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Panerai L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

As a halo product designed not to sell in large volume, but to showcase the upper-end of the technical abilities at Panerai, the 2018 L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT is one hell of an horological product. Referenced as the Panerai PAM00920 (PAM920), this $200,000+, 50mm wide mega watch is something we’re sure you’ll want to know about (even if only a precious few will be able to afford one).

The base caliber and concept behind the Panerai L’Astronomo is derived from a model released by the brand a few years ago in 2010. This new model is more than a fresh aesthetic offering but features changes to the movement as well as a new opportunity for brand fans to discover the top-end of what Panerai can produce. Mind you that the mega-complex L’Astronomo is a far more complicated “haute horology” product from the makers of normally very elegant and often simple Italian-style sport watches. I say all this because while it certainly fits within the core Panerai timepiece theme, it is in many ways a separate type of product when compared to the majority of what Panerai is known for producing.

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

All images by David Bredan

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

When Panerai first came out with the L’Astronomo Tourbillon, they claimed that it was inspired by Galileo Galilei (for obvious astronomical reasons). The astronomical functions of the watches aren’t easily apparent when viewing the front-side of the watch save for the equation of time complication. Of course, there are the sunrise and sunset indicators on the periphery of the dial that require at the least a complex calendar complication. Turn the PAM920 over on its rear and you’ll see one of the newest elements of this watch, which is a moon phase indicator – that is different from the previous 2010 model’s star chart. Opposite a representation of the sun, the moon phase disc itself is beautifully detailed and also turns every 24 hours as an additional indication of the time.

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

Panerai produces the complicated lattice work on the skeletonized dial of the L’Astronomo Luminor using 3D-printed titanium. They say that it’s the only way to achieve the desired level of quality and precision. It isn’t necessarily apparent to most people on these watches, but if you ask yourself “how did they produce that?” in the watch world, you’ll often be left guessing since exotic production techniques are sometimes used for such exotic products. Even though the PAM920 doesn’t fit the mold of most Panerai watches, it still uses a (large) Luminor 1950-style case and dial that keep it solidly within the brand.

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

Speaking of the dial, we have more complications to look at including the time with subsidiary seconds dial, second time zone hand (in 12-hour format), month indicator, date (more on that in a moment), and as I said, an equation of time and sunrise/sunset indicators that both use nifty linear scales. It is important to consider that all of the Panerai L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT watches will be produced on order. One of the biggest reasons for this is the sunrise and sunset indicators. These features need to be calibrated to a particular part of the world (only digital watches with these complications can be adjusted for different cities – in other words, different longitude and latitude coordinates). So what Panerai does is have the customer select which city he or she wants the sunrise and sunset information to correspond to.

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

Panerai makes a big deal out of the date indicator. Why? The reason is because if you look closely, you’ll notice that while you can see the date numeral in the date window, even though the dial is skeletonized you cannot view the date wheel. Cool right? That’s because Panerai designed a system using two sheets of polarized glass – with one of those sheets being the date disc itself. Right over the date window the polarized planes overlap in a manner so as to allow for half of the light of the lower disc to enter and thus, you can see the date. Given how polarization works the date disc appears almost invisible everywhere else.

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

It is almost easy to forget that the in-house made and developed Panerai caliber P.2005/GLS manually-wound movement also has a tourbillon. Alas, it was developed at a time when pretty much all “mega luxury” watches needed to have tourbillons. These days the tourbillon isn’t exactly passe, but its appearance as an exclusive status symbol has certainly lost a lot of weight. The tourbillon in the P.2005/GLS is actually somewhat novel because of the axis that it spins on. Rather than spin on the tourbillon cage’s vertical axis, the tourbillon in this Panerai watch spins on its horizontal axis. I also like that this is among the rarer 4Hz (28,800bph) tourbillon movements as opposed to 3Hz, which is the frequency most tourbillon balance wheels operate at. The movement further has four days of power reserve (with a handy indicator on the rear of the watch) and is produced from 451 parts.

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

Given that each L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT timepiece is “made to order,” Panerai can also customize the case material, finishing, and even the dial and hand colors. What they can’t do is make this big watch any smaller if you aren’t into a 50mm wide case. In this form the case is in polished and brushed titanium – and it looks lovely with great quality. The case is also water-resistant to 100m – making it at least somewhat durable like a Panerai watch should be. Ironically, even some Panerai “sport watches” are only water-resistant to 30m (even though the brand’s entire theme is Italian dive watches).

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

Panerai L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 Hands-On Hands-On

With an incredible “watch lovers” movement and cool Panerai look, the Panerai L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT is an incredible collector’s watch for high-end buyers. It has exclusivity in that no two of these watches are likely to even be made the same, along with a movement that no mom and pop horology shop can produce. People who invest in a product like this clearly need to have a deep appreciation for the Panerai brand. Though, that isn’t enough. You can spend big bucks on some rare vintage Panerai models if you merely want to spend a lot. This is a watch for those who love Panerai’s style, but also love to admire the complication and prestige of a serious piece of high-end mechanical horology. Even though it will totally fly over the heads of so many Panerai fans, it does serve its purpose well as a halo product for the brand. The Panerai L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation Of Time GMT PAM00920 has a retail price of $230,000 USD. panerai.com

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  • JosephWelke

    I can’t read the time. Why do a lot of brands feel that many complications must lead to a badly skeletonized dial?

  • phacepalm

    Well, I for one really like this watch, except of course for its price (which I will never be able to afford) and it’s size. I like big watches, but at 50mm this is simply ginormous – unwearable for all practical purposes.

  • Mikita

    3D printed dial in a quarter million watch 🙂 need some Casio on the other wrist to read the time.

    • IG

      If you need some Casio you are in deep doo-doo.

  • Polerouter

    I don’t like Panerai, I don’t like big watches, I don’t like this kind of heavily skeletonized complicated watches, and I don’t like this watch.

    But I have to admit that this date display is one of the most clever innovations I’ve seen in a long time. It is a simple and elegant solution to an admittetly not very important problem.

    • Brandon

      For a minute I thought you were going “Dr. Suess”.

  • BNABOD

    As a showcase to what Panerai can do I suppose it is fine and the date trick is neat but that is about it. Size is not practical and so is the price but I have no doubt they will sell. I am getting to the point where less complications with a focus on refine finishes and wearability are the biggest priorities for me. The rest is just extra fluff but maybe it is a good way to attract folks to the high end watch world even by sharing how far antiquated tech can go. Though they might not buy the watch being displayed it might trigger a inner desire to pursue watches from the same company at a more reasonable price. Basically acting as a lure to the brand….

  • SuperStrapper

    The watch, namely the movement, is undoubtedly cool and impressive, but the overall appearance is just so disjointed.

  • Playboy Johnny

    It’s JAGP.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Hmm. Written by Ariel but the shirt is from the fashion house of le Zach.
    This is a bowl of spaghetti with a date wheel on it. Poor month indicator.
    This is one very cleverly put together piece. I give them an extra point for the lume. Sadly it just looks a mess, well put together, but still a mess. With that said, if i had the cash under the bed i would buy it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFXXAa26e6U

  • cluedog12

    The grid skeleton dial is interesting.

    Bring in the same type of dial without the delicate complications the $20,000 price point. It’s a fresh take on the typical Panerai look. Panerai needs to vary it up just a little bit to remain interesting. Sly’s getting on 70!

    • IG

      Old piece of meathead.

  • Love this movement, and that date execution is superb. Would prefer it without the crown guard, in fact, this is such a step away from the roots of Panerai sure it was a perfect opportunity to execute in a slightly different case style??

    • SuperStrapper

      Couldn’t agree more. This luminor case just doesn’t suit a more intricate dial appearance.

    • GalaxyGuy

      Agreed. The Radiomir 1940 case would have been a better choice, in my opinion.

      • Chaz

        Noooo…the Radiomir 1940 is the MOST forgettable, plain brown wrapper case Panerai could have come up with!

        • GalaxyGuy

          OK…how about a radiomir case with wire lugs? At least it has an interesting(ish) crown. Might be hard to 3d print the wire lugs, but I don’t know enough about it to know for sure.

          • Chaz

            Yes, I think the “classic” Radiomir would be suitable.

  • Jon Heinz

    I guess they figured they could do such basic finishing because the movement itself is so freakin’ trick, which it certainly is. The thing they did with the date display and “invisible” date wheel is seriously awesome. I definitely will never afford it, but I certainly do admire this one from afar.

  • Omegaboy

    I’d need wrist implants in order to wear this monster – or maybe eat spinach – but I love it.

  • Jerry Davis

    Even in my wildest lottery dreams I am not in the market for a $230,000 watch.
    And in my wildest watch dreams I am not in the market for one that looks like this.

  • Federico Mengoli

    The date system is amazing! Really!!!

  • Now that is a nice watch … Better than any Richard Mille

  • Larry Holmack

    Hmmm….Since New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees is a huge fan of Panerai….I’m wondering if he won’t drop $230K of that $27 million he is guaranteed out of his $50 million dollar contract for the next two years?

  • Pieter deHatter
    • Young New Mexican Puppeteer

      That black fly
      Left your Chardonnay
      It’s taken control
      Have a nice day!

      • DanW94

        We seem to have lost Mean Gene again….

        • Young New Mexican Puppeteer

          Do you mean Pieter deHatter? Is he gone?

  • Tea Hound

    A solid dial version is sorely needed. That’s the only thing stopping me buying a couple.

  • Pieter deHatter

    So is the sun/moon/stars on the back linked to the 2nd time zone? The pointer is at 22, that’s why I’m asking.
    Seems a little strange but it would also be strange to have a second hour hand just in 12-hour format.

  • Kuroji

    That shirt again. My eyes!

    • Sheez Gagoo

      I think David ruined a curtain in an Italian castello to make it.

      • Pieter deHatter

        Only Marius ruins things, right Dave? 🙂

    • MeaCulpa

      Following McMansion Hell I think I’ve seen that throw pillow in a couple of McMansions.

  • Steve Bowden

    Dear Mr Adams.
    We all know damn well that is David Bredan’s shirt! What have you done to him? And, more importantly, what have you done to his shirt? You can’t just take a man’s shirt and say ‘well it fits me better anyway.’ or ‘I love this shirt more than he does’. Get your own shirts. Yes David has 25 watches but we all know he only has one shirt. If you provide proof that David Bredan is still alive, we will get you your own shirt, with a charming Invicta Logo on it. Best Regards.

  • Marius

    In my view, this is a quite bizarre watch, and I have three reasons for saying that.

    Firstly, while this timepiece contains quite a few complications, they are all arranged in a rather unfortunate manner. For instance, the spinning tourbillon is very interesting, but its relatively small compared to the overall case size, and it’s positioned in such a way that makes it very easy to be overlooked. Similarly, the moon phase is attractive, but being placed on the backside means that every time you want to see it, you would have to take off your watch. Personally, I would have placed the equation of time indicators on the backside, and moved the moon phase indicator onto the dial, thus making it the star of the show.

    Secondly, in my view, there is no connection whatsoever between this complications and the overall history & product strategy of Panerai. Sure, such complications would suit traditional brands such as Patek, Vacheron, AP, or Lange. However, in the case of Panerai — if I could design my own bespoke watch — I would opt for a chronograph similar to that of the AP Schumacher Laptimer, allowing me to time the launch and impact of torpedoes, or maybe a very complicated dive watch featuring a depth sensor, motion sensor, etcetera. As is, this Panerai is similar to a rally-tuned Subaru Impreza WRX STI equipped with a Bentley-style interior.

    Lastly, the over $230,000 price is a joke. Sure, creating such a movement would have been quite an achievement in the 80`s, but with today’s technology it’s not that difficult. More importantly though, the fit & finish of the watch, as well as the decoration of the caliber are mediocre at best. Of course, I understand that Panerai isn’t interested in a Dufour/Voutilainen-style finish, but what I don’t understand is why this watch costs over $230,000. You can find a similar level of finish in a $15,000 Tag Heuer Tourbillon Chronograph. Just to offer a comparison, the recently-released Breguet Marine 5887 also offers a tourbillon/equation of time complication, but it also packs and additional perpetual calendar with nicely-engraved bridges as well as with a high-end level of finish for around $210,000. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e362bc20c03097c00a19b6e4828d0e7656680fbf476dc3018922efc45234eabc.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7c1360aabafd4ebac8e8a6a284aa456bd4d6d719798cb36660ba81ad1475bbb4.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7a4da87e6c06ed3d9212785b41488a023a9fb1e2fe9de2fa442f57628b870527.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/786d58224edc67f2e4030f3793914ca157a57489b10bf498be1a9567fdae64ad.jpg

    • Sheez Gagoo

      The only watch I know with a republican date on the back. They should use a decimal time system to make it consistent.

      • Pieter deHatter

        Well spotted!

    • Pieter deHatter

      Speaking of Tag, have you seen their Aston Martin watches yet? One is quartz, the other says “Aston Martin” on the tachy bezel and an Aston Martin logo in the subseconds. It really takes Aston to new heights. Man, what a creative collaboration! Biver’s such a genius/icon.

      • Chaz

        But isn’t Mille THE Aston Martin watch??

    • IG

      At least these are working astronomical complications unlike on Jacob&Co.’s blinged turds.

  • Pete L

    Way too big really but I love it. Hugely (no pun intended) impressive and some amazing complications. Smaller tourbillon a nice touch and I even like the skeleton dial as it seems legible. If only it was 45mm and about 90% cheaper ?

  • Drazen B

    Quite a bit going on inside that dial.

    • Chaz

      And on that cuff

  • Scott

    Two questions Ariel:

    1. Is tha your wrist in the shots?

    2. If so, what on earth are you wearing?

    We seriously need a wider shot of this outfit.

    • IG

      We? I don’t.

  • Brandon

    50 mmm? Alriiighty then. I’ll set this on my nightstand as a clock in a custom case or maybe have it installed in my RR. Maybe it’s an ankle watch.