Panerai Sets Sail At SIAR With The New Luna Rossa Collection

Panerai Sets Sail At SIAR With The New Luna Rossa Collection

Panerai’s collaboration with elite America’s Cup sailing team, Luna Rossa, is exactly as cool as it sounds.

By Thomas Hendricks

Panerai debuted their partnership with the Luna Rossa sailing team at SIHH in January (or should we say Watches & Wonders - Geneva?) and simultaneously launched the Panerai Luna Rossa Challenger Submersible Carbotech. 

Now at 2019’s Salón Internacional Alta Relojería (SIAR) in Mexico City, Panerai broadens the Luna Rossa line of watches with three new sailing-inspired and sailing-ready timepieces. What started with the Submersible has expanded to include the Luminor Luna Rossa Regatta, the Luminor Luna Rossa Chrono Flyback, and the Luminor Luna Rossa GMT.

The Challenger Emerges

Panerai is the official sponsor of the Luna Rossa sailing team and the crew members will be donning the special edition timepieces when they compete in the 36th installment of the America’s Cup in New Zealand in 2021.

As the Challenger of Record, the Luna Rossa team is seeking to dethrone the defending champions, Emirates Team New Zealand, who have the home-field advantage in 2021. Per yacht racing protocol, it is also Luna Rossa’s responsibility to organizing all the preliminary regattas including the America's Cup World Series (2019–2020), the Christmas Race (December 2020), and ultimately the America’s Cup in Auckland.

A Maritime Connection

Panerai’s history is deeply intertwined with the Royal Italian Navy with signature models like the Radomir and Luminor originating from this relationship. With the Luna Rossa collaboration, Panerai takes the same seafaring expertise from the world of combat and applies it to the world of sport.

The design crossover between the watches and the elite sailing team extends beyond a press release and a stamp on the dial. The materials used here are not only inspired by but directly pulled from the Luna Rossa racing yachts. The Carbotech cases, for example, are a nod to the tough-but-light carbon fiber hull of Luna Rossa’s AC75 vessel. To create the patented Carbotech material, sheets of carbon fiber are compressed under intense heat and pressure with a high-end polymer, PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone). The result is a beautifully layered case that looks all together tactical and sophisticated.

Next up: the dial. This is perhaps one of the most impressive details of the watches as the dial on each Luna Rossa special edition is made from the sail of the racing yacht itself. So this collection is a rare opportunity to own an actual piece of the vessel that has a good chance of becoming the next champion in the sailing world’s most prestigious competition.

Technical Prowess for a Demanding Endeavor

Aesthetics aside, these watches pack an engineering punch in true Panerai fashion. The 47mm Luminor Luna Rossa Regatta, for example, uses the brand’s P.9100/R caliber fitted with a pre-start countdown specially developed for the world of yacht racing. The P.9100 caliber, found in the Luminor Luna Rossa Chrono Flyback is another uniquely qualified movement for competitive sailing. Finally, the 44mm Luminor Luna Rossa GMT uses the mechanically sophisticated P.9010/GMT movement, complete with jumping hours! All are secured by Incabloc technology to handle the grueling impacts of the sport.

Closing Thoughts

After seeing the watches in the metal (or, rather, the Carbotech) at SIAR 2019, it’s apparent that there’s more to these pieces than their impressive specs on paper. Each technical component combines in a way that just sings, and the effect carries through each of the four related but distinct iterations. There’s a balance here between soft and hard materials, between bold red and muted greys, between impactful graphics and careful details, and between mechanical prowess and design cohesion. All of this on top of a watch that looks and feels like it could take on Poseidon himself.

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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