Luxury watch brand Panerai has teamed up with Luna Rossa, the Official Challenger of Record in the next America’s Cup, as its Official Sponsor and Official Watch — and to mark the occasion, it has created the accompanying Luna Rossa collection. The exciting quartet of robust and high-performance watches take their design cues from the team’s AC75 ship, and make for the ultimate sailing companions. Let’s take a closer look….
Prepare to set sail
The countdown is on until the 36th America’s Cup yacht race, which will take place from 6-21 March, 2021. It will be contested by the winner of the 2017 America’s Cup, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, represented by the Emirates Team New Zealand, and the Official Challenger of Record, the Luna Rossa sailing team. Though the main event is still some 15 months away, 2020 is fast shaping up to be an exciting year, with three America’s Cup World Series regatta events in the calendar. The first will take place in sun-soaked Cagliari, Sardinia in April.
For those unfamiliar with the world of sailing, the America’s Cup (fondly known as the Auld Mug) is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America’s Cup match races between two sailing yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, is the yacht club that currently holds the America’s Cup, and the other, known as the challenger, is the yacht club that is challenging for the cup. The first America’s Cup was contested in 1851 with a race around the Isle of Wight, making it the oldest international sporting trophy – though today teams race high-speed catamarans rather than schooners.
The timing of each match is determined by an agreement between the defender and the challenger, with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron set to stage the 36th defence of the Cup in March 2021. Its challenger will be the Italian Circolo della Vela Sicilia yacht club, which will be represented by its team, Luna Rossa.
The Panerai Luna Rossa Challenger Submersible Carbotech was the first of the Luna Rossa collection to be announced. It’s cast in the brand’s innovative new material, Carbotech
Panerai announced it was the Official Sponsor and Official Watch of the Luna Rossa sailing team last January, and at the same time it unveiled the Panerai Luna Rossa Challenger Submersible Carbotech. Now the Italian watchmaker has expanded the Luna Rossa collection with three more sailing-ready timepieces that echo the Luna Rossa AC75’s black-and-red colour scheme: the Luminor Luna Rossa Regatta, the Luminor Luna Rossa Chrono Flyback, and the Luminor Luna Rossa GMT.
First up is the Panerai Luna Rossa Challenger Submersible Carbotech (£18,300). This bold 47mm GMT timepiece is cast in Carbotech to mirror the Luna Rossa’s AC75’s carbon-fibre hull. Panerai’s innovative material is not only lighter than steel and titanium but also highly resistant to shocks and corrosion. It’s created by compressing ultra-thin sheets of carbon fibre with a polymer called PEEK (Polyether ether ketone) at a controlled temperature and under high pressure.
Like all watches in the line, its dial incorporates grey sailcloth taken from Luna Rossa sails, while its titanium case back is engraved with the Luna Rossa profile. Inside ticks an automatic movement that powers a date window and GMT function with a three-day power reserve. The watch is water-resistant to 300m and comes on a hardwearing black rubber strap.
Panerai’s Luna Rossa Challenger Regatta is built for the world of sailing thanks to its useful regatta countdown function, displayed at the 10-12 o’clock position
Joining the line-up: the Challenger Regatta
In addition, Panerai has developed three more Luna Rossa timepieces, each as sleek and high-performing as the next. The 47mm Panerai Luna Rossa Challenger Regatta (£20,500) is also cast in futuristic Carbotech to reflect the AC75, with the same dark-grey-sail dial featuring luminous Arabic numerals and hour markers.
The watch is equipped with a flyback chronograph and a regatta countdown function, making it the perfect, practical timepiece for the world of sailing. The regatta countdown is one of the rarest chronograph functions in high-end watchmaking and hugely useful in yacht racing, allowing the wearer to time the countdown stage to the race itself. Put simply, this is achieved by two central hands, which are controlled by the pushbutton at 4 o’clock and which go back one minute at a time with each click until the desired position is reached. At this point, the wearer presses the pushbutton at 10 o’clock to activate the chronograph function, and the five-minute countdown period is marked on the dial at the 10-12 o’clock position. The watch comes on a handsome calf leather strap with contrasting white stitching.
Like all models in the Panerai Luna Rossa collection, this Challenger Flyback model takes its design cues from the sailing team’s AC75 boat, which has a black-and-red colour scheme
Also in the mix: the Challenger Flyback and Challenger GMT
For slightly smaller wrists, there’s also the Panerai Luna Rossa Challenger Flyback (£15,300), a 44mm timepiece cast in sleek black ceramic. It’s powered by the automatic P.9100 calibre, which gives it a flyback chronograph function and a robust three-day power reserve. Water-resistant to 100m, it comes on an elegant black leather strap.
The Luna Rossa Challenger GMT features a useful second time zone function, and is made from supremely light titanium DLC
Last but not least, we also love the Panerai Luna Rossa Challenger GMT (£9,600), another 44mm model but here made from lightweight titanium DLC. Its useful GMT function means the wearer can easily set the watch to Auckland’s time zone during the New Zealand regattas.
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