officine panerai  - Panerai Regatta
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
officine panerai  - Panerai Regatta

Panerai Regatta

officine panerai
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16'700 €

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See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

Panerai Classic

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. 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 (13¾ 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 when the countdown function is operated 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, being located on an additional plate.
 

Technical specifications

Movement Automatic mechanical, Panerai P.9100/R calibre, executed entirely by Panerai, 13¾ lignes, 9.55 mm thick, 37 jewels, Glucydur® balance, 28,800 alternations/hour. Incabloc® anti-shock device. Power reserve 3 days, two barrels. 328 components.
Functions Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds, Chronograph Flyback, Regatta Contdown, Seconds Reset
Case Diameter 47 mm, Brushed Titanium
Bezel Polished Titanium
Back See - through sapphire crystal
Device protecting the crown (Protected as a trademark) Brushed Titanium
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.
Water Resistance 10 bar (~100 metres)
Strap Caoutchouc, Black, -, 26/22 MM Standard

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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