Luxury watch brands sponsoring sporting events that one fit into a more upper-class lifestyle makes a certain sort of sense.  I mean, if you’ve got the coin to spend on, say, the training, equipment, and the like for things like equestrian sports or sailing, well, you’re probably not going to be kicking around with your high school calculator watch on your wrist, now are you?  There are several high-end brands that likely come to mind when you’re thinking of sailing, but one that has never come to my mind would be Panerai.  Well, they’re aiming to change that for us with their just-announced Panerai Luna Rossa Challenger Submersible PAM 1039.


Brand:  Panerai
Model: Luna Rossa Challenger Submersible PAM 1039
Dimensions: 47mm
Water Resistance: 30 bar (300m)
Case Material: carbon fiber with titanium caseback
Crystal/Lens: Sapphire
Movement: automatic, P.9010/GMT, in-house.
Frequency: 28,800 mph
Power Reserve: 72 hours
Strap/Bracelet: black caoutchouc strap with titanium buckle
Price & Availability:

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Frankly, given the storied history of the brand (spare me the pitchforks, please) and their ties to the Italian Navy, a watch from them headed for the water should work, right?  I mean, it’s got Submersible right in the name!  Then again, if you’re in the water in a boat race, you’ve done something wrong.  Should you dip below the waves, though, the Panerai Luna Rossa Challenger Submersible PAM 1039 should hold up just fine.

Now, in all things racing, you want to have things as light as possible. This perhaps doesn’t extend to the watches the crew has one, but why not?  If this Panerai was executed in steel (as we’re used to), the 47mm case could hardly be considered a lightweight.  You change that material over to carbon fiber – the exact same stuff that the hull of the boat Panerai is sponsoring is made out of – then you’ve got a different story (also the same material we’re seeing on some other new watches).  It’s light, it’s tough, and it won’t corrode in salt water.  Good start, right?  Add in a dial that’s made up of bits of the sail on the Luna Rossa AC75, and you’ve got something that thematically fits right in with the boat – literally.


You know me – I’m a sucker for a GMT, and I liked how Panerai executed on it, so I started off liking this watch.  Flip side of the coin, I’m not really into sailing, nor have I been a fan of watches that are predominantly blacked-out in tone.  That all said, I do find myself liking the Panerai Luna Rossa Challenger Submersible PAM 1039, even if the case is oversized.  While large, carbon fiber does lighten things up, and makes for a unique feel on the wrist.  The sail treatment on the dial also lightens things up a bit – sort of how some brands will “age” a dial – while giving some interesting texture.  There’s also no denying how the hands and indices pop out against the dial.  I certainly can’t claim to be a Panerista, but this is one that is immediately identifiable as being from the brand, while simultaneously (if stealthily) showing support for their America’s Cup team.

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