Panerai Luminor GMT North Pole
Officine Panerai, an exclusive partner of the North Pole Winter Expedition, has developed a technically advanced watch, used by explorers in conditions that made modern GPS systems inoperable due to the extreme cold.
The Panerai Luminor GMT North Pole watch has a steel case with the characteristic bridge protecting the winding crown (an Officine Panerai patent) and an additional internal case made of soft iron, a material which protects the mechanism from the influence of the earth’s magnetic field, the intensity of which increases considerably in the vicinity of the North Pole.
The watch was worn on the wrists of Mike Horn and Borge Ousland, who started the adventure in 2006. After the Arktos expedition, his solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle which took two years to complete, Horn turned his attention to the North Pole Winter Expedition, the objective of which was to travel across the thousand or more kilometres of ice which separate the northernmost part of Russia from the North Pole.
This is an expedition which has never been attempted before and it took place in winter, without any sunlight but with the fragility of the polar ice cap strengthened by the very low temperature (around -40° C). Mike Horn made the North Pole Winter Expedition in company with Borge Ousland, a Norwegian explorer who has long experience of the cold arctic regions.
The departure date was set for mid-January and the two polar pioneers expected that it would have taken them 67 days to reach the North Pole. It was a challenge in which the equipment used played a major strategic role: subjected to severe testing to check its endurance and reliability, every piece of the expedition’s equipment is the result of exhaustive technological research.
The watches movement, calibre OP VIII with automatic winding, has been lubricated with special oils to guarantee the best performance even close to the North Pole. The screw back has been personalised with a diagram of the expedition and the watch is water-resistant to a depth of 300 metres.
The special feature of the Panerai Luminor GMT North Pole is its rotating bezel with the applied letters of the four cardinal points. This is a practical solution which enables the wearer’s position to be established by observation of the stars. It is a simple instrument which can be used in the conditions of total darkness in which Mike Horn and Borge Ousland found themselves and it was a fundamental system of orientation in the context of an environment which prevented the operation of equipment such as the compass and GPS because of the extremely severe cold. Blue in colour to make reading the information easier, the dial indicates both the time and the date while the second time zone is indicated by a further hand.
Text: Classic Driver
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