The New 44mm Submersibles from Panerai

The New 44mm Submersibles from Panerai

The Submersible family of Panerai’s storied military watch collections has experienced somewhat of an accelerated evolution in the past five years or so, ever since current CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué took over the helm in April 2018. Having always been available in case sizes of both 44mm and 47mm — back when it still remained under the umbrella of the original Luminor collection — Panerai would launch a downsized 42mm Luminor Submersible in 2017, in the form of the 1950 3 Days Oro Rosso. Finally, some would argue, this was the shrunken but rightly-sized Luminor for the slim-wristed masses. And we had outgoing CEO Angelo Bonati to thank for that.

In one of his first acts as newly minted CEO, Pontroué would carve out the Submersible from the Luminor collection and have it stand on its own as Panerai’s flagship dive watch. It would retain everything we’ve come to know and love about the Luminor — its cushion-shaped case and its Safety Lock crown protection device — but with a uni-directional rotating bezel slapped on and increased water resistance to 300 meters. The Submersible was slated to be the line that spearheads innovation for the company, and we’ve seen that take shape in the form of cases made from Panerai’s material innovations such as Carbotech and BMG-Tech. Now, since 2018, the Submersible has only been available in 42mm and 47mm case sizes, and this year, Panerai will fill that case-sized hole in the middle with seven new 44mm Submersible references called QuarantaQuattro (or forty-four in Italiano).

According to Panerai, the QuarantaQuattro will be an established size within the Submersible family and this will enable the company to cater to every consumer’s preference of case size. More on that later. The seven new references come in a variety of case materials, bezel, dial and strap colors, and are meant to round out the existing Submersible lineup with some overlap in configurations. So if you’ve always felt left out because a 42mm Submersible looks like a boy’s (or girl’s) watch on you and the 47mm option looks more suited to be on a bodybuilder’s wrist, you’ll be spoilt for choice now.

Stainless Steel and Carbotech

The first three references come in two case materials that we are already extremely familiar with: the standard brushed 316L stainless steel and Carbotech, first used in the 2015 Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech. With an all-stainless-steel case and caseback, polished steel hour and minute hands and hour indexes on a matte black dial with blue accents, the Submersible QuarantaQuattro (PAM01229) slots right in between the PAM00973 (42mm) and PAM01305 (47mm) in the current collection. All three references use a fetching blue running seconds hand. The PAM01229 has a choice of two straps, in either black rubber or dark gray fabric with the rubber composed of 30 percent recycled materials and the fabric strap at a higher 68 percent. All other straps used in the QuarantaQuattro collection have similar material compositions.

Submersible QuarantaQuattro (PAM01229)
The PAM01229 in stainless steel with matte black dial and black strap made of recycled rubber. (image: Panerai)
Uni-directional rotating bezel, Safety Lock crown protection device and 300m of water resistance. All hallmarks of the Submersible case. (image: Panerai)

The Submersible QuarantaQuattro Bianco (PAM01226) comes in a full stainless steel case and caseback as well, but with all three hands and hour indexes in matte black on a matte white dial. The running seconds subdial has white oval markers at the quarters and round black dots at the remaining five-second intervals. The PAM01226 will be an addition to the existing 42mm PAM01223 with a new military green rubber strap, giving it a fresh alpine-inspired aesthetic. There is currently no white dial Submersible in 47mm.

PAM01226 has a stainless steel case with matte black hands on a matte white dial for superb legibility. (image: Panerai)

Lastly, the Submersible QuarantaQuattro Carbotech Blu Abisso (or Blue Abyss; PAM01232) uses the carbon-fiber-based composite material for its case, the lightest material that Panerai has to offer. Carbotech plates are made from thin sheets of long carbon fibers compressed at high pressure and under controlled temperature with a binding agent called Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK). The resulting material is lighter than both ceramic and titanium, and yet resistant to corrosion, shocks and scratches. The cutting of the Carbotech plates creates a unique variegated pattern that resembles the grain of wood, and no two cases are the same.

PAM01232 is the only new 44mm Submersible made in Carbotech™, Panerai's proprietary carbon fiber-based material. It has a matte dark blue dial and a matching dark blue recycled rubber strap. (image: Panerai)

Curiously, the crown and caseback of this Carbotech version is not made of the same hi-tech material. They are constructed out of titanium instead, with a black DLC coating to complement the dark tones of the case. Matte black hour and minute hands and hour indexes rest on a dark-blue dial reminiscent of the ocean depths. White dial accents, including a contrasting white running seconds hand, improve legibility of the dial, with the Carbotech label replacing the “Automatic” designation. To complete the deep ocean theme, the PAM01232 comes with a recycled rubber strap in the exact same shade of blue as the dial. Despite the somber color palette, the PAM01232 makes for a slightly more colorful addition to the current five Carbotech Submersibles that have either black or gray dials.

Only the case back and crown are not made in Carbotech™, but rather DLC-coated titanium. (image: Panerai)

eSteel

First used in 2021 in the Luminor Marina, eSteel is a metal made of recycled materials that’s a recent addition to Panerai’s materials development portfolio and is part of Jean-Marc Pontroué’s strategic shift, from a product design standpoint, to position Panerai as one of the leading brands pursuing sustainability initiatives.

Three new Submersible references join the original Luminor three in incorporating recycled steel scrap into the stainless steel that makes up most of the watch. 52 percent of the QuarantaQuattro’s 137g total weight is made of eSteel, and while that is lower than the 58.4 percent of the Luminor Marina’s eSteel or even the lofty figure of 98.6 percent of EcoTitanium used in the limited edition Submersible eLAB-ID, it is still a worthy achievement as it continues to set the precedent for Panerai to continue along this path toward reducing its waste footprint. Despite being a recycled material, the physical properties such as the structural integrity, resistance to corrosion and chemical behavior of eSteel are the same as that of conventional stainless steel, and Panerai has given it the vote of confidence by expanding its use.

The colors of the new eSteel Submersibles are exactly the same as their Luminor forebears, in Verde Smeraldo (Emerald Green; PAM01287), Grigio Roccia (Rock Gray; PAM01288) and Blu Profondo (Deep Blue; PAM01289). Each color option is expressed by having a matching dial, bezel, crown knurling and two straps in the same hue. The dials are glossy with a gradient effect that transitions from light to dark, from top to bottom, like the fading of sunlight if you plunged from ocean surface to floor. The bezels themselves are made of eSteel with a highly polished colored ceramic insert, a first for Panerai, and definitely an interesting choice on a tool watch with muted colors such as the Submersible.

PAM01287 has a green colour scheme called Verde Smeraldo or Emerald Green. The glossy dial and polished ceramic bezel insert look fantastic in this colour. The strap and crown knurling are in a contrasting, faded military green. (image: Panerai)
PAM01288 comes in Grigio Roccia or Rock Gray. The dial gradient effect looks more pronounced in this color with the bezel insert more black than gray. (image: Panerai)
PAM01289 is colored in a dark blue called Blu Profondo. It looks the most montone of the three with its dial, bezel and strap all in the same shade of blue. (image: Panerai)

While the gray and blue options have their components matched pretty much exactly color-wise, the green option plays on shades of green. It uses a rich forest green — or you could even say, British Racing Green — for the dial and bezel, and a faded tone of the color for the strap that recalls the fade on well-worn military jackets. The polished steel hands and white dial furniture help break up the moody palette on all three versions. The straps are made from either recycled rubber or recycled PET plastic woven into fabric.

We think the PAM01287 in Verde Smeraldo is the best looking of the eSteel™ bunch. (image: Panerai)

The Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team

Panerai’s partnership with the Luna Rossa yachting team (previously called Luna Rossa Challenge) began in 2019, a suitable pairing of two brands with Italian heritage and their distinct call to the sea. For the 37th edition of the America’s Cup yacht race, Panerai is continuing its support of Luna Rossa with a new 1,500-piece limited edition of the Submersible, the QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa (PAM01391).

PAM01391 is the most colourful of the new releases in red, white and blue. (image: Panerai)

The colors for this marine-inspired release are a more vibrant blue, white and red, unlike the sober black and gray of the original 2020 release. We start with an all-stainless-steel case with a brushed sunray, deep-blue dial and a crown with rubberized knurling in the same shade of blue. The hour and minute hands are polished steel with the running seconds hand in red to represent the colors of the Luna Rossa team. White Super-LumiNova in the hands and applied hour indexes gives legibility in the dark and the team name is also represented on the dial in white. The strap is recycled black rubber with a dark-blue fabric overlay, and the team name appears once again as white script on a red stripe. As you know, adding racing stripes to anything makes it way cooler immediately although the stripe in question here is only found on the longer end of the strap at six o’clock. Having it on both ends would seem more congruent (and cooler), but you just have to trust the Italians on this as they are the purveyors of all things stylish.

The Luna Rossa stripe is unfortunately only found on the long end of the bi-material strap. We think the stripe should go all the way around the other side. (image: Panerai)

The Roundup

All seven new releases are powered by the in-house caliber P.900 developed by parent company Richemont’s movement supplier, Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier. The P.900 beats at 28,800vph and can still boast of a three-day power reserve from a single barrel. Another highlight, although literally small in size, worth mentioning is the redesigned date window for the Submersible. The date window used to be a simple rectangular cutout on the dial that didn’t seem to do much for the date, but it served its purpose. Panerai have now introduced a border to frame the window that is curved at the four corners and concave in profile. A minor design update that is more likely to draw the eye toward the date.

Included with every model is a handy toolkit with a strap changing tool and a screwdriver for removing the buckle, so you don’t have to go to the boutique or a watchmaker to get a strap changed.

Size Matters

Now, if you feel the latest Submersible release is slightly muted, hear us out. A new case size and colors for an already established collection may not sound like such a big deal at face value, but it would help put things into context if we examine the existing case sizes available, across all complications, from all four of Panerai’s product lines:

1. The Submersible now comes in 42mm, 44mm and 47mm;
2. The Luminor in 40mm, 42mm, 44mm and 47mm;
3. The Luminor Due in 38mm, 42mm and 45mm;
4. The Radiomir in 42mm, 45mm, 47mm and 48mm

With the latest trend shifting toward smaller case sizes, most enthusiasts would agree that the sweet spot for a wearable case would be 38–40mm (weird lug-to-lug dimensions notwithstanding). Maybe you could push it to 42mm if you had multiple complications on the dial and legibility is a legitimate concern. However, if we’re being honest, watch enthusiasts make up a much smaller segment of the whole watch market. We aren’t privy to Panerai’s market segmentation analysis, but what is clear is that if you are attracted to the Panerai aesthetic, there is literally a PAM for every wrist size out there — within reason, of course. Panerai is not a small dress watch company and has never tried to be, for all of you out there screaming that it’s 36mm or nothing.

The standout of this release is the Luna Rossa model as it’s a tool watch that can be dressed down. It really does look at home on a yacht, whether in a race or with champagne and caviar in hand. We feel the eSteel models were a missed opportunity to introduce brighter and more fun colors (MoonSwatch color palette maybe?) to draw attention to the sustainability message behind the watches. If the Submersible is too serious for such a release, a future eSteel release for the Luminor Due could do the trick.

The Big Picture

The bigger story at play here is that the various inclusions of recycled materials at the product design level is but a limited view of Panerai’s overall sustainability mission. Panerai calls its sustainability framework Panerai Ecologico and it consists of five pillars: Buildings, Processes, Products, Partnerships and People.

Panerai’s state-of-the-art manufacture in Neuchâtel can already boast of net zero carbon emissions and continues to work toward meeting the MINERGIE standard, a Swiss standard of quality for low energy consumption buildings. It has employed recycling processes and a 100 percent reliance on clean energy for its manufacturing operations. For example, rainwater is collected and reused to the tune of 225,000 liters of rainwater saved per year. The manufacturing of all watches is 100 percent powered by hydroelectricity, one of Switzerland’s largest sources of renewable energy. Besides water and electricity, heat energy is recycled from air compression machines to heat water, solar panels contribute 15 percent to the heating system’s output, and 36 geothermal sensors and heat pumps regulate the building’s internal temperature without using electricity. That saves 65,000 liter of fossil fuel use per year.

In terms of product, we have already mentioned Panerai’s use of eSteel and EcoTitanium, which significantly reduces carbon emissions by not using metal from freshly mined ore. Keen to involve the whole industry in this initiative, Panerai shared the details of the compostion of EcoTitanium and its list of suppliers and partners with other watch companies. It has set a goal for itself to have at least 30 percent of its watches produced using recycled materials by 2025. Its membership in the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) since 2012 and Council-certified code of practices since 2014, is indicative of its commitment to source precious metal through ethical, social and environmentally conscious means.

Its partnership with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) in 2021 has resulted in the Ocean Literacy program, which is part of a larger UN program called the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021 – 2030). Ocean Literacy is a two-year program focused at the grassroots, university level where Panerai seeks to educate students how a luxury brand can be committed to sustainability. This is the talk that accompanies the walk, so to speak, that companies like Panerai can continue to engage in, to empower the public to be active agents of change according to Francesca Santoro, Program Specialist for IOC-UNESCO.

Lastly, Panerai’s “Do It Together” company initiative encourages its own employees to volunteer at their own time toward sustainability projects, and to participate in plastic collection days to clean up the oceans. Panerai also supports The Imibala Trust, a South African NGO whose mission empowers students to approach their scholarship with an international outlook. It will require broad-minded, border-bridging leadership to overcome climate change.

Another huge development this year that is sustainability related, is Panerai’s partnership with Watchfinder & Co., one of the largest resellers of preowned watches, to create a Watch Exchange Program. This is a trade-in program that allows consumers to bring in an existing watch, regardless of brand, to a Panerai boutique (limited to the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, the US and Hong Kong for now) and trade up to a brand new Panerai from any of the four collections. The boutique will provide an initial estimate and if the customer is agreeable, the watch will be sent to Watchfinder’s Panerai-certified service center for a full appraisal and final valuation. After accepting the final valuation, Watchfinder purchases the watch from the customer and the value can be used to offset the purchase price of a new Panerai. The pre-owned watch is then certified to be in optimal working condition, before being resold through Watchfinder’s boutiques and online platform with a 24-month warranty.

Watchfinder will be exhibiting for the first time at Watches and Wonders, alongside Panerai at their booth, and a selection of pre-owned Submersibles will be on display alongside the new releases to showcase the evolution of Panerai in terms of materials development and sustainability.

This partnership is incredible, and we hope more brands will recognize the value in providing a pre-owned service as pre-owned watches are no longer seen as second class. The automotive industry has implemented pre-owned services since the 1990s and the watch industry has some catching up to do. It would maximize the resources needed to produce new watches, but more importantly, provide some form of a regulatory framework for the pre-owned market for a particular brand and could also act as a gateway for a new customer to be introduced to the brand at a lower price point.

What Panerai is doing for 2022 is far from underwhelming and if you’re an individual that is climate conscious (as we all really should be), this company that has always made serious tool watches should be deserving of your attention moving forward into the future.

Tech Specs

Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Stainless Steel and Carbotech

PAM01226 (Bianco)
PAM01226 (Bianco)
PAM01229 (Black dial)
PAM01229 (Black dial)
PAM01232 (Blu Abisso)
PAM01232 (Blu Abisso)

Movement: Self-winding caliber P.900; 3 days of power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, calculation of immersion time from bezel
Case: 44mm; stainless steel (PAM01226 and PAM01229) or Carbotech (PAM01232); water resistant to 300m; uni-directional rotating bezel; Safety Lock crown protection device
Dial: Matte; white (PAM01226); black (PAM01229); dark blue (PAM01232)
Strap: Recycled rubber or fabric from recycled PET; military green rubber (PAM01226); black rubber or dark gray fabric (PAM01229); dark blue rubber (PAM01232)
Price: TBC


Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro eSteel

PAM01287 (Verde Smeraldo)
PAM01287 (Verde Smeraldo)
PAM01288 (Grigio Roccia)
PAM01288 (Grigio Roccia)
PAM01289 (Blu Profondo)
PAM01289 (Blu Profondo)

Movement: Self-winding caliber P.900; 3-day power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, calculation of immersion time from bezel
Case: 44mm; eSteel; water resistant to 300m; uni-directional rotating bezel with polished colored ceramic insert; Safety Lock crown protection device
Dial: Glossy; emerald green (PAM01287); rock gray (PAM01288); deep blue (PAM01289)
Strap: Two straps for each reference made of recycled rubber or fabric from recycled PET; emerald green (PAM01287); rock gray (PAM01288); deep blue (PAM01289)
Price: TBC


Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa

PAM01391
PAM01391

Movement: Self-winding caliber P.900; 3-day power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, calculation of immersion time from bezel
Case: 44mm; stainless steel; water resistant to 300m; uni-directional rotating bezel; Safety Lock crown protection device
Dial: Brushed sunray dark blue
Strap: Black recycled rubber with dark-blue recycled fabric overlay, red stripe with white Luna Rosso logo
Price: TBC

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