There are dive watches… and then there are dive watches—the kind that have been given the stamp of approval from the Italian navy and titans of industry alike.
We’re talking, of course, about the legendary Italian timepieces from Panerai that trace their roots back to 1860s Florence (when the designs were shrouded in military secrecy and tested on top-secret underwater missions).
Luckily, they’re not just tactical timepieces, they’re seriously handsome works of horological art—especially the black Radiomir 8 Days Ceramica, which has all of the telltale signs of Panerai’s rugged Italian-ness and Swiss precision, down to their signature case shape and Panerai P.2002 movement (produced exclusively in-house).
Just in time for your next semiformal scuba trip.
If you’ve been paying close attention to the wrists of menswear lately, you’ll have noticed a lot of metal-strapped diving watches peeking from under well-appointed cuffs. It’s a good look, the rugged juxtaposed with the elegant (à la Agnelli’s Italian hiking boots and bespoke suit). But nowadays the Submariner has become so ubiquitous, it’s almost as if there aren’t other wearable watches out there—which couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Our two cents: it’s time to move on and start looking for a new, dressier watch. And as luck would have it, we’ve got a few suggestions…
We’ve always approved of the watch as an accessory for the simple reason that a gentleman should always know what time it is. But a sense of direction can also come in handy…
The original model of this wrist-compass was made by the legendary watchmakers at Panerai in the 50s, but they released 300 more a few years back so you’ll be able to get one if you’ve got time to dig and a few thousand dollars handy. It’s a handsome gadget, and uniquely suited to the cell phone era now that there are clocks in every pocket.
This model in particular isn’t too likely to catch on—even disregarding the price, there are only 300 of them—but the concept might have a fighting chance. After all, formal dressers will still need something to match to their belt, and if it helps them find the sunset a little faster, all the better.
High-end watches are a tough subculture to track, mostly because the good ones tend to be so rare as to require a trip to Italy. But if it’s just a trip to midtown Manhattan…
Panerai just opened up a Madison Avenue branch and, recession aside, their timing couldn’t be better. A Ferrari collaboration (available in store) and two years of high demand and low supply have transformed them into one of the most sought-after brands in the watch world.
Of course, for a product that prides itself on perfect efficiency, they wouldn’t skimp on a little in-store design…
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