Commercially speaking, the biggest new releases from Panerai happened to come in the paradoxical form of the brand’s smallest watch ever, a simple automatic Luminor that measures 38mm across, and an update at its entry level Luminor Base Logo, now offered with a three-day, in-house movement and a down-to-earth price of $4,750.
But, if you know Panerai, you know the brand always makes a point of presenting a talking piece or two at SIHH. The watch we’re going hands on with today, which is among the most complicated and customizable Panerais ever, is certainly that. What we have here is a 50mm tourbillon with displays for the equation of time, a second time zone, and, for the first time ever in a Panerai, the phases of the moon. It’s name is a mouthful: The Panerai L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT. From here on, we’ll call this made-to-order watch – which comes with its equation-of time indicator set to its owner’s desired location –either the L’Astronomo or PAM 920.
This is in fact not the first time that Panerai has combined this tourbillon with an equation of time display. That was in the year 2010, with the similarly named L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Equation of Time Titanio, PAM 365, which also came in a 50mm case. That watch was produced on the occasion of the 400th anniversary Galileo’s celestial observations made as a result of the invention of the telescope. The real defining factors of this year’s L’Astronomo are the fact that the movement is now skeletonized and that an interesting moonphase display has been incorporated on the rear side of the movement. The earlier version came with a closed dial and a sky map on its back.
The hand-wound movement powering L’Astronomo delivers a number of functions, and it does so while maintaining an estimable four days of power reserve via three spring barrels. It’s the P.2005 GLS – P.2005, denoting its status as a tourbillon, the in-house base of which Panerai began developing 13 years ago, and “GLS” being short for Galileo Luna Scheletrato. As you can see, it’s a thoroughly modern interpretation of a skeletonized movement, which comes in handy visually because …read more