Panerai’s Radiomir collection has a deep-rooted history. According to the Navy’s historical archives, Giuseppe Panerai commissioned some well-executed prototypes in 1935 to run through technical trials; the best of these was the Ref. 2533, which was built on a Rolex-Geneva base and then modified by Panerai.
Thereafter, Ref.3646, the precursor to the “Radiomir” watch, was developed. There are many similarities between the original Ref.3646 and the modern-day Radiomir watch, including the large cushion-shaped steel case with a diameter of 47 mm, luminescent numerals and indexes, wire lugs welded to the case, and high-quality manual mechanical movement (in the original, a Cortebert/Rolex 618 caliber derived from a pocket watch was used) (long enough to be worn over protective clothing).
This decision resulted in consistent deliveries of Panerai watches to the Regia Marina. The dial’s structure was altered by Giuseppe Panerai so that the radium paste would be more legible and luminescent. This was accomplished by using overlapping discs, or sandwich dials, and an upper part in anodized aluminum with perforated indexes and numbers. The dial’s design was altered to make it easier to read by using only four large Arabic numerals for the cardinal points and eight indexes for the hours.
And now, Panerai adds a new and exciting timepiece to the Radiomir family, complete with design elements never before seen in a timepiece from the Maison at Watches And Wonders 2023! The Radiomir California PAM01349 is a collectible timepiece because it marks the first time a California dial has been made in a smaller size (45mm) than the standard (47mm) and because of its unique green color.
The Panerai California Dial features Arabic and Roman numerals on opposite sides of the dial, along with bar indexes and a minute track, all of which are reminiscent of Ref 3646 from the Maison’s archives. Each half of the dial is differentiated by the use of a different set of numerals: Roman numerals for the hours 10, 11, and 2 and Arabic numerals for the hours 4, 5, 7, and 8. Featuring a case made from Brunito eSteelTM, new finishing, and a first in Panerai’s history, the watch has a distinctively vintage aesthetic that will appeal to collectors looking for rare and historic timepieces.
Each watch’s case is individually hand-finished to give it the appearance of age, giving each timepiece its distinct personality. The cushion-shaped 45mm eSteelTM case, slim wire lugs, and a green dial with shaded texturized creativity complement the watch’s intentional weathered effect, which is created via PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition). California’s signature beige indexes are illuminated green in the dark by Super-LumiNova®, and the dial’s vintage aesthetic is bolstered by metallic blue hands and a domed sapphire crystal that recalls the Plexiglas® crystal used in the original versions of the Radiomir developed for the Italian military. The watch is also distinguished from other Panerai watches by its cone-shaped crown, a signature design element of the Radiomir line. The raw-cut strap of the PAM01349 is made from soft calf leather and features three points of seaming in a dark brown with contrasting stitching. One unique aspect of this timepiece is the strap, which bears a hot-printed inscription reading “G. Panerai e Figlio.” This is the same phrase that can be found on the original Panerai workshop’s signage in Florence.
The Radiomir California is powered by Panerai’s legendary hand-wound P.5000 caliber, which has an impressive eight-day power reserve. The sapphire case back allows for a clear view of the watch’s iconic 8-day movement. The long power reserve is a hallmark of Panerai watches and part of the brand’s DNA; it was especially important for the Panerai timepieces worn by Italian Navy underwater commandos because it ensured their dependability even under the harshest of conditions.
The Panerai boutique is the only place to purchase a Radiomir with a California Dial. This Watches And Wonders, it seems downsizing and green-dialed watches are the new trend!
Movement: Hand-wound mechanical, P.5000 calibre,
created by Panerai, 15 1⁄2 lignes, 4.5 mm thick,
21 jewels, Glucydur® balance, 21,600 alternations/hour.
KIF Parechoc® anti-shock device. Two barrels.
Functions: Hours, Minutes.
Power Reserve: 8 days
Case: Diameter 45mm, Brunito eSteelTM. Brunito eSteelTM bezel.
Brunito eSteelTM caseback. Sapphire crystal formed of corondum
Dial: Shared green with luminous Arabic and Roman numerals
and hour markers
Strap: Dark brown Ponte Vecchio calf leather, ecru stitching,
STD, 27/22, BA. Trapezoidal Brunito steel
Waterproof: 10 bar (~100 metres)