Being a designer at Panerai must be a frustrating role at times. The design language available to them is far more limited than at other watch brands. Cushion-shaped case? Check. Straight or wire lugs? Check. Sandwich dial with trademarked typeface? Check.
Perhaps its labouring the point, but there really isn’t that much scope available to offer a different look, and even if there were would the Paneristis want such a watch?
Panerai has addressed this in recent years by introducing new materials and dial colours (which could still be taken further) and techniques. Last year we had the resolutely traditional hand-engraving found on the case of the exquisite limited edition Radiomir Firenze boutique exclusive whilst this year Panerai takes a bold-leap in crafting the titanium case of its Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio by means of laser sintering, which uses lasers to bond layer upon layer of tiny, dust-like particles of the material into a solid whole.
It’s by no means the first watch case produced using this method but it shows a big brand willing to experiment, which is just as exciting. Elsewhere Panerai also introduced two new dial designs at SIHH with its Radiomir 1940 3 Days GMT automatic. This pair of steel watches not only use a purposeful-looking arrow for the GMT hand but come with the choice of either clous de Paris (hobnail) or vertical striping offering subtle new variation to the brand’s offer.