When Panerai burst onto the watch scene in the 90s, the brand had drawn upon a history in the Italian military – large dials, legibility, and for some models, a unique crown locking system that would form a key design signature for the brand. The fact that watch lovers knew that this was a watch descended from the military, plus some of the stories that accompanied the original watches was enough to lure many enthusiasts to Panerai. However, looks are not enough, and since the mid-late 00’s, Panerai has embarked on a journey of exclusive movements and unique complications. For 2021, Panerai continues this odyssey, and unveils the Luminor Perpetual Calendar in two interesting materials: Goldtech and Platinumtech.
Peer into the list of exclusive movements that Panerai house within their watches, and you will find a few interesting complications, including the likes of: an Equation of Time indicated by a horizontal slider, a minute repeater with carillon and decimal chimes, and a monopusher chronograph with GMT and 8 days power reserve. It was only fitting, that Panerai’s version of the Perpetual Calendar (Perpetuo Calendario in Italian for extra flourish), would be smart in its functionality, but also clean in how it delivers this information.
The Panerai Luminor Perpetual Calendar has a dial that appears incredibly simplistic. Boasting a 44mm size case, its large numerals at 12 and 6 and markers are done in its signature “sandwich” dial design that give the dial its depth. This is further accentuated by the sunburst finishing emanating from the centre of the dial. At 3 o’clock, we see a day and date indication, and at 9 o’clock, we see the subsidiary seconds dial, with an incorporated 24 hour hand that indicates AM or PM – useful for the arrow-shaped GMT/Home Time hand that can be tucked underneath the local hour hand. There are two guises of the Luminor Perpetual Calendar, one with a sunburst blue dial and Panerai’s proprietary Goldtech case (a form of red gold with some platinum in its alloy that does not tarnish with time). The other version is a sunburst green dial, gold hands and a Platinumtech case – Panerai has said in the past that it is harder than normal platinum, able to withstand more wear and tear than normal 950 platinum cases. Whilst seemingly simplistic on the outside, the words “Calendario Perpetuo” at 6 o’clock giveaway more of what its movement can do.
The P.4100 calibre housed within case displays many of the perpetual calendar indications on the movement side that are traditionally seen on the dial side. Visible through a sapphire crystal caseback, this has the advantage of cleaning up the dial, keeping it legible for everyday timekeeping, whilst the rear of the watch houses perpetual calendar indications that are used occasionally. Indications such as the Leap Year and Month are shown in an integrated disc close to the crown, whilst the four-digit Year indication and Power Reserve Indicator are shown closest to the micro-rotor. Two barrels give the watch a 3 day power reserve – with all of these displays and functionality, the movement remains 7mm thin thanks to this micro-rotor architecture. In addition, the watch, GMT function and its calendar are all adjustable through the crown, needing no tools for adjustment. Furthermore, it is secured against damage, enabling changes at any time, even at month-end periods and for times approaching midnight – bringing a sense of user-friendliness that other perpetual calendars don’t offer. The movement also features a seconds-reset system that makes the seconds hand fly back to zero when the crown is fully pulled out for precise time-setting to a reference clock.
The Goldtech model is limited worldwide to 270 pieces worldwide, and the Platinumtech model is limited to 100 pieces, exclusively at Panerai boutiques.
Panerai’s inaugural Perpetual Calendar is undoubtedly a smart, clean model that continues the modern brand’s penchant for pursuing haute horlogerie, and brings a clever take to a complication that sometimes may require a loupe to read. The Panerai Luminor Perpetual Calendar represents smart design in watchmaking, a trait that we hope continues at the Laboratorio de Idee.