Panerai decides it's time to enter the technical side of the business Celebrating its 145th anniversary this year, Panerai is no newcomer to the watchmaking field. Angelo Bonati, the brand's chief executive, said its enduring appeal was down to something very simple. 'Panerai is a brand of value. Historically we have been full of value, and in the future we will remain full of value.' Mr Bonati said. That sense of value has traditionally come from the aesthetic and workmanship of Panerai's cases, but the brand is seeking to put added emphasis on the technical side of the business. These days, all serious watchmakers make their own movements, and in that respect Mr Bonati had one major announcement to make. 'At the end of the year we will present to the market Panerai's first movement,' he said. 'Then every year from now on you will see a new movement from Panerai.' The new movement, the Panerai P.2002 Calibre, took three years to develop and is the first to have been conceived, designed and produced entirely within the walls of Panerai's Neuchatel workshops. The watch will be produced in a limited edition of 200 pieces - 150 in white gold and 50 in platinum. Mr Bonati said he expected the watch to be ready by June or July, and the launch would be in September. But Panerai fans were left with few details of the watch's specifics. 'We prefer to postpone the launch until we are ready,' he said. What the brand did have to launch at the trade fair was something very special indeed - a truly limited edition. When the Richemont Group bought the company in 1997, the new managers discovered 200 unused vintage Angelus 88 movements hidden in one of the brand's vaults. This sturdy, reliable eight-day movement had been used in the watches Panerai supplied to the Italian navy during the 1940s. Given this valuable link to the company's past, they decided to create a special edition watch to house the movements: the Luminor 8 Days. Following restoration, just 150 of the movements could be salvaged, so that is the number of pieces in the limited-edition watch. 'This is one of the most important watches requested by collectors, as they know it is really rare,' Mr Bonati said. 'It really is a limited edition as there are only 150 movements, and when they are finished, that is it.' The response from collectors had been overwhelming, he said, as the brand had already received more than 300 requests. But the future of the brand lay in chronographs, Mr Bonati said, as these accounted for the top 35 per cent of the watch market for sports watches. This year's range includes two new chronographs in the Luminor and Radiomir cases, both classics of the brand's retro aesthetic. These are large watches to begin with, but the domed, bubble-like dial makes them appear even larger. 'As you know, everybody is going into big watches - the extra, extra big size. Now Panerai is doing something big. When we first launched them, everybody said, 'what's this, a wall clock for the wrist'?' Mr Bonati said the Luminor Rattrapante was his personal favourite in this year's collection.