In its more recent past, Panerai has vastly expanded upon its in-house manufacturing know-how and technologies. As part of these gargantuan efforts, we have seen Panerai construct a versatile family of hugely capable manufacture calibers which, by now, power even the famed Panerai Luminor Base Logo 44mm and Luminor Base 8 Days watches – meaning that the most essential Panerai watches now also feature Panerai’s proprietary calibers with extended power reserves.
At the end of the spectrum in complexity stand what Panerai calls Panerai Special Editions. Today, we are taking a closer look at one of these, namely the Panerai Radiomir Minute Repeater Tourbillon GMT 49mm PAM00600.
Even a quick glance at it, from a distance, will reveal that the PAM00600 is one of the most complicated Panerai watches ever made: wrapped inside a 49-millimeter-wide, 18ct red gold case is its P.2005/MR caliber, comprising 633 components; all of them designed to work together in perfect harmony, powering the numerous unique functions and features of this extremely limited Radiomir.
Beyond its hours, minutes and subsidiary seconds, the PAM00600 features a GMT 12/24h display, a power reserve indicator on its case-back side, as well as local time and home time Minute Repeater for hours, 10 minutes, and a tourbillon.
Even its tourbillon, a specially engineered and scarcely encountered twist on the watch’s regulating organ, is unique in its operation. Whereas most all tourbillons function in the same plane as that of the movement’s plates, Panerai has created a much more spectacular take on this 200-year-old invention: the tourbillon of the PAM00600 rotates as though it was on a skewer, rotating around its longitudinal axel. This also makes for one of the clearest, nicest views on the tourbillon in place of the 11 o’clock marker on the dial: there is nothing behind, or in front of this assembly that would spoil the view.
This, thankfully, is far from over, when it comes to the feature-set of the PAM00600. A closer look around the 6 o’clock index reveals the delicate assembly of the cams and snails that help the minute repeater operate: it is as these parts, and many more, deep inside the P.2005/MR caliber, that begin their mechanical dance, as the pusher at the 8 o’clock position is pressed by the wearer to initiate the minute repeater.
A minute repeater carillon is widely considered by the world’s best and most talented watchmakers to be the single most challenging complication in high-end watchmaking. A minute repeater chimes the hours, quarters or 10-minutes, as well as the minutes, using finely tuned hammers and gongs. The first, low chimes are for the hours, followed by the high-low chimes for the 10-minutes passed since the hour began, followed by the closing, high-pitch chimes marking the minutes that have passed since the last full 10-minute interval.
Just to describe or understand is a challenge unto itself – to conceive, design, engineer, assemble and fine-tune a watch of such immense complexity truly marks the pinnacle of modern haute horlogerie. Further enhancing the specialty factor of the PAM00600 is the fact that it is no “ordinary” minute repeater: it is of the yet more exclusive “carillon” type, that relies on not two, but three hammers and gongs, making for that much more elaborate and complex chimes – which, in turn, require exponentially more fine-tuning. As such, the Panerai Radiomir Minute Repeater Tourbillon GMT 49mm PAM00600 is a Swiss Technical Masterpiece, nothing less. But there is more to it than that. The PAM00600 is a tour de force, a way of modern Panerai to show off its engineering and manufacturing capacities that power the rest of its in-house calibers in a highly concentrated way.
For those fortunate few who will be able to obtain one of these, the PAM00600 will be a centerpiece of their collections. For those focused on Panerai’s established collections and iconic pieces, the PAM00600 is a stunning – and easy – way to appreciate the know-how that Panerai dedicates to all its in-house calibers.
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