Even though Panerai has come out with some decent modern day models of late, the brand has been under a lot of criticism.
SIHH 2017 runs from January 17-20. On January 20th it will be open to the public for the very first time. Panerai has gotten an early start and has shown us a sneak peek of two NEW models that were inspired by pieces from the 1930’s. The PAM00685 and the PAM00687 Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio – 47mm.
They are inspired by a special Radiomir from the 1930’s ref3646A. Historically, this is the watch that really kicked it off for Panerai. Since Rolex had already patented a water proof watch, Panerai had the cases and movements made for them by Rolex SA. The exact date of when this took place is hard to decipher but we know it was between 1936 and 1938.
These vintage watches were very special and rare because they are the ones that went into war and witnessed war. It is, therefore, that we know the Type A also as the “Warbirds”.This is by all intents and purposes the first Panerai watch and the birth of the Radiomir as we know it!
The NEW PAM00685 and PAM00687 both have 47mm, stainless steel Radiomir cases and are powered by the in house P.3000 in house hand wound 3 day movement . I love its simplicity and symmetry, 4 numbers and two hands. This is definitely a case of less is more. The 12-sided bezel which is brushed steel and smoothed, polished angles is engraved with the words “OFFICINE PANERAI – BREVETTATO”, which translates and refers to the patented luminous substance used on the dial of the watches, which were presented to the higher ups of the Royal Italian Navy in the late 1930’s.
The original 3646A had it’s fare share of issues. For starters, the welded wire lugs snapped off quite easily, the onion style crown was not optimal and the cal 618 movement manufactured by Rolex for Panerai was for hours and minutes only. This posed an issue especially for dive missions to the exact second. Also because the hand wound movement at most could run for 40 hours, divers would be winding the watch whenever they could so the watch wouldn’t quit half way through a mission. Lastly because the screw down crown was sealed with very thin lead gaskets and not rubber gaskets and the crown was over used, this caused the case to get flooded.
he PAM00685 has a black dial while the PAM00687 has a tropical style dial. Most people believe that this tropical dial evolved from the sun discoloring the dial to a creamy brown color. In actuality it’s because of the luminous paste material used on the dial at that time known as radium. This caused the dial to discolor long before the effects of the sun. Both watches have the very cool pencil style gold hands similar to that on the original model from the 1930’s. I am NOT a fan Ponte Vecchio strap fitted on both these models . I know they distress and age the strap over time but I feel that they should be lighter in color, closer to the original from the 1930’s. Both these watches are Special Edition pieces. Only 1000 of each will be produced for one year only. No official retail has been announced. It should be between the 10-12k range hopefully. Anything over that will be a waste of $ in my opinion.