Why Panerai’s New Special Edition Dive Watch is a Breath of Fresh Air for the Industry

Is 2017 the year watch companies finally embrace the internet?

Earlier this week, IWC launched its new website, from which you can purchase watches directly from the Swiss luxury brand — a relative rarity in the industry. Similarly, IWC’s corporate cousin Panerai (both brands are owned by Richemont) has been offering online orders for some time, but this week the brand unveiled a new limited edition watch sold exclusively through its e-boutique: the Luminor Submersible Automatic Acciaio. This is a downright novel concept. Well, mostly.

See, boutique special editions are nothing new in the industry, though typically they’ve been reserved specifically for flagship boutiques and retailers in large world cities (most of them overseas). Given that watchmakers love seizing any opportunity to put out a special edition, it only makes sense the logic would eventually apply to online boutiques as luxury watches become more readily available direct-to-consumer through brands’ e-commerce sites. Now, at least, it seems more people will have the opportunity to own one of these special editions, and the development seems like a good signifier that the Swiss watch industry is finally rethinking its woefully outdated method of sales and distribution.

As for the watch itself, there’s not a ton that’s different from the standard Panerai Luminor Submersible. The only real change is a swap in dial color from black to navy blue; everything else — the movement, the case, the depth rating and even the price — is the same. But Panerai will only be making 100 examples, so if you’ve been wanting to snag a limited-run watch like this, act fast. It’s available now online, though Panerai notes that after the first 30 pieces have been claimed, the rest of the orders will have to be completed over the phone.

Buy Now: $7,200

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