officine panerai  - LUMINOR 1950 Equation of Time Tourbillon Titanio Astronomo
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
officine panerai  - LUMINOR 1950 Equation of Time Tourbillon Titanio Astronomo

LUMINOR 1950 Equation of Time Tourbillon Titanio Astronomo

officine panerai

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The most complicated Panerai

See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

Astronomo

Dedicated to fans of technical grand complications, the Luminor 1950 Equation of Time Tourbillon Titanio – 50 mm by Officine Panerai is a tribute to the genius of Galileo Galilei, a combination of some of the rarest, most exclusive and fascinating specialities in watch-making. Produced in just 30 examples, the Luminor 1950 Equation of Time Tourbillon Titanio – 50 mm is the most technically sophisticated wristwatch ever produced by Officine Panerai: a tourbillon with equation of time, indication of sunrise and sunset times for the city chosen by the purchaser and depiction of the night sky of the same city on the back plate. The watch functions are immediate and clear on the dial: a date window at 3 o’clock, alongside a tiny dial that shows the month with a hand; sunset time; equation of time; sunrise time and finally small seconds at 9 o’clock, where the rotation of the tourbillon with a tiny ecru disc is visible through a small dial. Times for sunrise and sunset are shown by two cursors that run along numbered circular sectors and vary depending not only on the seasons but also on the latitude chosen by the purchaser. The dial has the classic Panerai sandwich structure, guaranteeing exceptional night-time visibility thanks to the luminescent substance inserted between the two layers. Equation of time is the difference between the time shown by the watch, which is that universally adopted for ease and real or solar time, which varies every day due to the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit and the inclination of its axis. 4 days a year, these two times coincide perfectly but on all the other days they actually differ by up to 15 minutes, either faster or slower. The linear cursor at 6 o’clock immediately shows this time difference and this calculation is a speciality of top-end watch- making and a feature that very few watches have. Other indications can be seen through the sapphire glass on the lower part of the movement P.2005/G, based on the Officine Panerai P.2005 in-house calibre, modified to include new functions. With 375 components, the P.2005/G calibre features a typical Panerai tourbillon regulator, which can be admired from the back, turning on an axis perpendicular to the axis of the balance and making two rotations a minute, instead of one. With three spring barrels, it has a manual-wound movement and ensures 4 days’ autonomy, with the remaining power reserve shown by a hand, this too visible on the back. The last hugely fascinating element that completes the personality and refinement of this model, is the map of the sky on the lower part of the mechanism. The disc that shows the map rotates in one direction or the other, depending on the hemisphere chosen, thus constantly updating the night sky above the city chosen by the purchaser. The name of the city is also engraved on the back, together with the millesimation. The watch’s Luminor 1950 case is 50 mm in diameter, in titanium so that it weighs less, but clients can also choose a pink gold case. Waterproof to 10 bar (about 100 metres), the case has the typical crown-protecting bridge, brushed titanium like the case body, while the anti-reflective sapphire crystal is held in place by a bezel with contrasting polished finish. 

Technical specifications

Case :
  • titanium
  • Transparent sapphire
  • Sealing: 100 m
  • Shape: cushion
  • 50 mm diameter
Movement :
  • Mechanical with manual winding
  • Panerai P.2005 / G, executed entirely by Panerai
  • 161/4 lines
  • 11.04 mm
  • 46 jewels
Functions :
  • Equation of time
  • Sunrise at 8:00 and sunset at 4:00 on the periphery
  • Tourbillon escapment
  • Indicator Power reserve 4 days, three barrels
  • Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, month
Dial :
  • Black
  • Arabic numerals and index uminescents
  • Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflection coating
Strap :
  • alligator
  • Adjustable clasp
  • Supplied with a second interchangeable strap, a tool for replacement and a steel screwdriver.

Who's who

It’s probably not the timepieces themselves that tie Chronopassion to Panerai. The relationship is closer and stronger than that. Laurent Picciotto goes so far as to describe it as “magical”. Perhaps the truth is more to do with the eternally ‘outsider’ character of the Italian brand – and of Chronopassion's founder. There is also the detail of their shared origins as passionate retailers. Indeed, it’s a little-known fact that both the Panerai brand and its founder, Giovanni, were first and foremost in the business of watch and watchmaking tool sales and repairs. As early as 1850, Giovanni Panerai had made his name as a watchmaker in his native city of Florence. His son, Leon Fracesco, transformed his father's occupation into a flourishing business: in 1907, 50,000 copies of his watch and timepiece catalogue were published! What was then known as Orologeria Svizzera sold Rolex, Longines, Vacheron & Constantin, Movado, Patek Philippe and other brands. A new century opened a new chapter: the brand supplied the Defence Ministry with its first precision optical instruments. In 1910, the first experiments on luminous materials began and a system for making instrument dials glow in the dark was perfected. Luminescence was produced using a mixture of zinc sulphide and radium bromide, later known as Radiomir. The road ahead became clear: Panerai already sold movements, and simply had to combine this skill with its recently acquired expertise in dials to create its first watch – a feat that was achieved in 1935. One amusing aspect of this tale is that the first Panerais were driven by a Rolex movement. The Italian army was of course the first client. This was in 1937 – and the virtual monopoly of the military for Panerai watches continued until 1993 ! “It was these very strict specifications – purely military, functional and uncompromising – that drew me to Panerai,” relates Laurent Picciotto. The founder of Chronopassion already had a selection of timepieces with a strong identity to his name and had been seeking new niche brands for a number of years. “Our first collaboration dates back to 1995. At that time Panerai was a totally independent micro-brand. It was a curiosity – and in my opinion, a convincing alternative to sports brands that were seeking to be positioned on the same military niche without having any credibility in the field.” Did love at first sight lead to overnight success? “Far from it!” laughs Laurent Picciotto. “I sold barely a dozen pieces a year, mainly Mare Nostrums (ed: the original chronograph from 1943, which was still at the prototype stage for historic reasons). History has led to these timepieces now being among the most prized collectors’ items,” he says with a wry smile. This apparent lack of demand did not dent Chronopassion's belief in Panerai, however. The Vendôme Luxury group, later known as Richemont, apparently had a similar instinct, too: it bought out the brand in 1997. The group lost no time in using its resources to raise the profile of Panerai. A series of 1000 timepieces were offered on the Italian market – and were snapped up immediately. A distribution network was established. “There were twelve of us retailers at the first meeting. Eleven of them had never sold a Panerai timepiece before. I was the only one who had,” recalls Laurent Picciotto. At this point the story could have taken a commercial turn, with success guaranteed. However Panerai once again showed it was different: demand was driven by the brand's fans, known as paneristis. According to Laurent Picciotto, they are characterised by “acute collectionitis” – and his sales increased 25-fold. “It was an internal explosion. Completely unprecedented,” he now admits. Panerai made the most of this collectors’ syndrome by producing only limited, numbered series. “This meant that there was often a queue in front of our building for very special series, in particular our series featuring the Chronopassion engraving,” he continues. “In addition, even when we put a sign in the window saying “Not yet released” to try and keep our fans at bay, some of them would come into the shop to try and get more information.” Magical is indeed the word. Journalist : Olivier Müller

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