This year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) saw the release of Officine Panerai‘s Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Ceramica, a model truly to be reckoned with. The brand’s newest creation combines Panerai’s trademark tourbillon mechanism with a dual time display, a mix of unrivaled sophistication and innovation.
The tourbillon is a part of a watch escapement that counteracts the effects of gravity, invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1795. Watches with this feature mount the escapement in a “carriage” or rotating frame that turns 360 degrees at regular intervals, reducing gravitational error. At the time that Breguet finalized his invention, most watches were pocket watches and thus were almost always in one position. The effect of gravity on these timepieces was especially conspicuous, so to offset adverse changes Breguet provided the perfect solution.
The Luminor 1950 has a personalized Panerai leather strap and an adjustable buckle made of steel. The 48 mm diameter case is made of synthetic ceramic with a zirconium powder base, showcasing the adept skill of Panerai’s manufacturing. The processes undergone to achieve the final model’s matte black color are particularly complex and thoroughly ensure resistance to corrosive agents, high temperatures and scratches.
The Luminor 1950 functions by the Panerai P.2005 movement, which produces 28,000 vph and exhibits a six day power reserve, thanks to a three series-connected spring barrels. The 12-sided titanium back displays a centered window of sapphire crystal so that one can glimpse at the P.2005 mechanism in action. This is the first time a Panerai model has had the P.2005 B version built in, which is essentially a blackened version of the traditional movement. Panerai’s patented tourbillon mechanism has the balance rotate on its axis every 30 seconds.
The black dial lends more to the Luminor 1950’s theme of graphic simplicity, with Panerai’s original sandwich structure to help provide for maximum visibility even under very dim lighting conditions. At 3 o’clock, the small dial indicates the time over 24 hours as well as am or pm. The dial at 9 o’clock connects to the tourbillon and moves twice as fast as the second hand, thus deemed the small seconds dial. It consists of multiple dot markers and completes one revolution in half a minute. This dual time concept is a Panerai method implemented in many models. Combined with the tourbillon, the Luminor 1950 reinforces at once both tradition and modernism.