Hands-On Panerai Luminor Tourbillon GMT PAM00768 Watch Review
First things first. This Panerai Luminor Tourbillon GMT PAM00768 is not a new watch. The “Lo Scienzato” (the scientist) collection has existed since 2010. It pays tribute to the Tuscan genius Galileo Galilei.
In 2019, Panerai introduced this Luminor Tourbillon GMT PAM00768. It is a bold watch, with its 47mm case diameter and skeletonized dial and tourbillon complication. Most of the time, I am not particularly interested in reviewing watches that are priced out of the ballpark. I like to review what is on my own horizon or radar, and what I can feasibly afford. A €145,000, watch is definitely not within my budget for watches. But, sometimes, when a watch is very special or has a certain complication I find interesting, I find myself saying yes to a brand offering it on loan, and very much enjoy feeling like a king for a few days.
Panerai Luminor Tourbillon GMT PAM00768
But what makes it a €145,000, watch? Cynical answers to that question can go into the comments section, of course. The official answer lies in the technical development of this watch. The 47mm case is made of titanium, which is not very special as such, but it has been produced using 3D printing technology. Panerai refers to it as DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering), where basically the case comes to life layer by layer.
The case starts life as Titanium powder. During the 3D printing process, this turns into this solid material by fiber-optic laser sintering. What is interesting, is that 3D printing is (often) used to create shapes that can’t be done using traditional machining. Using DMLS ensures that the weight is reduced to only 18 grams for the case middle. That lightweight is possible because the case is hollow. This is done without affecting the strength of the case, or its water resistance.
However, you shouldn’t expect the Grade 5 titanium case to come out of that DMLS process all nicely finished. It needs to be refined after machining. In this instance, the surface has been finely sandblasted. This gives the material a space-age look that suits the movement architecture and dial layout very well.
Panerai Tourbillon caliber P.2005/T
If you thought the case was fascinating, wait, there’s more: inside this light-weight case, is a light-weight movement with a tourbillon and GMT complication. Despite the movement’s skeletonization, it is a powerful beast. Thanks to three barrels arranged in series, the P.2005/T offers a six-day power reserve. As you can imagine, Panerai Laboratorio di Idee has not taken any shortcuts with this design.
This hand-wound caliber is visible through the sapphire crystal on the front and backside of the watch. You will immediately notice how well the dark-colored movement matches the 47mm case. That’s because it is made of titanium as well. In total, the movement weighs just 23 grams.
The Panerai tourbillon is combined with a GMT function, to enable you to read a second time-zone. On the dial side, you will also find a day/night indicator as well as a power reserve indicator. It is the tourbillon complication that is quite exceptional, as its cage rotates on an axis that is perpendicular to that of the balance wheel. The cage rotates once every 30 seconds instead of the more conventional one-minute rotation. In total, Panerai needed 277 components for the 10.05 mm thick movement alone.
Loud Steam Punk
When I was wearing this watch, I noticed that it makes quite a bit of noise. But, for once, I don’t mean that in a bad way. Somehow, the sound made by the movement is almost attractive. Perhaps the resonance of the material and the hollow case is behind it? But I must say it is loud — really loud. My wife even heard it when she was sitting next to me in the car, while I was driving 130km/h on the highway. A weird quirk perhaps, and certainly not for everyone, but I like it. It gives you the feeling it is alive and still doing its job.
The Panerai caliber P.2005/T movement is designed in such a way, that it reminds me of steampunk. That said, at first glance, it is still Haute Horlogerie that comes to mind. On the front side of the Luminor Tourbillon GMT PAM00768, you’ll find the military green that Panerai used to create some contrast with the titanium and Carbotech materials. The bezel, crown, and lever belonging to the crown are made of Panerai’s Carbotech.
Luminor Tourbillon GMT PAM00768 On The Wrist
Normally, I find myself wondering if a watch I am reviewing would be something I’d buy myself. In the case of this Panerai Luminor Tourbillon GMT PAM00768, that answer is apparent. But what if I had the means? Would I purchase this watch or something similar? I have been a Panerai owner in the past (I had a PAM00113 and a PAM00000), and I have been considering some of the Submersibles in recent times. The Luminor Tourbillon GMT is something I truly enjoyed wearing for a week or so, but I also quickly realized it wasn’t for me.
Not because of the titanium, tourbillon, or colors, etc, but mainly due to the size of 47mm. It is too large for me to be comfortable. Of course, the use of titanium helps to make it light-weight and increases comfort when it comes to exceptionally large watches, but I really struggle with these dimensions. That’s completely personal, of course. The Panerai Luminor Tourbillon GMT PAM00768 did impress me with its technicalities, the finishing of the movement, and the loud “twinkle” of the movement (I know it’s not an official feature).
I see these watches as show-off pieces, a bit. Not so much for the lucky owner, but more so for Panerai. Pieces like this demonstrate what the brand is able to do in its Laboratorio di Idee. As such, I don’t mean it all in a negative way. I like to see what brands are capable of doing. As lovers of high-end watchmaking, we need brands to push the limits of what’s possible today when it comes to materials and (mechanical) innovation, so we might catch a glimpse of what will be commonplace tomorrow. More information via Panerai online.