Officine Panerai presented a faithful reproduction of the instrument designed by Galileo in the 17th century. Named Pendulum Clock (PAM 500), this exceptional timepiece features a regulating pendulum and a free escapement which, once they were discovered, marked a turning point in horology by reducing errors in accuracy of several minutes per day to only a few seconds. The great scientist worked on his pendulum clock to demonstrate the law of isochronism of small oscillations of the pendulum. Now this masterpiece is reborn through the unique edition of just 30 pieces, created by the renowned Italian watchmaker.
The escape wheel designed by Galileo in 1641 was the first free escapement in history. However, the ingenious scientist could not complete his project. After he died, his son Vincenzo continued working on the pendulum, but unfortunately, he pasted away before its finalization. In 1659, at the request of Leopoldo de’ Medici, Vincenzo Viviani who was a friend and biographer of Galileo recovered the model and brought it to the Florentine prince together with a drawing. However, during the following years, the machine has been lost and only that was left were drawings of the Galileo’s project, which shows the exact structure and the principle of operation of this instrument.
Panerai’s novelty is based on the clock constructed by the Florentine watchmaker Eustachio Porcellotti in 1887 from the original drawing. That pendulum is currently exhibited in the Museo Galileo in Florence. Panerai Pendulum Clock takes over all important features of the original. It is 35.6 cm high and 18.5 cm wide, with the depth of 11.1 cm. Its frame features two main plates, crafted in brass and plated with nickel-palladium, unlike Porcellotti’s model which is made of iron. Plates are fixed in the traditional way by crosspieces at the top and the bottom. While the upper crosspiece serves to hold the escapement and the pendulum suspension, the lower one links the lower parts of the frame plates.
The highlight of this masterpiece is a regulating pendulum and the escapement, consisting of an escape wheel with 12 pins fitted to its side, 12 teeth cut in its perimeter and three levers. The pendulum is completely free from any contact with the wheel and this is why it got the name a “free escapement”.
A gray dial features Roman numerals and black-lacquered hands, just like those of the 1887 model. It is surrounded by a gold plated bezel which matches the color of wheels with their hand-finished teeth, a spring barrel and other details. The clock is wound by turning the square winding arbor with a key. When it is fully wound, it provides about eight days of power-reserve.