As the 2016 season of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge draws to a close in Cannes, France, this weekend, classic sailing enthusiasts can continue to indulge their passion for the sea and mechanical watchmaking with a special series of timepieces available exclusively in the brand's 69 boutiques worldwide.
Panerai has outfitted four of its models with radiant cobalt sandwich dials finished in satin-soleil that reflect light like the rays of the sun bouncing off waves. The deep-blue dials impart a fresh nautical look to the 42mm Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Automatic ($8,600), the 44mm Luminor 1950 10 days GMT Automatic ($13,400), the manual-winding 47mm Radiomir 1940 3 Days ($9,200), and the 45mm, 18k gold Radiomir 1940 10 Days Automatic Oro Rosso ($35,900).
Each special edition is delivered in a polished blue, cherrywood box. The stainless-steel Luminors include an additional rubber strap for a sporty alternative, and both are water-resistant to 10 bar (about 100 meters). The two 10 Days models are powered by Panerai's P.2003 and P.2003/10 Calibres, delivering at least 10 days of power reserve (indicated with a linear display) thanks to three spring barrels.
Building on its maritime heritage as a supplier to the Italian and Egyptian navies, Panerai kicked off the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge more than a decade ago. The regatta series has since grown into the largest international circuit of its kind, and the 2016 season started in the spring in Antigua followed by events in Europe and New England.
"With our traditions and history, and our link to the sea, this came naturally, organically," says Giovanni Carestia, president of Panerai North America, at the close of the North American series in Newport, Rhode Island earlier this month. Carestia points out that participation in the North American events has steadily grown to include dozens of boats in a wide range of sizes, styles and ages.
"Sailing is completely different from any other sport," explains Carestia. "It's not just catching the wind, it involves a lot of practice, a lot of precision, a lot of coordination, and a lot of strategy before the race and during the race as they have to make adjustments. You really need to master these skills. And even if you do, the beauty is, every day is different and every location presents its own difficulties."
And of course, timing is everything.