At Replica Watches&Wonders in Hong Kong, the Florentine firm trained the spotlight on its RADIOMIR 1940, which took its first steps in 2013, with the introduction of a new movement and first-time complications to what is Panerai’s most understated line.
If there is one word Angelo Bonati loathes above all, that word is “banalisation”. History with a capital H has made Panerai replica watches uk what they are – totally atypical diving “instruments” – so why change a winning formula? A single founding principle split between two product families. End of. Selective distribution, coherent product development, communication… the world of Panerai revolves entirely around Lumior and Radiomir. Any attempt to stray from this path would immediately come up against a brick wall. Angelo Bonati defends this approach: “We did try to introduce changes, particularly in our dials, but it didn’t work. So it’s easy to understand why anything that might interfere with the Panerai image is strictly prohibited.”
The Paneristi, the brand’s most devoted admirers, simply wouldn’t allow it. Like the tifosi who would sell their Alfa Romeo if it meant tickets to the match, the Florentine firm is probably the only watchmaker to have succeeded in surrounding itself with a community of fans whose passion is so great they would walk on water if they thought the Panerai of their dreams was waiting on the opposite bank. Theirs is a well-organised community with its own forums and a growing membership. In fact its ramifications have spread well beyond the Po to reach China, where Panerai has the dubious honour of being one of the most copied replica watch brands. “You could say it’s the price of success,” says Angelo Bonati, “even though counterfeiting is detrimental to the brand’s image. We can always console ourselves with the thought that the people who knowingly buy a fake Panerai will never count among our customers. They are not the ones we’re in Hong Kong to meet. Watches&Wonders gives us a unique opportunity to talk with real fans in the region who are clearly interested in what we do.”
A “wearable” case
With them in mind, Panerai came to Hong Kong with its fair share of new models, for the most part extensions to the Radiomir 1940 line, introduced two years ago and which doubtless inspired art historian Philippe Daverio for these words: “Only a rare few objects from the first half of the twentieth century have succeeded in withstanding fashion’s trends. Those which have have done far more than simply illustrate a period and its specificities: they have been instrumental in defining them. They are now archetypes, rooted in the collective conscience. This is what is happening with Panerai’s Florentine watches. They are modern-day classics.” Such a style is clearly reflected in the Radiomir 1940 case, which is evidence of how the brand’s products evolved between 1930 and 1950. It retains the cushion shape of the original Radiomir from 1936, but replaces the wire lugs with those to be found on the Luminor 1950 models (which adopted the trademark crown-guard). In addition to this classic style that has every chance of seducing Asian customers, the case has been slimmed to a 42mm size so as to better fit their wrist. And perhaps also to attract women Breitling replica watch-buyers who currently account for just 10% of Panerai’s customers.
This particular line-up includes a hand-wound Radiomir 1940 equipped with the new P.1000 calibre, which features a seconds reset function and a three-day power reserve delivered by twin barrels. There is also a self-winding version driven by the P.4000 calibre. Joining them are two models with complications that Panerai has previously introduced in other collections, namely a GMT with ten-day power reserve (Calibre P2003/10) in 45mm and 48mm versions, and a GMT Tourbillon, better known as Lo Scienziato (P.2005/S skeleton calibre). In keeping with its policy to release the occasional limited edition, Panerai is also presenting two special editions of 300 units each of its Luminor 1950 3 Days 47mm in titanium. A table clock with a classic Panerai dial beneath a mineral glass sphere adds the finishing touch. A reminder that it never hurts to break with convention from time to time…rahl.co.uk