Join Italy's Special Forces with Panerai

Two new watches as tough as the troops that inspired them.
IMAGE PANERAI

Apple has done a good job of putting dive watches in the news recently.

'Its new Apple Watch Ultra—a rugged XXL model aimed at taking a bite out of the Garmin outdoor sports market—also happens to be a full-on dive computer. It comes equipped with a multitude of dive functions including calculations of bottom time, monitoring of ascent time, and a reworked com,' pass app. Certified to the international standard for diving accessories, it is also available with the option of a wetsuit-ready strap, called an Ocean Band—lest you'd missed the memo.

"Looks tough. Because it is," says Apple's website.

Well, to a point.

Because now along comes Panerai to remind you just how tough a dive watch can be. Panerai has a head-start on Apple by almost 90 years. Its reputation as the don of serious, hefty dive watches rests on its early association with the Italian Navy. Worn exclusively by the Italian frogman force 'Gamma' and for a long time subject to military secrecy, the first Panerai Radiomir was designed to withstand "the toughest of the tough."

The alliance continues to this day, with the company producing watches for, and inspired by, Forze Speciali—Italy's special forces—whose primary missions include raids on aeronautical compounds and combat search-and-rescue.

"Creating instruments to serve as modern heroes, leaders whose adrenaline-fuelled exploits awaken the imagination is the fundamental reason Panerai exists," according to the brand.

To that end, it has announced two new models—the Panerai Submersible Forze Speciali Experience Edition and the Submersible Forze Speciali.

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Photo by PANERAI.

These are not watches for the faint of heart, or the skinny of wrist. Both feature 47mm cases in DLC-coated titanium and unidirectional rotating ceramic bezels. The indexes on the dials are filled with solid SuperLuminova to give maximum glow in marine darkness. And the two sub-dials, a small seconds at 3 o'clock and a chronograph at 9 o'clock, are in "a bull's eye formation reminiscent of a marksman's target." You get the idea.

The chronograph has a flyback function, meaning it can be reset and restarted with a press of the pusher at 8 o'clock. There's also a 'Time To Target' countdown so you can see the time elapse to a designated rendezvous. Both watches are waterproof to 300 meters.

Photo by PANERAI.
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The camo-styled Submersible Forze Speciali Experience Edition comes in a limited run of 50 and the promise of a 'money can't buy' experience. Each comes with an invitation to join Italian Special Forces troops in a series of exercises, with an emphasis on putting the watch through its paces.

The Forze Speciali is not quite as limited—300 will be released each year, starting with 2022. The blue stylings of the case and strap are matched by a caseback engaging of a Marina Militare frogman, a callback to where it all began.

Perhaps comparing Apple with Panerai is like comparing apples with oranges.

But we know who'd win in a fight.

FromEsquire UK

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