Panerai’s First Chronograph Reinterpreted
The Mare Nostrum Chronograph, one of the rarest models created by Panerai, is now available again as a special edition, reproducing the version created in 1993.
The Mare Nostrum Was The First chronograph in the history of Officine Panerai. Its origins are somewhat mysterious: according to respected historians, the first prototypes appeared in 1943 and were intended for deck officers of the Royal Italian Navy, but they never went into production. One of these prototypes was discovered and acquired for the collection of the Panerai Museum a few years ago, enabling the appearance and functions of this model with its unique characteristics to be reconstructed accurately at last. Until then, the Mare Nostrum had been known only through the limited documentation which survived the flood in Florence in 1966, and it was based on this documentation that Panerai made a first re-edition of the chronograph in 1993, the date of the first collection of Panerai watches made for civilian use and the start of the period known to enthusiasts as pre-Vendôme (1993-1997).
The 1993 model, which inspired the new Mare Nostrum Acciaio — 42mm, had the same design and functions as its predecessor, but it also had some differences, resulting from the desire to make the watch more portable, and also because of the lack of information available about the 1943 prototype. The dial of the new Mare Nostrum Acciaio — 42mm is a sophisticated deep blue, like the 1993 model, and it coordinates perfectly with the alligator strap, with matching stitching and a sewn-on steel buckle. The chronograph minute counter is at 9 o’clock while the small seconds dial is at 3 o’clock, and the chronograph seconds hand is centrally mounted. The engraving on the dial and the markers coated with beige Super-LumiNova ensure excellent legibility.
The new watch is powered by a hand-wound mechanical movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. The box of this Special Edition of 1,000 units also contains a small model of the Luigi Durand De La Penne, the destroyer of the Italian Navy launched in 1993. It was named in honour of Admiral Durand De La Penne, who in 1941 had taken part in the celebrated attacks in the port of Alexandria in Egypt, for which he and other commandos equipped with Panerai instruments were awarded the Gold Medal for Valour. It was on the destroyer Luigi Durand De La Penne that the Mare Nostrum of 1993 was presented for the first time, on September 10 of that year.