PVD watches are made with stainless steel cases to which a black coating (PVD) is applied. I read in an interview that Panerai themselves feel that especially the early PVD cases turned out to be too fragile. The cases scratch easily and once that happens, there's not much you can do about it. Ceramic however, is about five times harder than stainless steel and as a result much less prone to scratches. The new Ceramic watches are Panerai's solution for a much more reliable product. But the production process of ceramic watches is much more complicated and time consuming - mainly because the material is so hard. The cases are not molded, but made by machining. This is most likely why it has taken quite long for the first watches to be delivered to their owners. But, it's worth the wait.
The submarine aka "pig" on the dial
There is another interesting detail about this Black Seal. Although the watch is not a Special Edition, the 2008 run does no longer have the little submarine - often referred to as the "pig" - on the dial. This seems to make the 2007 (J) series an instant collectible. The J-series is limited to 1,000 pieces and another 1,500 pieces will be made for the K-series (2008). Sadly I've seen several 292's being offered for prices that are a few thousand above the list price already.
The 292 is part of the Panerai historic line. It has the hand wound OP X movement with a 55 hour power reserve. The case is 45mm and it is water resistant up to 100 meters.
I had the opportunity to take these photos of this beautiful watch some time ago, but didn't post any until now because I wasn't that happy with the results. This was the first all black watch I ever photographed and I did not have a clue about how to properly light the watch. The 292 is just too nice to not post any photos and some information about it.
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Photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen