Many of the major watch brands have become fully tuned in to the special occasion that is Chinese New Year. A decade ago it is doubtful anyone in haute horology land much bothered or even knew much about about the lunar new year as celebrated by billions of Chinese the world over. But as China has enjoyed increasing influence and prosperity in the past ten to fifteen years, watchmakers have come to realise that the Chinese are happy to part with serious money at this time of the year. Throughout most of the year the Chinese tend to be extremely cautious savers, so frugal that for some it is not uncommon for months to go by without dipping into a single pay check. Chinese New Year is the one time when they want to treat the family and treat themselves. So why not encourage this once a year free spending attitude with some high class limited edition timepieces.
2014 is the Year of the Horse, and among the clutch of highly desirable watchmakers to produce a special edition is Panerai. Last year they produced a “Year of the Snake” watch and it must have proved sufficiently lucrative to try the idea again. Despite the multitudes of Chinese, this watch will be limited to just to 100 pieces globally, so many will be left wanting. The watch is from the much admired Luminor Sealand series, model number PAM00847.
Those born under the Year of the Horse tend to be stubborn when it comes their ideas, but they are also incredibly patient when it comes to hearing out what other people have to say. The hinged cover protecting the dial of the Luminor Sealand was itself an act of patience and stubborn perseverance. It is a sophisticated engraving of a horse executed entirely by hand by Italian master craftsmen. The technique involves grooves being made in the steel by a handicraft tool known as a sparsello. Within these grooves are inlaid threads of gold, gold being one of the favoured precious metals of the Chinese. These threads are inserted in repeated parallel layers and gently hammered into place until they fully occupy the engraved outlines, thereby creating the unmistakeable shape of a horse.
The work demands much tenacity and skill due to the fact that the process is carried out only after the cover has been engraved and polished. One small mistake and the entire piece is ruined. Not surprising really that only 100 pieces were made. It’s a true meeting of Florentine craftsmanship and traditional Chinese culture.
The protective cover features a mirror within, underneath which is the minimalist Luminor encased 44mm grey dial in classic Panerai style with a small seconds dial and date. The case is brushed AISI 316L stainless steel, and so too the lever device which covers the winding crown. The watch is powered by the in-house COSC certified OP III calibre, an automatic movement with a power reserve of 42 hours.
Water resistant to 50 metres, the watch will be available exclusively in Panerai boutiques worldwide.
Panerai Luminor Sealand Year of the Horse – Technical Specifications
- Automatic mechanical,
- Exclusive Panerai OP III calibre,
- 13¼ lignes, 21 jewels,
- Bridges and oscillating weight personalised Panerai.
- Glucydur® balance,
- 28,800 alternations/hour.
- Incabloc® anti-shock device.
- Power reserve 42 hours.
- Chronometer Certificate (C.O.S.C.).
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date.
Case: Diameter 44 mm, brushed steel AISI 316L.
Bezel and cover: Brushed steel, cover engraved by hand.
Back: Screw, brushed steel.
Device protecting the crown: (protected as a trademark) Brushed steel.
Dial: Grey with hour markers and Arabic numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock. Seconds at 9 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock. Crystal: Sapphire, formed of corundum, 1.5 mm thick. Magnifying lens over the date at 3 o’clock, anti-reflective coating.
Water-resistance: 5 bar (~ 50 metres).
Strap: Panerai personalised leather strap and brushed steel buckle. Supplied with a steel screwdriver and a second interchangeable strap.
More resources about the Panerai Luminor Sealand Year of the Horse available on Perpetuelle, and WatchProSite.
And don’t miss the 2014 Year of the Horse Watches selection by Nancy Olson on DreamChrono Blog.