By TLex Here’s a bit of jaw dropper from Officine Panerai’s 2015 collection unveiled at SIHH last week. The new Luminor 1950 Equation Of Time 8 Days Acciaio AKA PAM00516 is one of two new Special Editions created by them with one of the most classic and fascinating astronomical complications, the Equation of Time. P.2002/E Manufacture movement, hand-wound with a power reserve of eight days, which is displayed on an indicator on the P.2002’s back.
The history of time measurement arose from the human need to arrange events on a dimension which was not solely spatial and, since ancient times, man has found the answers to this need through the study of astronomy. The length of one day is derived from the period of one rotation of the Earth and the length of one year corresponds to the period of one revolution of the Earth around the Sun, and for centuries timepieces have been used to place events in a time-frame defined by these phenomena, establishing the universal convention which is time.
There is, however, a difference between convention and reality. Because of the elliptical orbit of the Earth round the Sun and the axial tilt of the Earth’s rotation in relation to the equator, the duration of a day measures exactly 24 hours on only four occasions in one year, while on all other days there is a difference between apparent time (solar time) and conventional time (mean time) which varies between being up to about 15 minutes ahead or behind, depending on the time of year.
This difference, the measurement of which is one of the classic complications of high quality watch-making, is called the “equation of time” and it is displayed by a linear indicator on the dial of the new Radiomir 1940 Equation of Time 8 Days and the Luminor 1950 Equation of Time 8 Days.
The inclusion of such a sophisticated complication as the equation of time does not alter the classic Panerai design of the two models, a design inspired directly by the history of the Florentine brand. One of the watches has the Radiomir 1940 case and the other the Luminor 1950 case, the latter being the historical evolution of the former, having the distinctive bridge device with clamping lever which protects the winding crown. Both cases are made of AISI 316L stainless steel – an alloy that is particularly resistant to corrosion – with a polished finish.
The dial of both models is black with the classic sandwich structure invented by Panerai in the late 1930s: two superimposed discs contain the luminous substance, the light of which emerges through the holes in it corresponding to the markers on the upper disc, providing a unique tonal depth and high legibility. As well as the linear indicator of the equation of time, the dial also contains the seconds counter at nine o’clock, the date window at three o’clock and the circular indicator on which the month can be read.
On the back of the case is a sapphire crystal window which enables the details and fine finish of the hitherto unissued P.2002/E movement to be admired. This is a development of the P.2002 caliber, the first to be made by Officine Panerai in 2005: it is a hand-wound movement with a diameter of 13¾ lignes, with three spring barrels providing the long power reserve of eight days which has been part of the tradition of the brand since the 1940s.
The Radiomir 1940 Equation of Time 8 Days (PAM00516) and the Luminor 1950 Equation of Time 8 Days (PAM00601) are two Special Editions of only 200 and 100 units respectively. Water-resistant to 10 bar (about 100 meters), they are fitted with an alligator strap, and the model with the Luminor 1950 case is supplied with a screwdriver and the tool for replacing the strap.