The Panerai Pre-Vendome Watches

in Learn | Monday, June 30. 2008

Panerai got its start in 1860 when Giovanni Panerai began producing precision instruments for use by the Italian Navy in Florence, Italy. But it wasn't until 1993 that Officine Panerai created a series of limited edition models aimed at the civilian market. It is these watches that are often referred to as the Pre-Vendome models. Pre-Vendome refers to the "re-birth period" between 1993 and 1997 before the Vendome company acquired Panerai. The watches produced during these years were numbered limited editions and have quickly become very collectible and hard to find. Prices for these rare watches have been skyrocketing as Panerai collectors try to get their hands on the rare pieces.

The rebirth brought the Luminor, Luminor Marina and the Mare Nostrum chronograph. The Luminor and the Luminor Marina had manual wind movements and 44mm cases made in steel or pvd steel. All the pre-Vendome models came on straps with large bottle opener buckles, with the Mare Nostrum buckles being slighlty smaller than the full-sized ones. Most of the Pre-Vendome watches came in an oak box which is quite different than the boxes used today. The exception being the Slytech watches which came in a very large box. The Slytech was named for the actor Sylvester "Sly" Stallone, a huge fan of the line. These limited edition watches have Stallone's signature engraved on the back and he has worn them in various movies. Inside the boxes were additional straps and papers, including a hand drawn blue-print for each watch.

The Panerai Pre-Vendome Reference numbers are 5218-201/A; 5218-202/A; 5218-203/A; 5218-205/A; 5218-207/A; 5218-209; 5218-210; 5218-301/A; 5218-302; 5218-304; and 5218-218..

The New Cartier Ballon Bleu Tourbillon

in Cartier | Sunday, June 22. 2008

Cartier Ballon Bleu Tourbillon One of the most intriguing watches created by Cartier thus far is the new Ballon Bleu Tourbillon. The Ballon Bleu Tourbillon is Cartier's first that incorporates the brand's new 9452MC tourbillon movement, which bears the Geneva Seal hallmark. The 9452MC movement is mechanical with manual winding, it is comprised of 142 hand-finished parts and 19 jewels and has a power reserve is 50 hours.

The Cartier Ballon Bleu gets its name from the sapphire cabochon crown which is incorporated into its rounded case and this version is no exception. It is crafted from 18K pink gold, and it measures 46mm across which makes it larger than even the Grand Modele Ballon Bleu which is only 42mm in diameter. The watch also features sapphire crystal on the face as well as the transparent case-back of the watch. The dial has a three-dimensional guilloche silvered look with sun-ray open-worked grid. The watch has Roman numeral markers and sword-shaped, blued-steel hands. The tourbillon carriage is positioned in an untraditional way so that appears to float freely above the dial adding to the already impressive design..

Lange Cabaret TourbillonWith the new A. Lange & Sohne Cabaret Tourbillon comes a groundbreaking development 200 years in the making. The tourbillon was originally invented for improved accuracy but it also created a new problem, it could not be stopped. So while it provided extreme accuracy it could not be set precisely to the second. Finally Lange has solved this problem with the invention of the world's first stop seconds mechanism for a tourbillon. The mechanism for this is activated when the crown is pulled.

A. Lange & Sohne Cabaret TourbillonThe Cabaret was first introduced by Lange in 1997, and may be best known for its unique rectangular shaped case and oversized date. The Cabaret Tourbillon's case is 29.5 x 39.2 x 10.25mm and is made in platinum or pink gold and has sapphire crystal caseback. The dial is solid silver with rhodiumed gold or pink gold hands and has hours, minutes, small seconds, large date and a power-reserve indicator(up to 120 hours) as well as the one-minute tourbillon with patented stop seconds. The movement is a calibre L042.1 which consists of 373 parts, 84 of which are the tourbillon. The watch is on a crocodile strap with Lange deployant buckle in solid platinum or pink gold.

A Brief History of the Ferrari Panerai

in Learn | Wednesday, June 4. 2008

From 1994 and 2004 it was Girard-Perregaux that was partnered with Ferrari in a co-branding agreement. When the contract expired Panerai struck a deal with Ferrari to produce its own line of co-branded watches. Both being Italian companies, the relationship seems destined. The new Ferrari watches were introduced at the Ferrari test track in Maranello Italy, and became available inthe United States in August of 2006. Today there are 23 models divided into two collections, Granturismo and Scuderia as well as Special Editions. The Ferrari collection have design aspects that reflect the design of the cars, such as the prancing horse and the Ferrari logo.

Panerai FER00001The Grantourismo line is the more elegant of the two designs styles. The FER00001 has the Panerai OP III calibre movement which has an oscillating weight engraved with the Prancing Horse. The case is made from polished steel with brushed edges, it has a winding crown with the Ferrari logo. The black dial black has a square-grid decoration and features the Ferrari logo and Prancing Horse at 12 o’clock. The black alligator strap has white stitching, while the inside of the strap is in red alligator with red sewing.

Panerai FER00002The Scuderia line is the more sporty of the two. The FER00002 also has the Panerai OP III calibre movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. The case is in polished steel with brushed edges, and has a winding crown with the Ferrari logo. The case-back is also in steel, and has an engraving of the Prancing Horse. It is on a black calf strap with the inside in yellow alligator with yellow sewing. The buckle has been personalised and is adjustable. Each watch has a steel screwdriver and a second interchangeable strap in rubber with the inscription Ferrari.

Since a long term contract has been signed between Ferrari and Panerai there will surely be many years of exceptional watches produced in the Panerai Ferrari line.

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