Alex and Miles Pincus chart a course with Panerai and the new Panerai Luminor Due aboard Brooklyn’s Pilot
Photographs by Doug Young
Fashion styled by Justin Arroyo
Created for the Italian navy in 1950, Panerai’s Luminor was built for function above all else. Every element of its now iconic silhouette was designed for underwater excellence: the hefty, water-resistant case; the oversized, luminescent numerals; the crown-protecting lever. Unfortunately for Italian sailors, Panerai hasn’t been part of the official navy uniform for some time, but the watches still retain the rugged good looks (and focused engineering) that ensured each timepiece would withstand the rigors of life and combat at sea. Therein lies the ironic allure of today’s diving watches — they seduce with the promise of adventure, bringing some high seas swagger to civilians, even if the only diving most see is a few feet off a yacht.
Still, the bulky proportions that made the Luminor so beloved by sailors aren’t always compatible with life on land. Panerai’s new streamlined Luminor Due offers a solution. It refines the brand’s classic dive watch down to its essence, resulting in the thinnest timepiece Panerai has ever produced. Its sleek, minimalist lines have all the hallmarks of the original, translated elegantly to scale. It easily pairs with suits (and not only those of the neoprene variety.)
Like all great designs, the streamlined Luminor Due is a master study in proportions. Two case sizes are on offer.The 42mm version is just 10.5mm thick, while the 38mm model (the smallest diameter in Panerai history) comes in at 11.2mm thick. Both feature the new OP XXXIV automatic movement, driving a traditional date function and offering three-days of power reserve, a hallmark of the collection and its maker. For those customers and collectors who favor traditional Panerai sizing, the Luminor Due is also available in 45mm, equipped with a GMT function.
Beyond its versatile sizing, the new Due introduces a range of fashion-minded dials and straps. The latter come in a variety of colors, including a baby-blue alligator skin pattern and a handsome mint-colored leather, which are easily swappable. The message here is clear: This watch isn’t just for seafarers (or men, in general) anymore. While still resolutely sporty, the Luminor Due makes Panerai’s distinctive look more wearable for those who prefer taking to the water with a cocktail in hand.
Which is precisely the spirit that inspired brothers Alex and Miles Pincus to open a fleet of nautical canteens in Manhattan and Brooklyn.(They also opened a seafood restaurant in New Orleans, called Seaworthy, in partnership with the Ace Hotel.) After growing up as avid sailors in Louisiana, the brothers were living in New York and “kept coming back to the premise that one of the best things about having a boat is sitting dockside and having a drink. “We just kept mulling it over, like ‘How great would it be to have a boat that you can enjoy without having to commit?’” says Miles.
At that time, Alex was working as an architect, Miles as a professional sailor and boat restorer; together, they set about refurbishing a historic schooner that would become Grand Banks, their breezy (and boozy) outpost docked in the Hudson River along Manhattan’s TriBeCa. Pilot, a racing schooner dating back to 1924, which now serves customers while floating off Brooklyn Bridge Park, followed soon after. “These boats have a history that new boats can’t even begin to touch,” says Alex, “It’s like a vintage, mechanical watch versus a brand-new smartwatch.” As both watch enthusiasts and men that divide their time between land and sea, the Pincus brothers sat down with Watch Journal to discuss the new Luminor Due and finessing the style out of the maritime lifestyle.
How did you get into watches?
A: I studied architecture and I’m very into design. For a while, I really didn’t get watches. Then my friend took me to Analog Shift; I started looking around and realized that [watchmaking] is its own discipline of design with so many subtle ideas that are being worked through. I got obsessed, scanning all the watch blogs for what would be my first serious watch. I ended up getting a vintage Seamaster from the year I was born.
M: For a while, I really loved my watch — I have a Submariner — and thought it’s great, it’s simple, it’s nautical. Then when I got attached to my cellphone, I thought ‘Why do I need this? I’m checking the time on my phone’. I hadn’t worn it for about a year and a half but I put it on the other night and, with a little bit of a wind, it was back in business. That’s pretty impactful. Like, this thing is going to keep on going.
A: The first watch I ever got was my grandfather’s from the 1920’s: a really beautiful dress watch, really thin, with a couple diamonds and rubies on it. It definitely has not seen it’s moment in the resurgence of watch styles yet. When I’m 90, it’s gonna look really cool.
Do you guys generally share the same tastes, as far as style?
M: We often dress alike, which is terrible and funny at the same time. Like, we’ll show up at the same meeting with the same shirt on.
A: We both are reasonably nautical by default. I would say my general fashion aesthetic is ‘Don’t look like an asshole.’ It’s not much more complicated than that. We’re usually working on boats, so you wind up dressing a certain way. You have to do physical work but you also have to look presentable to be dealing with people in a restaurant.
M: It’s a funny look you have to choose because it’s always super hot out during our peak hours. Sometimes you’re dealing with management, sometimes you’re in the bowels of the boat fixing something.
Given how varied your days are, what do you look for in an everyday watch?
A: Something that’s comfortable, something that’s extremely durable.
M: My wrist will literally bang into a thousand things a day.
A: We’re walking around a lot of tight quarters on a boat, so you have to have something that’s resilient and fits well and is functional.
M: That, and not exceptionally heavy.
Sounds like you could be describing the new Luminor Due. What did you think of it?
M: It feels great, super thin. It sat on the wrist really nicely. It’s a great watch for working on a boat. Even though it’s so thin, it doesn’t feel insignificant.
A: It’s a nice balance between having a big presence on the face and a thin, light feel on the wrist. I don’t wanna wear a monster on my wrist…[like I said,] I don’t wanna look like an asshole. Honestly, though, I’d rather be subtle in everything I do from watch to clothes to lifestyle.
I imagine that balance, between mechanics and appearance, is something you both know a lot about, having transformed boats into restaurants…
M: It’s definitely a balance we’ve grown into through the years. We showed up in 2014 with Grand Banks and the day we opened had a 200-deep line down the pier. It’s a big challenge to overcome, having a compact space with very limited water, electrical, you name it. We’ve had to be very creative about how we make it comfortable and familiar for people but still authentic to the boat and the idea we’re trying to present.
A: It’s actually a lot like a watch: we have a constrained space and there are certain components that aren’t going away.
M: It needs to tell time and it needs to fit in this big of a space…
A: And there are all these different moving parts that we need in order to function. It could be a Frankenstein, or it could feel natural like ‘Oh, of course, it always looked like this’. It takes a lot of consideration to get to that point. Like, a watch doesn’t all of a sudden look graceful and simple. So many decisions go into every little thing to make it feel effortless. We learned a lot with Grand Banks, tried to improve on that [at Pilot], and put that experience into a full renovation of Grand Banks to make all of the little pieces work together even better. By the time we do the next boat, we might have it down.