A watch icon from Italy
Panerai can look back on a company history that stands out in the watchmaking industry. The company was originally founded in 1860 but did not produce timepieces for commercial sale until 1993. The few watch models produced up until that point were exclusively intended for professional use in the navy. The majority of the timepieces, including the Radiomir, were catered towards the Italian Marina Militare.
In 1936, Officine Panerai created a prototype timepiece for the Royal Italian Navy, which was distinguished thanks to its screw-down crown and case back, ensuring reliable water resistance. Three years following, the prototype went into production. The dial of the watch impressed with optimal legibility even under unfavourable conditions, thanks to its hands and indices that were coated with a luminous zinc sulphate and radium bromide mesothorium. The founder’s grandson under the name of Guido Panerai Radiomir patented the luminous chemical mixture, but he, unfortunately, did not know that the radium substance was highly radioactive. Although Radiomir timepieces that were created in early stages are still currently somewhat dangerous due to their radioactive substance, they are limited edition watches that are highly sought out by the vintage watch industry.
The designs of the current Radiomir collection however are highly reminiscent of the original military timepieces while they are produced with a completely safe Superluminova material.
A top class diving watch
In 1993, Panerai timepiece became accessible to the public and the company presented models like the Luminor and Mare Nostrum to enthusiastic watch experts and connoisseurs. It was only in 1997 that the new Radiomir generation was introduced to the world. The Radiomir was limited to 60 pieces in platinum. Much like the original model from the 1930s, the Radiomir PAM 210 was equipped with a case that measured over 47-millimeters in diameter. In the subsequent years, further Radiomir models were launched, including some variants with smaller case diameters.
The unmistakable shape and bold crown of the Radiomir aroused widespread interest among worldwide watch collectors and enthusiasts. This comes as no surprise since, next to the Luminor, the Radiomir is one of the most sought out models from Officine Panerai. The Radiomir is available in different versions, although all of the timepieces that constitute the collection remain true to the shape of the original watch. Furthermore, the timepieces are fitted with in-house manufacture movements. Popular models from the line include the Radiomir PAM 210 or the simple Radiomir 8 Days PAM 346.
The Radiomir Black Seal line holds a special place among the Radiomir collection as it celebrates the original 1930s model. The names of the timepieces allude to the manned torpedoes that were used by the Italian Navy. The first model of the line, the PAM 183, was launched in 2004. Today, the popular collection constitutes many models, such as the PAM 388, the PAM 287, and the PAM 292.
A tribute to the past
The 47-millimeter 1940 Radiomir lives up to its name. After all, the model pays homage to the equally large diving watches from the 1940s. The main difference between the Radiomir 1940 and the other Radiomir timepieces from the collection lies in the lugs of the watch. The Radiomir 1940 is comprised of a watch case and lugs that are carved out of a single block of metal. Therefore, the Radiomir 1940 differs from other Radiomir models because its lugs are attached directly to the steel case, just like they were in the original models. Other Radiomir models are fitted with lugs that are welded to the case. The dial of the Radiomir 1940 is characterised by typical Panerai clarity. The small seconds that is located at the 9 o’clock position is another characteristic feature.
The first Radiomir 1940 line appeared in 2012 and quickly advanced to the ranking of a modern classic. Panerai has continued to expand the Radiomir 1940 collection to include more variants and now features smaller case diameters. A prime example is the 42-millimeter Radiomir 1940 PAM 512, which is a classic model that pairs perfectly with both everyday outings as well as elegant occasions and special evenings.
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