Leading up to Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023, predictions are flying every which way. We’re hearing plenty about Rolex, Tudor, and Omega: 2023 is an anniversary year for multiple Rolex models; Tudor and Omega are following their extremely popular 2022 releases (the Pelagos 39 and the Moonswatch). Panerai is a brand that deserves more attention. Not only do they have iconic designs with rich history, they’ve recently welcomed vast experimentation. Within the past few years, Panerai introduced an in-house perpetual calendar, a 95%-recycled steel alloy (eSteel), a tourbillon/equation of time/GMT/moonphase watch (L'Astronomo), and perhaps most surprisingly for the brand, multiple offerings at or below 40mm. Last year, Panerai debuted the Luminor QuarantaQuattro (44mm) lineup. This year, I predict that Panerai will go smaller. The 40mm Luminor Quaranta has some serious untapped potential. Could we see a Quaranta revamp at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023?
Panerai's Battle for Small Wrists: Due vs. Quaranta
Image Source: hodinkee.com
In 2016, Panerai introduced the Luminor Due collection: a thin, dressed-up adaptation of their iconic Luminor silhouette. The Luminor Due is offered in 38mm (pictured above) and 42mm, both around 11mm thick. In achieving these modest dimensions, the Luminor Due sacrifices water resistance with a depth rating of just 30 meters. These characteristics – small size and low water resistance – are significant departures from Panerai’s comfort zone: large (42mm - 47mm) dive watches. While the 38mm Luminor Due introduced Panerai to a whole new demographic, it created a desire for a smaller Luminor with ample water resistance. A few years later, Panerai quietly released the watch we’ve all been waiting for: the beautifully-proportioned 40mm Luminor Quaranta with 100 meters of water resistance.
The Quaranta isn’t Panerai’s first 40mm Luminor. That honor goes to the PAM00048, originally released in 1999. While the PAM00048 has the 'Goldilocks' 40mm diameter, it's nearly 16mm thick. The Quaranta solves this issue with its slim P.900 caliber, giving the watch a thickness of just 12.45mm. This is the Panerai people have been asking for. For whatever reason, its initial release went somewhat under the radar. Because of this, I predict that the Luminor Quaranta lineup will get a significant update, perhaps this year at Watches and Wonders. With the exception of the special edition Razer Quaranta (constructed of black DLC-coated eSteel), this watch is only offered in four configurations: all 316L stainless steel on alligator leather.
2023 Panerai Predictions
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Last year at Watches and Wonders, Panerai debuted the Submersible QuarantaQuattro with seven configurations: three made of eSteel and one made of Panerai’s ultra-light carbon fiber composite (Carbotech). I expect to see a similarly designed revamp for the Quaranta, bringing some material diversity to the lineup. I predict that we will see multiple eSteel Quarantas, likely with new dial configurations. eSteel is sustainable with no real downside; it feels like a no-brainer for every Panerai model. I also expect to see a Quaranta in Carbotech. Carbotech (pictured below) is strong, corrosion-resistant, and lighter than ceramic. Since this material is already in the Luminor lineup, the Quaranta feels like a natural progression. Given the Quaranta's water resistance and dive watch DNA, I hope to see these new offerings on rubber and/or polyester straps.
Image Source: ablogtowatch.com
Down the line, we might see a Luminor Quaranta in rose gold (Goldtech) or even bronze. While I don’t anticipate a bronze offering this year, I believe it would bring some serious attention to the Quaranta lineup, particularly from collectors or enthusiasts who may have missed the watch's initial release. The Luminor Quaranta is uniquely positioned in Panerai's collection. It hits the wearable, capable, good-looking sweet spot that enthusiasts have been asking for. A revamped lineup is the perfect way to put the market on notice. Only time will tell what Panerai releases this year, but whatever it is, I’ll be at Watches and Wonders to cover it here on the Everest Journal.