Panerai was THE brand that ignited my interest in horology in my late 20s. Without even understanding the brand’s roots in the Italian Navy, I somehow sensed a pragmatic heroism encoded into its genetic blueprint. My brain took in Panerai like this: 1) Its size — which at 44mm in diameter, in the context of the late ’90s, was positively totemic. 2) The massive stylized Arabic numerals blazing away in ambient lighting with heretofore-unseen levels of Promethean luminescence were incredible! 3) And in particular, the unique bridge to seal the crown against the intrusion of water at depth, like the flying buttresses at Chartres, was form follows function in extremitus. All of this combined to create the single most unique timepiece I’d ever set eyes on. Little did I know at the time that how the historic military codes of Panerai were used to create these watches, while assuredly moving the brand into the future, was the work of one incredible man named Angelo Bonati.