At the end of August, the official opening of the 37th America’s Cup will take place in Barcelona. Six sailing teams will compete against each other, and a few of them are backed by big names in the watch industry. Today, we’ll put two of those brands up against each other — Panerai and Tudor. The members of the Luna Rossa team will be wearing a Submersible QuarantaQuattro Ti-Ceramic, and on the wrists of the members of the Alinghi team will be the Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing Edition. Which one would you pick?

Of course, Omega is also “competing” in the America’s Cup with its Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Chronograph Deep Black ETNZ Edition. However, we thought it would be nice to battle it out with two watches that are quite similar in their colorways. Apart from that, though, these two three-handers don’t look much alike. Let’s see what Thomas and Daan will bring to the fore to win this battle.

Battle of the new Black Bays

But first, we’ll take a look at what happened during last week’s installment of Sunday Morning Showdown. That was a fight between two of the latest models from Tudor. Both the Black Bay Master Chronometer and the Black Bay 58 GMT were praised when they were released during the last edition of Watches and Wonders. The monochrome Black Bay Master Chronometer is the ultimate Rolex Submariner alternative for people on a tighter budget, while the Black Bay 58 GMT is a great option for those looking for a modern iteration of the Coke GMT. It was a heated discussion in the comments, but in the end, the Black Bay 58 GMT squeaked out a win with 51% of the votes. We sure hope today’s showdown won’t be so close!

Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramic on wrist

Daan: Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramic

Let’s be honest: when you’re competing in one of the most legendary sailing events in the world, you need an impressive timepiece on your wrist to go with it. I do like the Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing Edition, but it might be just a little too toned down for its purpose. Yes, the case is made of a carbon composite, there’s a titanium bezel, and the dial is wearing the team colors. Still, I feel like it’s a bit of a modest entry for such a prestigious sailing competition.

Panerai’s Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramic, on the other hand, looks a lot quirkier and more extravagant. Here, both the case and bezel are made of titanium. That makes this Submersible 44% lighter than its steel counterpart. The entire case and part of the bezel are covered with a dense ceramic surface layer, which boasts 10 times greater fracture resistance than regular ceramic. Of course, the iconic cushion shape gives the 44mm case a lot of presence, as does Panerai’s signature crown guard.

Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramic Dial close-up

Sunburst ahoy on the Panerai Submersible!

I’m aware that some people, like our colleague Gerard, don’t appreciate having a sunburst dial in a tool watch. I don’t mind it, though. I had one in my 38mm Blancpain Bathyscaphe, and it was one of the most beautiful dials I’ve ever seen. It was like a chameleon and changed colors depending on the circumstances. Sometimes, it could be almost all dark gray, but it could change suddenly to show multiple shades of brown and gray. It was just like looking into the deep, dark sea while it was reflecting the sunlight.

Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramic

I imagine the Submersible’s blue sunburst dial is just as visually pleasing as the Bathyscaphe’s gray one. It stands in great contrast with the soft, matte finish of the Ti-Ceramitech case. Imagine if the dial had a matte finish like the Pelagos FXD’s. It might’ve been the right thing to do on a tool watch of this sort. However, by applying a sunburst finish to it and placing it in the matte blue case, it really shines. And if the dial doesn’t grab your attention, then I’m sure the big, skeletonized central hands and the red sub-seconds hand will.

Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramic wrist shot

The best strap for the Panerai Submersible? Sailcloth, of course!

Finally, I also think this Submersible’s strap is much more relevant for the sailors. It’s made of a combination of very supple rubber and a thin layer of sailcloth — what’s in a name, huh? The great thing about this material is that it won’t be affected by the salty water and will dry very quickly after it gets wet. By contrast, the Pelagos FXD’s textile strap will hold on to all that salty water and stay wet for much longer. I also don’t feel that Velcro is the best choice for these highly active sailors.

Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramic lume shot

In the end, it will wear out, and when you catch it on something, it could come undone, and you might lose your watch. This Submersible comes with a regular pin buckle, which I believe is still the most practical closure for any strap. It always works, and it won’t pinch your skin. But I guess the fixed strap bars on the Pelagos make it fairly difficult to develop a rubber strap for the watch. All right, Thomas; let’s hear it for the Tudor!

Thomas: Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing Edition

Thanks, Daan. this is a fun one. Admittedly, I have a profound dislike of co-branded watches, so I am certainly not the target audience for these. Still, let me practice some professionalism and defend my entrant. Honestly, it doesn’t need all that much effort as I reckon this should be a pretty clear win — for the Tudor, of course!

You make an argument for comfort based on the sailcloth strap of the Panerai Submersible Luna Rossa. Having worn the Panerai at Watches and Wonders, I am afraid I have to disagree. The Panerai Submersible is quite the oversized pebble on the wrist. The strap is thick with a big buckle. All in all, although it is quite light, the watch is still very substantial. I could see it easily catching on stuff, especially on a yacht.

The Tudor, on the other hand, excels in terms of comfort. It is exceptionally light on the wrist, and the strap is super supple and comfortable. It is one of those watches you forget you are wearing. This is something I would appreciate very much when operating a racing yacht.

The design of the Panerai Submersible versus the Tudor FXD’s

You know that I tend to approach these battles from a design angle. Today is no exception because I feel that Tudor destroys Panerai here. In tool watches, less is more. You want the simplest, most efficient way to fulfill a certain task. This means there is less distraction and less to go wrong. Look at the America’s Cup boats, for instance. They are a masterclass in minimalism and reductive design.

The Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing takes the same approach. Look at the case, for instance. Its fixed strap attachment is a prime example. Sacrificing fashionable strap options for the single most reliable and, again, simple solution is spot on. Additionally, the carbon execution makes a lot of sense. Functionally, it makes sense. Thematically, even more so.

The Panerai Submersible, on the other hand, seems to over-complicate things a bit. The result? It is fancy but a little inefficient. As a result, it is a whopping 4.3 times as expensive as this Tudor Pelagos FXD. If I were going to buy an America’s Cup-inspired watch, I would want it to follow the top sports mentality of reduction to the absolute minimum. The Tudor isn’t precisely that, but it is closer than the Panerai.

Time to vote!

There you have it — two blue and red America’s Cup watches fighting for your vote. Which is your favorite, the ceramized titanium Panerai Submersible or the carbon Tudor Pelagos FXD? Luna Rossa or Alinghi Red Bull Racing? Cast your vote, and share your motivations in the comments section below!

Panerai Submersible Luna Rossa Vs. Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing