibre OP XX with C.O.S.C. chronometer certificate, hand-wound with a key as is traditional.

The appearance and materials have also been reinterpreted. For example the case, instead of being made of brass as in traditional chronometers, has been executed in AISI 316L stainless steel. The same material has been used for the bezel and the gimbals, the latter being a system fundamental to the achievement of accurate timekeeping since it enables the timepiece to remain in a perfectly horizontal position regardless of the pitching and rolling movements of the vessel. For its part, the bezel is fixed in place by a system which no longer consists of a long screw thread but of a quick-operating bayonet, which simplifies and facilitates the operation of setting the time. This is important because with this type of timepiece, setting the time is carried out by removing the bezel and adjusting the hands directly with a key. This key, also made of stainless steel, is the same one as is used for winding the chronometer.
Like those of the historic Panerai Luminor and Radiomir wristwatches, the dial of the chronometer is formed of two layers of black metal superimposed on each other, thus forming a kind of sandwich which contains luminous paste; it is a system which provides unequalled visibility in the dark. The power reserve of 52 hours is displayed by a pointer which moves horizontally along a graduated scale. The indication of how much power remains is not a purely aesthetic element; it is part of the DNA of marine chronometers, which must never be allowed to stop when at sea and therefore need to have a device indicating when it is time to wind it up. Completing the innovations is the device which, by using the same key, locks the small seconds hand and the whole movement, thus enabling the clock to be perfectly synchronised.



For enthusiasts, however, the most interesting part is its characteristic movement which distinguish it from the Panerai wristwatch calibres just mentioned Access to the movement of the Panerai Marine Chronometer is achieved by releasing the stop which keeps the gimbals locked when the timepiece is moved. In this way it is possible to turn the case over and admire the Panerai calibre OP XX movement with C.O.S.C. certification. This is possible as a result of a thick crystal which replaces the back. In it is an opening for inserting the key for winding the chronometer, with indication of the direction in which it should be turned. Everything has a brushed finish instead of the usual brass colour. A distinctive feature of the movement is the fusee, which transmits energy from the spring to the wheelwork through a miniscule chain (a system which today is still unmatched for transmitting energy at the most constant level possible) and also an extremely accurate balance, with a helical balance spring, timing screws in the balance wheel and temperature compensation. Held in position by a bridge with two points of support and fitted with an anti-shock device, the balance oscillates at 14,400 vibrations per hour (2 Hertz) and it works with the sophisticated detent escapement which causes the small seconds hand to move in clearly audible clicks, one every half-second.

A chronometer in fact as well as in name, the new Officine Panerai timepiece could not fail to have proof of its accuracy, and it is supplied with a chronometer certificate issued by the Swiss organisation C.O.S.C. after several days of testing
Completing the Marine Chronometer is its square case (195 mm along each side and 170 mm high), made of solid teak and fitted with brushed steel side handles with polished edges for carrying it. Inside it is a storage place for the winding and setting key, while a crystal window in the top enables the time to be checked without opening the case.

Created in only 30 examples for this year (retail price: 22,000 Euro), the Officine Panerai Marine Chronometer can certainly still prove itself very useful for navigation, but it is also an exclusive, original collector’s piece, which is above all a direct descendant of the most accurate portable mechanical instruments for measuring time which have ever been created in the history of horology.

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Movement :Hand-wound mechanical, exclusive Panerai OP XX calibre, 15 jewels, 4 Hertz.
Incabloc® anti-shock device.
Power reserve 56 hours.
Chronometer Certificate (C.O.S.C.).
Functions :Hours, minutes, small seconds.
Horizontal power reserve indicator.
BOX
Size :195x195x170 height, teak wood varnished box, with a glass window on the top (mineral glass).
Gimbals, hinges, handles, closing system :AISI 316L brushed steel with polished edges.
CLOCK
Case :Diameter 119 mm, AISI 316L brushed steel.
Bezel :AISI 316L brushed steel with polished edges.
Back :See-through mineral glass, 3.8mm thick.
Dial :Black dial with luminous Arabic numerals and hour markers.
Small seconds at 9 o’clock, horizontal power reserve indicator.
Glass :Mineral glass, 3mm thick.
Reference :PAM00245

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