Review: Panerai Radiomir

Panerai Radiomir 42mm
Movement
P.1000, P.3000, P.4000, P.4001, P.4002, P.5000 or P.6000 calibre
Case
Polished steel, Ceramic, Titanium or Gold-tech
Strap
Calf leather, alligator leather, canvas or rubber
Dial
Sun-brushed blue, Military green, Brown, Shaded brown, Black or White
Lens
Sapphire crystal
Water Resistance
50 or 100 metres
Lume
Yes
Dimensions
42mm, 45mm, 47mm or 48mm
Crown
Screw-down
Warranty
2 years (extendable to 8 years)
Price
£3,500 - 19,000

Panerai has a unique company history in the watchmaking industry. The company was established in 1860 but did not make watches for financial gains until 1993. The few watch models crafted up until that time were solely for professional use in the navy. Most of Panerai’s watches, including the Radiomir, were provided to the Italian Marina Militare.

In 1993, Panerai watches were made available to the public with the launch of the Luminor and Mare Nostrum models. This was to the delight of watch specialists and aficionados. The new Radiomir generation was released only once in 1997. It was limited to 60 pieces in platinum. Much like the original 1930s model, the Radiomir PAM 210 was fitted with a case that measured over 47-millimetres in diameter. In the later years, more Radiomir models were presented, including some versions with smaller case diameters.

The body and thick crown of the Radiomir enticed attraction among global watch collectors and aficionados. It is not surprising the Radiomir is one of the most desired models from Panerai after the Luminor. The Radiomir is available in different models, although all of the watches in the collection maintain the original shape. Moreover, the watches come with in-house made movements. There are models such as the classic Radiomir PAM 210 or the more recent Radiomir 8 Days. The designs of the present Radiomir line pay homage to the original military watches with the use of Superluminova lume to retain the “night-ops” military feel.

Although the Radiomir 8 Days 45mm is the most popular watch in the collection, the “Mediterraneo”, “Edizione Verde Militaire” and “California Dial” models also bring a refreshing uniqueness. This watch collection has a classic-type fashion – not a reinvention – integrated with an in-house, eight-day movement. Very surprisingly, the steel case has a slightly vintage finish that Panerai is applying for the first time.

The Radiomir is not the contemporary version of a classic Panerai, but instead, it is combined and paired with diverse elements, including the inscribed logo and “8 Giorni” crest at three. Some may remark it as underwhelming but, it has been the fundamental blueprint for the contemporary Panerai company. The outcome is an impressive and uniquely crafted collection, which comes close to the look of a classic Panerai while providing the modern advantages of a power reserve.

Dial

Usually, Panerai is known to create timepieces with a simple form; this does not differ with the Radiomir collection. The watches are essentially a big cushion-shaped form with a dial of varying colours (sun-brushed blue, black, white, military green etc). The dial has some very fascinating features. For instance, some have a “sandwich” structure (the indications at the four quarters of the seconds are “sandwich”, while the five-minute hash marks in between are printed), made up of a lower plate coated with Super-Luminova indications and an upper plate with equivalent cut-outs.

Panerai Radiomir 8 days 45mm
Panerai Radiomir 8 Days 45mm (Brown leather strap)

Classic Panerai dials were designed in the same way out of necessity; today, the sandwich dial has a bit of a strong fondness, but refreshing even so. Likewise, it applies parchment-coloured Super-Luminova which is yet another sentiment, but it is complimentary with the style.

Another classic-themed feature is the logo at twelve o’clock, which is inscribed and then brimming with off-white lacquer. But the most refreshing detail of all – but debatably the most unusual since it was not developed on any classic originals casually looking like this timepiece – is the logo at three o’clock. It translates as “8 Days Patented”, while the logo enhances the vintage feel of the timepiece, although also providing the dial with a bit of harmony.

Panerai Radiomir GMT 45mm (Blue dial)
Panerai Radiomir GMT 45mm (Blue dial)

The classic sensations are achieved by the extraordinarily domed sapphire crystal that duplicates the Plexiglas found on classic Panerai. Necessarily, the sapphire crystal passes the test; it is appropriately domed, which means it kind of warps the perimeter of the dial when viewed from an angle.

Case

The watch case in the Radiomir collection can range from 42mm to 48mm. So yes, it certainly is a collection for wrists that prefer big watches. The case for the models is predominantly stainless steel with a few available in ceramic, titanium or the unique Goldtech™.

From afar the stainless steel case has a matte but also indistinctly shiny look, depending on how it is viewed. Panerai points to this as a “Patina” treatment; giving it a military look and feel. This treatment gets rid of the glossy, fresh look of a brand-new watch, without leaving it looking forcefully tired, as some other exterior surfaces turn to, like an old gunmetal coating for example.

Panerai Radiomir 45mm Brown Open Case back
Panerai Radiomir 45mm Brown Open Case back

The method of making the Patina surface is a three-step method. Panerai affirms that the case finish was made just like any regular Radiomir case, completely mirror-polished on all areas. Though the finishing of a regular watchcase ends there, this Panerai timepiece carries on with a fast sandblasting and “micro granules”.

The beads applied for the blasting process are finer than usual, ending up in an area with the distinctive divots more broadly spaced. It looks almost like sandpaper was smoothly rubbed on the case, instead of the usual regular, heavily coarse surface applied to watch cases. Later then, the case is polished one more time, which extracts some of the coarseness of the sandblasted area, additionally emphasising its smoothness and shaping a “semi-matte” perfection.

Panerai Radiomir Black Seal logo 45mm (Superluminova Lume)
Panerai Radiomir Black Seal logo 45mm (Superluminova Lume)
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Wearability

All of the decoration is simple and done by machine, while the construction is streamlined. The look is mechanical and fuss-free but appropriate for the style and price of the watch. The Radiomir collection is available with various strap and buckle selections.

Panerai Radiomir 48mm Ceramic (Military Green dial)

Panerai Radiomir 48mm Ceramic (Military Green dial)

The straps available include calf leather, alligator leather, rubber or canvas material. The buckle selection is available in polished steel, white gold, pink gold or Goldtech™.

Price

For the heritage and reliability that comes with the Panerai brand, we feel that the watches in the Radiomir collection are somewhat adequately priced. The based model starts from around £3,500 ($4,350 or €3,880). The 8 Days model is available at around £5,100 ($6,350 or €5,650), the powerful GMT Power Reserve model pushes the price to around £10,100 ($12,570 or €11,200).

Panerai Radiomir 47mm GoldTech Case and Bezel
Panerai Radiomir 47mm GoldTech Case and Bezel

The top-line Radiomir is the PAM00515 Radiomir 47mm, featuring a polished Goldtech™ case and bezel. This model is available from around £18,700 ($20,700 or €20,700)

Review: Panerai Radiomir
Final Thoughts
The Panerai Radiomir collection is an exquisite icon among watch designs combining Italian style with reliable Swiss precision. Apart from its large sizes which are sure to stand out, nothing else particularly catches the eye with this time-piece. It however does have some useful features and the anti-shock component is also very unique.
Dial
Case
Wearability
Price
Positives
Good power reserve
Industrial movement - both automatic and manual
Contains anti-shock technology
Negatives
Very large sizes
No high jewellery alternatives
4.1
Editor's Score
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