Panerai has been involved in the sport of yacht racing since 2005, when it became sponsor of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge. So it was probably inevitable that the brand, best known for its distinctive divers’ watches, would eventually release a watch tailored toward yachtsmen. That timepiece, which contains a brand-new Panerai movement and carries the reference number PAM00526, makes its debut this year.
The watch’s full name, as with most Panerais, is a mouthful – Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio. It is the first to contain the automatic Caliber, which is based on the existing Caliber, but adds a new regatta countdown function, specifically intended for timing yacht racing starts, to the base movement’s flyback chronograph and three-day power reserve.
Panerai’s watchmakers strove for simplicity and ease of use in their development of the countdown function. Perfect timing is crucial in a regatta; the sailing vessels must line up behind the buoys without edging past an imaginary start line prior to the start of the race. To use this watch to start the countdown to race time, the owner pushes an orange push-button at 4 o’clock to move the central orange chronograph minute hand back, one minute at a time, until it is at the correct position in relation to the length of the countdown. Next, one presses the chronograph stop/start button at 10 o’clock, which starts the chronograph hands moving, indicating first the minutes and seconds remaining until the start, and then, when the countdown has finished, the time elapsed since the start of the race. At the end of the interval being measured, the push-button at eight o’clock returns all the chronograph hands to zero; if it is operated while the hands are still moving, it activates the return-to-zero (flyback) function of these hands, enabling the wearer to start timing a new interval immediately, without using the stop and reset buttons.