Panerai makes history this month with the launch of its most complicated watch yet, the brand-new Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon GMT, which makes its official debut in Florence on May 18 as part of the Marino Marini Museum exhibition Dive Into Time.
The watch movement, the P.2005/MR caliber, spent four yeas in the research and development stages at the Laboratorio di Idee in the brand’s Neuchatel Manufacture, and offers GMT time indication, a patented tourbillon escapement, and, for the first time in watchmaking history, two minute repeaters to enable the wearer to chime the time in two time zones.
Already one of the most difficult watchmaking feats to accomplish, the chiming mechanism here is even more complex in that it employs three hammers and gongs (as opposed to the typical two) to create a melody of harmonious tones: a single deep tone for the hours, a high-pitched tone for individual minutes, and, for another bit of unabashed innovation, a triple chime of an intermediate tone to signal 10-minute intervals—a significant (and arguably more logical) departure from the traditional 15-minute intervals offered by other minute repeaters.
The chiming is activated via a push-button at 8:00 and the wearer can switch between the two time zones by pressing the pusher on the crown. Crafted in 18-karat 5N rose gold, the 49mm case allows for viewing of the skeletonized tourbillion from the front and back—an exceedingly handsome form that also serves to follow function, since both rose gold and skeletonization are said to be beneficial to the acoustics.
Because of its complexity and time-consuming construction—never mind its expense—the watch will be made on a made-to-order basis only, allowing buyers to customize strap choice, style of hands, and case material. Price from $400,000; panerai.com.