Luna Rossa

MILAN — Luna Rossa has a new official sponsor — luxury watchmaker Panerai, which will also create a new watch collection dedicated to the Luna Rossa Challenge.

Prada’s Italian sailing team was the first to challenge the defender New Zealand to compete in the 36th America’s Cup in New Zealand. Prada is the title sponsor of Luna Rossa, together with Pirelli.

Panerai will create a series of watches directly inspired by the technologies and materials used in the America’s Cup — the oldest sports competition in the world but extremely advanced in terms of research and innovation.

“Technical innovation, Italian excellence, love of the sea and boldness,” said Jean-Marc Pontroué, chief executive officer of Panerai, which is controlled by Compagnie Financière Richemont SA. “The partnership between Panerai and Luna Rossa expresses all the values with which our brand is so strongly linked, the same values which we want to convey to our enthusiastic clients as they are stirred by the emotions [that] Luna Rossa will arouse.”

The new Panerai Luna Rossa watches will be worn by members of the Luna Rossa team headed by Massimiliano “Max” Sirena, who has already won the America’s Cup twice. Preliminary America’s Cup World Series races will precede the final in New Zealand in 2021. The first stage of the ACWS will take place in 2019 in Cagliari, Sardinia, where the Luna Rossa team is headquartered. The new monohull on which the members of this team will be competing is the AC75.

Sirena touted Panerai’s “impressive credentials in the field of sailing.” He noted that this is “a strategic link, resulting from a significant sharing of values and a remarkable passion in common.”

The first watch to be presented is the Submersible Luna Rossa, a diving watch water-resistant to a depth of 300 meters (30 bar) with a case made of carbotech, an innovative material based on carbon fiber introduced in the luxury watchmaking industry by Panerai. Extremely light, resistant to external shocks and corrosion, carbon fiber is also used to make the AC75 monohull. An image of the latter is engraved on the titanium back of the watch, together with the Luna Rossa logo and the America’s Cup profile.


The image of Luna Rossa on the back of the watch.  ©courtesy image

The case has a striated matte black appearance because of a particular arrangement of the carbon fibers, adding a sporty edge to the watch. The unidirectional rotating bezel calculates the duration of a dive, and pieces of the sails of the Luna Rossa were applied to the dial for a unique texture. On the dial, with red indications, the small seconds hand at 9 o’clock and the central hand indicating the second time zone, when set up will enable the start time of the races of the 36th America’s Cup to be followed–despite the many time zones separating the wearer from New Zealand.

The watch is also fitted with the P.9010/GMT Manufacture movement, which is automatic with a bidirectional oscillating weight and two spring barrels, giving a power reserve of three days. As well as displaying the duration of a dive, the watch has a second time zone, a date window at 3 o’clock and a small seconds dial at 9 o’clock. It is supplied with a light, strong and waterproof black rubber strap, with a brushed titanium buckle.

The price of the watch was not yet disclosed.

In November, the new Prada Cup designed by Marc Newson was unveiled at the Yacht Club de Monaco by Prada Group ceo and president of Luna Rossa Challenge Patrizio Bertelli and his son Lorenzo, head of digital communication.

The Prada Cup will kick off in January 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand, and see the Challenger teams race in a round-robin format to determine which challenger will line up against the defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, seeking to secure the America’s Cup.

As reported, Prada’s sponsorship of the Luna Rossa sailing team for the 36th America’s Cup competition will amount to 65 million euros, to be paid in quarterly installments until June 2021.

The sponsorship contribution has been determined on the basis of the budget for the preparation and participation of the Luna Rossa sailing team in all the international regattas, consisting of the preliminary series, taking place in 2019-20; the Challenger Selection Series, set for January and February 2021, and the America’s Cup match, in March 2021.

In addition, Prada has acquired the exclusive naming and presenting sponsor rights of all events, including the Challenger Selection Series, which was officially named the Prada Cup. Previously, the Challenger Selection Series came under the moniker of Louis Vuitton Cup.

This is a return to the sea for Luna Rossa and its sixth challenge, but fifth race, as the team in 2015 withdrew from the competition in disagreement over the overturning of rules unanimously adopted throughout the previous year by the Oracle Team of the U.S., which was owned by Larry Ellison and which lost the America’s Cup to the New Zealand team.

The Luna Rossa team was established in 1997 by Prada’s ceo with the original name of “Prada Challenge for the America’s Cup 2000.” The team won the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000, with a record of 38 victories over 49 races. It also competed in 2003 and in 2007, when it reached the Louis Vuitton Cup final.

Luna Rossa is now 100 percent privately owned by Bertelli.