The Swiss company Panerai is well known for their high precision in-house movements, but they were also famous all over the world for taking third part movements with the intention of re-purposing them for their own collections and models, much like many of the other high end watchmakers do.
One such calibre is the OP XI, which was initially produced by ETC/Unitas in the form of the ETA 6497/2 hand-wind movement. Panerai proceeded to take this movement and make a selection of modifications that resulted in the series of calibres known nowadays within the watch making industry as OP XI, which while being inspired and based on by the 6497/2, is its own movement all together.
The OP XI is actually not the first movement from a third party that Panerai has developed for their own collection of wristwatches. In fact, there are several other manufacturers that have followed the same strategy, taking the 6497 movements (of which the 6497/2 belongs to) for their own collections, thanks to the reliability of these manual movements.
There is a wide selection of Panerai wristwatches that use the OP XI movement, most of these being a variation of the Luminor Marina collection. Notable models include the PAM 111, PAM 113, and PAM 177 Luminor Marina models. There are also two Radiomir Black Seal variations using this movement too, those being the PAM183 and the PAM 292 models.
All of them are very popular watch models appreciated by time measurement pieces lovers and collectors from all around the world. The Luminor Marina watches were the first Panerai time pieces made available to the general public, prior to the year 1993 when the collection was launched the Panerai products had been restricted to the use of military forces only. The same collection includes the custom made Slytech Panerai ordered by Sylvester Stallone and worn by the actor in the movie Daylight. Arnold Schwarzenegger also worn a similar watch in the movie Eraser, this way boosting the time pieces collection’s popularity even further.
An exclusive calibre to Panerai, the OP XI calibre measures a total of 16 ½ lignes, so when fitted into a case it stays true to the traditionally over-sized style that the Swiss brand is renowned for. The parts within the calibre feature 17 jewels in total, along with a Glucydur® balance (with a Nivarox® I spring) and Incabloc® anti-shock device, which helps to provide a high class protection for the calibre.
These are hallmarks of many of Panerai’s in-house calibres too, showcasing the unique modifications that make the OP XI such a high quality, modified movement. They truly feature that Panerai allure of quality and durability – values that stand at the heart of the watch producing company, hence the on-going popularity for calibres such as the OP XI.
The calibre makes a total of 21,600 alterations per hour and features a Swan’s neck regulator. A power reserve of up to 56 hours is also featured in the movement, which is gorgeously adorned with a Côtes de Genève decoration on the bridges, another personalized touch added by Panerai that makes this calibre so pupular.
As the OP XI has been tested and certified by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC), there is no question that this movement has been held to the highest testing standards for Swiss wristwatches, ensuring that accuracy and precision of this movement is a good and well deserved fitting of the highly esteemed watch manufacturing brand Panerai. This calibre will probably feature some other future models by the brand, proving its full qualities.