You can debate the merits of the elegant Radiomir vs. the sportier Luminor all you want, but if you’re after a Panerai that lives up to the Swiss/Florentine brand’s military heritage, there’s no question that it’s all about the Submersible. Fortunately, the professional diver is the focus of Panerai’s 2019 releases, culminating in something very, very special indeed: The Marina Militare Carbotech. But more on that later.
You know what to expect from Panerai year after year. That is to say, updated, modernised versions of their iconic pieces. Granted we’re still waiting for more of the Mare Nostrum but for now our depth gauges are being satisfied by a raft of new Luminor Submersibles in seriously cool materials.
The flagship of the new pieces is the Carbotech PAM01616. As the name suggests, it’s the case material that sets it apart. We first saw this layered carbon back in 2015, and now it covers the entire watch in stealth waves of ultra-light, ultra-strong blackness. Paired with some intense, electric blue superluminova and you have arguably the most contemporary Panerai to date.
If that’s all a bit too much for you though, then you might prefer the BMG Tech PAM00799. It has the same Carbotech bezel as the 01616, but with a grey BMG Tech case. Essentially, the case has been built to withstand the elements, whether that’s an underwater impact or high levels of magnetism. It adds a nice contrast of grey and black too.
Both pieces are available in a Paneristi-impressing 47mm, though the Carbotech does also come in 42mm. It’s one of the few times though we’d say bigger is definitely better. The 47mm PAM01616 and PAM00799 are priced at 17,900 Euros and 14,900 Euros respectively – about £16,000 and £13,300.
Still, it’s good to see Panerai embracing smaller case sizes, especially with the Submersible 42mm. This is a new entry point to Panerai, with the pair of models priced well under 10,000 Euros. They still maintain the Submersible’s innate military look, keeping the same proportions and impact on the wrist. They’re even equipped with the impressive OP XXXIV automatic movement. They’re just more wearable if you’re not Sylvester Stallone. Unlike, it has to be said, their straight-up military releases this year.
If you weren’t aware that Panerai had a special relationship with the Italian special forces then we don’t know what to say. They’ve been bringing that little fact out for decades. With pieces like the Marina Militare Carbotech 00979 though, you can see why.
Similar to the first piece we covered, the watch is full Carbotech, yet sticks with contrasting white instead of the blue to meet strict military standards. The only part that isn’t made from Panerai’s newfangled carbon is the titanium case back, which bears an engraved image of a marine commando. It’s 19,900 Euros – around £17,750 – and is a serious piece of kit. Almost as serious as its limited-edition counterpart.
The chances are that if the Marina Militare is the watch of your dreams, you like the whole ubermensch nature of the special forces. That’s great! Go you. But do you think you can keep up with them? Opt for the PAM00961 and you’ll be able to find out.
Essentially a green highlighted version of the PAM00979, this version of the Marina Militare Carbotech is dedicated to the Comando Subacquei Incorso, the elite Italian diving corps. Not only does that touch of military green – and the matching rubber strap – add something a little different to the otherwise monochromatically textured piece but plumping for one of the 33-piece limited editions gets you in on a Somando Subacquei Incorso training session. If you like pain as much as you like Panerai, you’re in luck.
The last two pairs of pieces in Panerai’s 2019 line-up are also special editions, but centred around their two greatest current ambassadors: Mike Horn and Guillaume Nery. The first, inventively dubbed the Submersible Mike Horn (technically the PAM00984), is made from Ecotitanium, recycled titanium. It’s not going to save the environment solo, but it’s a nice thought, as is the recycled PET Plastic strap. It’s also just as hard and light as the original metal, making it perfect for lugging across both poles like the borderline insane Mr Horn.
As with the Marina Militare Carbotech however, there’s another version too, one that with just 19 pieces available, you’ll be lucky to see, let alone wear. The Panerai Submersible Mike Horn Edition PAM00985 is essentially the same as the previous watch, just with light blue indexes and a darker blue recycled strap rather than the PAM00984’s green.
The biggest change though is that it comes with an icy training experience with Mike Horn himself. If you’re a fan of the warm, maybe give this one a miss; it takes place among ice floes. It costs 39,900 Euros which in real money is just over £35,000 for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Then we have the Submersible Chrono Guillaume Nery Edition 47mm, PAM00982. A big, bold and unmissable flyback chronograph, the grey dial is textured like the sharks Nery tends to photograph. The bezel is a titanium with a blue ceramic disc and the in-house P.9100 movement is Panerai at the top of their watchmaking game. By now I probably don’t need to tell you what’s next.
The PAM00983 is, again, much of the same watch. The big difference is that the titanium is now DLC coated, a nice contrast with the turquoise flashes on the dial. It’s a good, uniform black alternative to textured version of the Marina Militare Carbotech. Oh, and at €38,900 (just under £35,000) it’s good to know that the 15-piece limited edition comes with an invite to visit Guillaume Nery in Moorea for a spot of diving and whale watching. There’s just one thing to say about all three of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences Panerai has put on: let’s hope you can swim.
The same goes for the members of the Luna Rossa sailing team, the beneficiaries of Panerai’s final new Submersible, the PAM01039 Luna Rossa. Front-runners in the Americas Cup, each member of the team, headed by Massimiliano Sirena will have the 47mm Carbotech beast on their wrists. It almost makes those years of practise worth it.
What makes this watch unique however is the dial, and not just for the GMT function and red highlights. The textured dial isn’t engraved in any way, nor is it some high-tech composite: it’s sail cloth from the Luna Rossa boat. Buying the watch doesn’t make you a part of the team; it gives you a part of the team.
Discover more at Panerai’s website.