When it comes to watches, black on black is hardly ever a formal get up. But that’s a good thing when it comes to Panerai, because Panerai has its roots deep in naval history. It strictly started out as a tool watch for Italian sailors (literally for frogmen riding torpedoes in the dead of night) who needed large, robust and legible timepieces to be worn over their wetsuits.
The new Luminor Ceramica doesn’t venture far from that origin. The case comes in at 44 mm, which, although ample, is surprisingly light. This is because it’s made out of a synthetic ceramic based on zirconium oxide. This material is five times harder than steel, and is much lighter. It’s also very resistant to scratches, corrosive agents and high temperatures – a logical leap, given that zirconium oxide has to be fired at temperatures as high as 1500° C in order to synthesize into its ceramic form. The case is then bead-blasted to attain a matte finish.