By John Galt

Being part of WristReview I receive many press releases, some are opened with trepidation on my part and some with pure excitement as to the brand’s new release. Panerai press releases are always opened with excitement, like a child opening presents at Christmas. I am a big fan of theirs and this watch is no exception with it’s bold looks and dark matt finish this is a true stunner.

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Officine Panerai have released a new version of the Luminor 1950 case, still keeping the essential lines of the case with the unmistakeable Panerai crown guard and dial with the exception that this is made of ceramic. The 44mm case is a synthetic ceramic based on zirconium oxide which is 5 times harder than steel but is also lighter than steel as well as being exceptionally resistant to scratching. The process to create the case is long and very delicate but is definitely worth it. To transform the zirconium powder into black ceramic each part of the case is moulded separately and undergoes many stages of firing, first at around 100C then at much higher temperatures in the region of 1500C for two to three days which they end with bead blasting the final assembled piece to give it the smooth matt black finish which I think looks stunning.

Not to ruin the ascetic of their pieces and keeping the crown guards that Panerai is famous for they have fitted the chrono pusher on the left hand side of the case, the pusher at 10 O’Clock starts and stop the chrono function with anther pusher at 8 o’clock to operate the flyback function which instantly zeroes the chrono hands and restarts them without the need stop them first. The dial is minimal as it’s fitted with a flyback there is no chronograph  subdials to clutter it up, just a date window at 3 O’Clock and a small sub seconds dial at 9 O’Clock. The hands are beautifully finished in rhodium with a centrally mounted flyback hand in blue which really stands out against dark matt black dial and case.

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Turning the piece over you are greeted by an exhibition case to show off the in-house P.9100 chronograph movement, the first chronograph automatic winding calibre completely developed and made in house by Panerai and looks stunning in matt black as well in keeping with the dark and moody theme of this piece. As with other Panerai in-house movements this is a top of the range chronograph with features such as column wheel, vertical clutch and twin barrels to provide a power reserve of 3 days.

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Finishing off the piece is a beautiful natural untreated leather strap in light brown with white stitching and buckle in titanium with black coating in line with case material. Panerai also send this piece with a second black rubber strap which is easy to change using the screwdriver that is also supplied. But I much prefer the untreated leather which in my option contrasts excellently against the case.

Conclusion

I really like this piece a lot with it’s moody looks from the matt black case, the untreated leather strap and blue flyback hand that seems to jump from the dial. Panerai have got this piece spot on in my option and I love it, I just wish I could be opening it at Christmas to have on wrist. For more info, please visit panerai.com

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John Galt – Contributing Editor

John Galt caught the horology bug 4 years ago on his first visit to a London watch show and has snowballed since; John has become an avid writer and blogger of timepieces of all kinds, from everyday timepieces to modern Luxury Haute Horology, his favorite brands being HYT and Greubel Forsey that push the bounders of modern watch-making. John keeps a keen interest in the UK watch scene with their many emerging brands and timepiece’s. John Galt currently contributes watch related articles for online publications in the UK and USA. You can follow John on Twitter @johng73 Read his articles here.