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Panerai clock work

Hardness, beauty, and sophistication at the highest level

Even upon close scrutiny one might mistakenly conclude that the case of the Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-TECHTM 3 Days Automatic is made from a special gray titanium. But appearances can be deceiving: the case of Reference PAM00692, water-resistant to 30 bar, is crafted in “bulk metallic glass,” more frequently known by its acronym “BMG.” To appreciate the advantages of this substance, one must first learn a bit about the underlying technology. Simply put, BMG is a special glass-like alloy with an atomic structure that’s amorphous rather than crystalline. A high-pressure injection method at high temperatures brings a mixture of zirconium, copper, aluminum, tita- nium, and nickel into the desired shape. The subsequent cooling process requires only a few seconds, which doesn’t give the atoms enough time to organize themselves into an orderly and regular structure. This intentional “jumble” results in exception- ally useful material properties: extreme resistance to corrosion, great hardness with correspondingly strong scratch-resistance, and equally good resistance to impacts and magnetic fields. The technology needed to fabricate metallic glass with a wall thickness of more than one millimeter was developed only a very few years ago, and subsequent progress has made it possible to manufacture the extra-large body of the 47 mm case in BMG. This same material is also used for the characteristic guard lever for the crown and for the dive-time bezel, which can naturally be rotated in only one direction. Panerai uses two different kinds of Super-LumiNova for the expressive and optimally legible ensemble of hands, dial, and bezel. The manufactory relies on a time-honored device for the watch’s inner workings: automatic Caliber P.9010 displays the date in a window, has an hour hand that can be independently reset forward or backward, and will run for three consecutive days after its mainspring has been fully wound. The balance, performing its oscillations at a brisk pace of four Hertz underneath a bridge borne on both ends, halts automatically and instantaneously when the crown is pulled out to set the hands.


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