Panerai Submersible Mike Horn

Interview with Panerai Ambassador Mike Horn

and a look at his special edition PAM985 Submersible
Gerard Nijenbrinks
April 22, 2019
MIN READ
Interview with Panerai Ambassador Mike Horn

This year Panerai surprised us with 3 limited editions. That might sound a bit silly, and indeed it wasn’t thát Panerai presented limited editions, however, hów they will be offered which surprised us.

2019 was chosen by Panerai to be the year of new Submersibles. Except for new 42 mm and 47 mm models in the more or less regular collection, new models in the BMG-Tech, Carbotech, and Chronograph lines were introduced as well. And, as expected, within these different model lines 3 special limited edition models are presented and offered in a very special package.

Three Panerai Submersible 47 mm Special Editions

…special about these limited editions is how they are offered

The three special editions are linked to two Panerai ambassadors and to Panerai’s history by means of the Italian Navy, or Marina Militare. Concerned models are the Submersible Chrono Guillaume Néry Edition (PAM983, 15 pieces), the Submersible Mike Horn Edition (PAM985, 19 pieces), and the Submersible Marina Militare Cartbotech (PAM961, 33 pieces). All in the 47 mm size.

Specifically special about these limited editions is how they are offered. People who acquire one of these special edition watches will have the opportunity of enjoying a unique experience. Freediving with Guillaume Néry in the ocean depths of French Polynesia, learning about nature and how to safeguard it in the company of the legendary Mike Horn, or a training session with Comsubin the diving and commando group of the Italian Navy.

During SIHH 2019 we talked with Mike Horn to learn about his cooperation with Panerai, and about his efforts to save our planet. And of course, he showed us his own Special Edition Panerai Submersible.

Who is Mike Horn?

Panerai Submersible Mike Horn

Although I think Mike Horn doesn’t need much introduction, for those not in the know I’ll give some information about the man anyhow. Mike Horn is globally acknowledged as the world’s greatest modern-day explorer. His motto “the impossible only exists until we find a way to make it possible” describes him best. From swimming the Amazon River solo and unsupported by motorized vehicles circumnavigation of the globe at the equator, Mike’s list of accomplishments as a solo explorer is unparalleled.

Currently living in Switzerland, Mike Horn was born in 1966 in Johannesburg, South Africa. That’s where he studied Human Movement Science and thereafter joined the South African Special Forces as well. Mike dreamt of exploring ever since he was 15 years old. His first serious expedition was in 1997, following the entire length of the Amazon river, from its source at Mount Mismi in Peru to the mouth of the river in Macapa, Brazil.

Mike has been a Panerai ambassador for more than 15 years and Panerai has shared in the excitement of Mike’s last four expeditions – Arktos, the North Pole Winter Expedition, Pangaea and Pole2Pole – supporting his incredible challenges and creating for him a series of watches in limited editions. The current Submersible Mike Horn edition being the latest. I would encourage you to visit www.mikehorn.com to learn more about Mike’s expeditions.

Panerai Submersible Mike Horn

age gives certain insurance

Our chat with Mike Horn

Our chat with Mike Horn was loose and informal. We had no lead questions to follow, everything was possible. Below are a few interesting, often important, and funny parts of our conversation. Without further ado, Mike started off with the following statement.

Mike Horn (MH): The big thing is, with the concept of extremes, that you always find the next extreme. And for an explorer living in these extremes, it’s a never-ending story. Until it ends.

Question (Q): Haha, in any way it’s going to end somewhere. So, are you adapting your explorations to your age?

MH: The advantage I have is that I lived through the years that generally kills people. That gives me the advantage to have a little more knowledge and background to apply quicker, and save certain situations. It’s true that today I’m doing stuff which I wouldn’t have done when I was younger. Because of practice, age gives certain insurance. It’s the experience you gained. I dreamt about crossing Antartica ever since I was 15. Only now, while I’m 52 years old, it’s possible.

Q: Exploration nowadays has a different communication value, isn’t it?

MH: I managed to use exploration as a platform to create a following, to communicate sustainability and conservation. The meaning of exploration changed rapidly in the last 25 years. We planted 6 million trees in the Amazon, we trained over 200 environmental ambassadors, we have 14 environmental active projects in the world. And that’s all because I used the hook of exploration to show people the beauty of the world. And now people want to conserve it.

Q: Shouldn’t people like you be in politics?

MH: I just think it’s not in politics where we can make the difference. It’s in being with the people where we can make the difference. Because we must make the difference. It’s not a political decision. What we can change is the way we consume, what we can change is the way we live, what we can change is the choices of what we buy. That’s not politics, that’s óur responsibility towards the planet. What politics can change is if they’re gonna allow that plastic bags come in. But we can decide not to use them. Politics is a way to verbally change something, but we have the power to physically change something.

Panerai Submersible Mike Horn

for one month I was walking and advanced only 2 kilometers

Q: But do you think you can go into an advisory board or something?

MH: Well I was with Nespresso a lot with the sustainability program on the capsules, on the eco program on what sustainability should look like. I don’t feel the most comfortable in a board room, I feel the most comfortable applying the knowledge that the scientists have come up with, to be able to make the world a better place. I have the engaging energy to say let’s go and do this together and people will follow me. Because they say this guy climbs K2 without oxygen and no rope, I can trust him.

Q: So far that was very much about what you achieved so far, but we all want to know what your next point is in your journey!

MH: You know, the North Pole to me has become a sensitive issue. First of all of course because of global warming and the ice to be melting, and secondly because I never crossed the North Pole. The ice of the North Pole is continuously moving. In 2006 when I left Russia, for one month I was walking, and I actually stayed in one spot. I actually advanced 2 kilometers. Imagine I had stayed in my tent I would have lost 500 kilometers.

Panerai Submersible Mike Horn

the young lion walks around and shows he has big balls

Q: What was your most extreme experience with a Panerai watch?

MH: The Panerai I used on K2 as a wedge in between two rocks. Normally we have pitons which we put in a crack of a rock and we can use to abseil. I had no more pitons to put in a crack so I put the watch inside and turned the watch. The watch was at the bottom of the crack and can’t get out. Then I put a rope around the watch and the watch became my anchor. And I hoped the watch was strong enough to carry my weight of 82 kilograms. And it’s still there, the watch is still there. It’s the only Panerai I never gave back to them. I know where it is, I just left it there for you, if you want it, go and get it.

Q: Is there like a secret club of modern-day explorers that get together every once in a while? How do you guys keep in contact, is there something like a brotherhood?

MH: There’s more than a brotherhood, there’s respect. It’s a little bit like the animal kingdom where the young lion walks around and shows he has big balls, but actually, all the older lions have bigger balls but don’t show it anymore. So there’s a hierarchy, a hierarchy of respect.

Q: What will happen to the people who buy one of the now introduced 19 Panerai Submersible Mike Horn Special Edition watches?

MH: What is going to happen with these 19 watches that are going to be made is that… I want to create the emotion behind the watch. I want each of these watches, which will carry my name, to write history. I’ve such emotions when I put my own North Pole watch on. Not because it wasn’t given to me, but because I deserved it. And that changes the value of things to me. So when Panerai came to me and said we’re gonna make another limited edition watch, I said I want people to deserve that watch. So, the moment you buy it, you buy the experience. You don’t buy the watch. The watch is the means by which you have the possibility to tell your story. We will make a training program which enables them to get the watch. The watch, I will hide it somewhere along the route and I will give them the place where they can find the watch. The moment you find that watch in the permafrost on the top of a mountain, you’re gonna have a different connection to that watch.

Panerai Submersible Mike Horn

About the watch itself

During and after the interview I was happy to have a look at a prototype of the Panerai Submersible Mike Horn Special Edition and even could try it on. Interesting in this watch is the use of Eco-titanium for the case and the use of a special material, obtained from recycled PET, for the strap.

For the less fortunate amongst us, luckily the Panerai Submersible Mike Horn will be available in a non-limited (PAM984) edition as well. Except for the exceptional experience, the 19 examples of the limited edition of the Panerai Submersible Mike Horn Edition will be distinguished from the non-limited models by a blue strap made of a special material obtained from recycled PET, and blue luminous material used on the dial and the rotating bezel.

Panerai Submersible Mike Horn

Technical specifications on the watch can be found in the form below. More information on Panerai, in general, is available through their website www.panerai.com.

Watch specifications

Model
Submersible Mike Horn Edition
Reference
PAM985 (PAM984 non-limited version)
Case Material
Brushed Eco-Titanium™
Case Dimensions
Diameter 47 mm
Crystal
Sapphire
Case Back
Screw, brushed Eco-Titanium™, engraved
Movement
Automatic, caliber P.9010, 28.800/h, power reserve 3 days
Water Resistance
30 bar (~300 meters)
Strap
Blue recycled plastic (black for the non-limited version)
Functions
Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
Price
€ 39.900,= (€ 19.900,= non-limited version) including tax
Special Note(s)
Limited edition of only 19 pieces, including an exclusive experience of training with Mike Horn among the ice floes of the Arctic. There's a non-limited regular version (without the experience) of the watch available as well.
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Gerard Nijenbrinks
About the author

Gerard Nijenbrinks

Gerard has been in the watch industry for over two decades now. He owned a watch shop in The Hague, The Netherlands, and besides that he has journalistic and photographic activities in the field of watches. Collecting watches since he... read more

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