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1936: a great year for Panerai, on the wrist as well on the sea.

February 17 2008 at 1:47 PM

Hªªgen  (Login KristianHaagen)
Paneristi
from IP address 217.157.183.209

Just returned from Italy, where Bonati & Co showed the progress of restoring the Fife vessel, Eilean, built in 1936 – same year the first Panerai prototype watch was made.

The vessel is located at the Francesco Del Carlo Boatyard in Viareggio – a Toscan town well known by diehard Paneristis! A famous boatyard from 1963 specializing in restoration of vintage wooden boats.

Bonati saw the boat, when he was visiting Antigua and fell in love immediately. And he didin't even know that the vessel shared the same birth year as the first Radiomir – what a coincidence! Eilean had not been sailing for over twenty years at that time and hence in a poor state. The mast was eaten by termites, instruments not functioning etc etc. All steel has been replaced as well as 20 percent wood parts are brand new.

What had me smile big time was the fact that Duran Duran actually used this very boat in the video of "Rio" and seeing the dragon on the wooden board on the wall brought back memories! Can't wait for the next party, having Duran Duran perform live on Eilean! See it here:

The restoration started Feb. 2007, carefully followed by boatyard co-owner Guido Del Carlo and Florentine boat specialist Enrico "Chicco" Zaccagni. Bonati told me that the boat could be finished in one year, but said that with his fingers crossed. Two years is probably more realistic.

Of course building a brand new boat would be ten times cheaper, but just likes watches, restoring Eilean is an emotional thing – and very much in the Panerai spirit.

The pictures below are a mix of press photos as well as my own form the small event.

Remember Simon Le Bon sitting in the bow of Eilean singing about a girl named Rio? I surely do!
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Inside, before:
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Inside, after:
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Bloody hungry termites!
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Perhaps Bonati will fit a new Panerai compass instead of this well used one?
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Welldressed Bonati with the boatyard owner, Guido Del Carlo (right) and Enrico "Chicco" Zaccagni.
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Entering the boatyard in Viareggio:
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Drawings of Eilean:
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Boatyard owner Guido Del Carlo and Captain Bonati, all smiles prior to revealing the restoring progress:
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Some of the original instruments:
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Carpets off and BOOM, there she was in all her...unfinished glory:
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An elevator took us to the top of the vessel:
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Part of the dragon illustration...erhm...it was however placed upside down on the wall.
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If you ask me, I think Bonati is more proud of this project than any watch right now! But that´s just me speculating. Bonati himself is an avid sailor and he must be so exited about this project.
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