Chiming bells onboard a ship signify the times to wake, eat, assemble, tell time and to indicate a ship’s location in fog. Officine Panerai has now strengthened its ties to the ocean by bringing this seafaring tradition to its Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon GMT. Simplicity and innovation in the new hand-wound P.2005/MR movement results in a distinctive technology in which a slim skeleton calibre is fitted with a minute repeater mechanism.
Deviating from the traditional repeater's two hammers, the Radiomir has three hammers to enable the carillon to play a melody like a bell. What remains the same are the first gong, which plays the lowest tone to signify the hour, and the third, which plays the highest tone to indicate minutes. Meanwhile, the second hammer chimes three times to show 10 minutes instead of 15.
Two separate parts made from 18ct red gold are soldered to form the 49mm case, enabling and optimising empty spaces to enhance sound quality. Hand-worked by master watchmakers, each watch's sound, although similar, still resonates with a unique character. A percentage of platinum in the metal also gives resistance to corrosion.
The chimes are activated by a push-piece placed at the eighth hour when the winding crown is rotated slightly. A black indicator on the crown's side shows the rotational degree required, so when the indicator can be seen, the carillon cannot be heard. The crown's push-piece also serves to select the local or a second time zone—the whole system is simply called a double hour and minute repeater mechanism.
Another innovation in the Radiomir is the patented tourbillion, in which the cage rotates on a perpendicular axis to the balance, as opposed to the traditional model where it rotates parallel by itself. The rotation itself is once every 30 seconds instead of one minute ensuring accurate precision in showing hours and minutes that can be seen even in the dark, because the bar markers and figures are coated in Super-LumiNova—a phosphorescent pigment. The watch also comes with a power reserve of 96 hours.
As the watch is a special edition made to order, personalising straps or materials for the case is entirely possible. Visit their website for more information.