There were many pioneering pieces presented by Panerai during SIHH – the annual watch show in Geneva. But one in particular caught our eye. It wasn’t the most expensive, the largest or the most technical, but instead had the air of a courageous young buck stepping out into a dangerously competitive world.
What was this watch? The all new Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Oro Rosso.
Not only is the new Oro Rosso smaller – at 42mm – compared to its counterparts (which are generally 44mm and up), but it also comes equipped with a rarely-seen red gold case. Red gold is an alloy which has a slightly higher percentage of copper than usual, giving the colour a particular intensity, and Panerai have even added a small amount of platinum to help to prevent this precious metal oxidising.
Which is just as well, as this is a functioning dive watch – with a 100m depth rating. It’s bold – no doubt about it – but a different direction for which we applaud Panerai. The difficulty this Swiss watchmaker now faces when launching a new timepiece is that it has to make a decision between solely appealing those who still see Panerai watches as tools, or moving toward the middle ground and appealing to a wider audience.
This is not the first 42mm Panerai, but it is the first 42mm Submersible reference. The matte black dial is very much in line the traditional Submersible layout, with large skeletonised hands bearing luminous tips, a combination of dots and batons for the indexes, and a date at 3 and a small second at 9.
The Luminor 1950 case is fitted with a unidirectional rotating bezel for calculating the time of immersion when diving. At night or underwater, the minute hand and the stud on the bezel at 12 o’clock glow with a bright blue colour – in contrast to the the green of all the other markers.
Within the Oro Rosso you will also find the calibre P.9010, an in-house, automatic movement with 3-day power reserve (utilising a twin-barrel). Again, much like the choice of case material, Panerai have bucked traditional thinking over movement finishing, opting to finish the movement with beautiful straight brushing of the bridges and polished edges.
For us, the Oro Rosso boasts all of the same rugged appeal of the 47mm Submersible, but with a reduced waistline. It will be fascinating to see how the slimmed down Submersible goes down. We, for one, are fans, and I know a number of others at the show saw this as a test for Panerai, dipping their toe in the watery world of trimmer timepieces. Smaller dive watches moving forward? Quite possibly.
The PAM00684 is limited to 250 pieces, will be available in July 2017 and will be priced at €25,900.