If a member of the Panerai watch family ever tried to commit a crime, it’d get collared as soon as it stepped into the identity line-up. The brand’s timepieces are so instantly distinctive, they’re recognisable at the merest glance. The Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro eSteel, for example, is unmistakable thanks to its oversized cushion case and idiosyncratic crown guard. But this watch is also notable for another, more contemporary, reason.
Panerai is a brand with a long connection to the ocean, having made dive watches for the Italian navy since the 1930s. Given this aquatic lineage, it’s not surprising that the brand takes its ecological responsibilities seriously, recently partnering with UNESCO on an ocean conservation initiative to develop ocean literacy activities for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. That green mindset informed the design of the Submersible QuarantaQuattro. Some 72g of the watch – just over 50 per cent of the total weight – is made from recycled materials. The case is made from eSteel, Panerai’s sustainably sourced material, while the straps are hewn from fabric made from recycled PET, with a second strap made from recycled rubber.
Thankfully, these green credentials don’t come at the expense of the watch’s looks or performance. The Submersible QuarantaQuattro eSteel is available in three colourways, each with a corresponding high-gloss ceramic dial. The green and the blue dial versions have matching bezels, while the grey dial is encircled by a black bezel. Each dial is rendered with a gradient pattern where the colour shifts progressively darker as it drifts towards the base. In short, it’s a very handsome dive watch indeed.
QuarantaQuattro is, of course, basically an exotic word to describe the 44m case size. That makes for a fairly large watch at a time when modern trends increasingly lean towards smaller cases. Then again, Panerai have always made watches that are unapologetically big and bold – hence their popularity amongst Hollywood action heroes from Sylvester Stallone to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Those hefty dimensions are also practical for what is, after all, very much a fit-for-purpose dive watch that delivers 300m water resistance and oodles of lume for visibility beneath the waves. Inside, the watch is powered by the familiar P.900 movement that’s used in a variety of Panerai models.
Panerai set a very high bar last year, trumpeting their eco credentials with the Submersible eLAB-ID, a concept watch constructed from 98.6 per cent recycled materials by weight. This was an impressive achievement, but it also cost €60,000. In comparison, the QuarantaQuattro eSteel is composed of 52 per cent recycled materials, albeit positioned at a more affordable price.
But these are beguiling dive watches nonetheless, and demonstrate that Panerai’s environmental efforts stretch beyond the tokenistic – the brand should be recognised for committing to this approach for the long haul. Plus, given their Italian roots, they’ll no doubt be aware that Rome wasn’t built in a day.