Gisbert L. Brunner has been reporting on watches since 1981
There are tough-guy watches and there’s a Panerai. In 1936, the watchmaker created the Radiomir for the Italian navy’s frogmen, using tech from the first true waterproof wristwatch: the Rolex Oyster with screw- locked crown. Over time, Panerai’s military timepieces grew in appeal among civilians and celebrities.
After Sylvester Stallone’s Luminor survived the rigors of his 1996 film Daylight, he gave friends autographed editions. One such recipient was Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wore it in his movie Eraser, ensuring its hard-man pedigree.
Epic is a word too often overused, but it’s perfectly justified when describing explorer Mike Horn. Arguably the most traveled man alive, Horn has solo-circumnavigated the equator without powered transport, trekked to the North Pole in perpetual winter darkness without dogs or motors, traveled the length of the Amazon by riverboard and lost fingertips to frostbite.
But his most epic feat began last May: a two-year solo circumnavigation of the globe via both poles. This watch, built specially by Panerai for Horn’s voyage, has a 47 mm titanium case, is water-resistant to 300m and houses a twin-barrel movement with a three-day power reserve. The run has been limited to 500 pieces; it’s unlikely the other 499 will endure quite the same thrashing.