Mare Nostrum, the first chronograph in the history of Officine Panerai makes a comeback. HOT unravels the enigma of a much-loved timepiece.
The Mare Nostrum is a watch that leads us into the annals of time. Yes, its true that it was the first chronograph in the history of Officine Panerai. But, more than that, there was something mysterious about the origins which somehow lends the watch a little bit of enigma.
The story goes that 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 just a few years ago, enabling the appearance and functions of this model with its unique characteristics to be reconstructed accurately at last.
Despite this, the watch was known. However, the Mare Nostrum had been known only through the limited documentation which survived the flood in Florence in 1966, and it was on the basis of 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 new Mare Nostrum Acciaio – 42mm
This is inspired by the 1993 model, but also incorporates the new information about the original watch. 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 engraving on the dial and the markers coated with beige Super-LumiNova ensure excellent legibility and follow the Panerai aesthetic completely.
It uses the same movement as the pre-Vendôme model: the OP XXXIII calibre, created and personalised by Panerai on the ETA 2801-2 base with a Dubois-Dépraz chronograph module. With a diameter of 13 1⁄4 lignes, the hand-wound calibre has a power reserve of 42 hours and is C.O.S.C. certified.
A collector’s delight
Well, it’s a special edition of 1000 units only and this makes it quite alluring! But, the box of the watch has another surprise: Inside the watch’s elegant wooden box is a little 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 10 September of that year.
The Mare Nostrum seems to bring the promise of reliving history!