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Best Dive Watch: Panerai Submersible Chrono Guillaume Néry Edition

Panerai unveils for SIHH 2019 a new professional Submersible watch that can face any challenge, above and under sea level. Strong, daring and exceptionally durable, this new Chronograph inspired by Guillaume Néry, the French free diving champion worldwide famous for his records and his amazing underwater images.

I’m not normally a fan of dive watches, they have become so ubiquitous and the use of the large coloured bezel (normally in red and blue) whilst necessary for its primary function, mean they look like every other dive watch, or worse a Rolex knockoff.

So it is rare that a dive watch comes along that manages to stand out design wise and look different enough to be interesting, but Panerai seem to have managed it with this impressive watch. The blue ceramic bezel shade is subtle and distinguished with well finished markings. The patented crown protection lever guard gives the watch a satisfying engineered feel, also helped by the use of light titanium alloy for the case.

The dial is a textured shark grey reminiscent of the fearsome predators skin and the chronograph functions are kept minimal with only two inner dials rather than the usual three. The contrast between the blue and white hands imparts clean, easy readability, and the chronograph function buttons are placed on the right side for a stronger thumb control.

The back carries Néry’s signature and of course the watch will accompany you on a dive to 300m.  Guillaume Néry is the French free diving champion, specialised in constant weight, which is the queen of all free diving disciplines (you dive by swimming with fins, no sled). He broke the free diving world record four times and won the world champion title twice. In 2015, he stopped competing after accidentally making the deepest free dive in history to -139m, following a mistake from the organisers, while trying to break his fifth world record to -129m.

Most of all I love the size, it’s 47mm wide, which is huge, but it is made to go over a wetsuit and even without, such a magnificent piece of engineering should be noticeable, not flash, just large enough so that you feel its presence constantly. Though it’s not heavy as the titanium keeps the weight down. But you know it’s there.

It’s powered by an in house P.9100 automatic movement with a three day power reserve. This will no doubt be a collectors piece though it’s not a limited edition, for that I’m glad as I may actually be able to get hold of one.

Technical Details

Water-resistance:
30 bar (~300 metres)

Movement:
Automatic mechanical, P.9100 calibre, executed entirely by Panerai,
13¾ lignes, 8.15 mm thick, 37 jewels, Glucydur® balance, 28,800 alternations/hour. Incabloc® anti-shock device.

Power reserve 3 days, two barrels. 302 components.

Functions: 
Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph flyback, seconds reset

Dial: 
Shark grey with luminous hour markers and dots. Chronograph hour counter at 3 o'clock,
small seconds at 9 o'clock and central chronograph seconds and minute hands

Case: 
Diameter 47mm, brushed titanium

Bezel:
Titanium with blue ceramic anti-clockwise rotating bezel with graduated scale

Back:
Titanium

Device protecting the crown: 
(Protected as a trademark) Brushed Titanium

Crystal:
Sapphire crystal formed of corundum

Strap: 
Caoutchouc Accordeon Dark blue

Buckle:
Trapezoidal Brushed Titanium

Price: €18,900