Panerai has just revealed its new Ferrari California (ref. FER00030) flyback chronograph that celebrates the recent introduction of the new red-hot Ferrari California sports cabriolet. While I personally don’t approve of this sort of “co-branding” (in my opinion, it sort of “lowers” both companies,) the new chronograph may become a collector’s item somewhere in the future thanks to its relatively low production run and an unusual styling of the dial.
As you can see on the photos, the watch retains the usual layout but features a sportier styling to better match the look and feel of Ferrari luxury sportscars. It comes wrapped in a 45-millimeter stainless steel case with the signature cushion-shaped profile and has its brushed surfaces contrasting nicely with polished elements on the lugs and case corners. The design not only makes the case look more three-dimensional but also provides the traditional brutal design with a more refined overall appearance. Still, measuring almost 17 millimeters from top to bottom, the watch will probably not look great if worn with formal attire.
Inside its stainless-steel case, the California Chronograph -somewhat disappointingly- features nothing more exciting than the OP Caliber XIX self-winding movement.
Based on the good old ETA Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement, the Caliber XIX beats at a standard frequency of 28,800 vph.
The Swiss-made movement, which is officially certified as a chronometer by COSC (Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres,) also offers a coulisse-lever switcher for its chronograph mechanism, which simplifies the watch and makes it cheaper to manufacture, but also makes it slightly inferior to classic chronographs that sported column-wheel design. Well, it will probably be a bit more reliable, too.
All that said, the minimum recommended street price of $16,500 that Panerai would like its partners to charge for this watch still look ludicrous, but the Italian brand has always been known for its tendency to overprice its timekeepers. It probably has to do both with the brand’s high market value and the fact that there are not so many luxury timekeepers that sport such an easily recognizable design. Indeed, vanity is just another kind of tax.
Its three-dimensional dial with black and red color theme features the “Ferrari” and “California” insignias (I guess, those add about $5000 to the grand total) and a pair of sub-dials on 3 and 9 o’clock.
The one at 9 o’clock features a subsidiary seconds hand, while the 30-minute chronograph counter stays at 3 hours working as a sort of visual counter-balance. As always for the 7750 family, the chronograph seconds hand runs co-axially with the hour and minutes hands, also working as a tachymeter indicator.
While most modern chronographs have their tachymeter scales printed right on the bezel, this one is printed on the bezel flange, under the thick sapphire crystal.
The famous “Prancing Horse” logo you can see on the winding crown is complemented with the same emblem engraved on the movement’s rotor.
Panerai will limit the special edition’s production to just 400 units.
Officine Panerai Ferrari California Flyback Chronograph (ref. FER00030) specification
Price range: $12,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, OP Caliber XIX, based on ETA Valjoux 7750, COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, tachymeter
Complications: Flyback chronograph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Diameter: 45.00 mm
Case height: 16.80 mm
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather with contrasting stitching and a brushed-steel buckle. A spare rubber strap is included
Crystal: Convex sapphire crystal with antireflective coating
Back: Solid steel with carbon inlay, engraved with Ferrari logo