Panerai has a storied past, filled with military connections and amazing watches. They have recently released two watches that allow them to revisit their past and prepare for the future. Both watches trace their roots to the first model developed by Panerai in 1936. The Command of the Submarine Group of the Italian Royal Navy requested Panerai to make a timepiece for the commandos of the Assault Vehicle Flotilla. And when the Italian Royal Navy asks you to do something, you make sure you do it very very well.
That historic watch has experienced a rebirth this year in the form of two watches – the Radiomir California – 47 mm (PAM00931) and the Radiomir 8 Days – 45 mm (PAM00992). Both references have in-house mechanical movements. A mechanical movement is hand-wound, with a spring that slowly unwinds to power the watch. These movements were developed in the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel. These two watches allow Panerai to honor their past while looking forward. And the ever-fervent Paneristi have two new watches to fawn over.
The Radiomir California is a modernized design of the first Panerai used in the Second World War. The distinguished color palette is familiar – a stainless steel case with an aged patina effect coupled with a gold dial that has tinges of brown. It has the same visual aesthetic from the original dial – a minutes track and an eclectic combination of hour markers. Some are Roman numerals, some are Arabic figures, and some are simple hour markers. The result is quirky yet refined. While the palette is definitely a warm one, the blue detail on the hands is quite cool, literally and figuratively. The cool blue color on the outlines and tips of the hands are a nice counterpart to the warm watch. It is interesting to note that there is no name on the dial – not the brand or the collection. Is this another nod to the military connection? The watch seems to be going incognito.
The Panera Radioman 8 Days also has vintage touch to it but still seems more modern.
The sandwich structure dial has the words, “8 giorni brevettato’ engraved on it — meaning 8 days power reserve. Like the Panerai Radiomir California, this watch has hands with blue outlines. Unlike the California, the dial is a solid dark color so the hands don’t seem to stand out as much. The dial also has the subdial at the 6 o’clock and only the 6 and 12 are marked with numbers. The 8 Days is exclusively available at Panerai boutiques.
Both watches have a dark brown oiled calf “Tuscan leather” strap with beige stitching. While they are also both water-resistant to 100 meters, the gorgeous leather straps might not that dip in the water.
The vintage look is executed in different ways for these watches. Panerai respectfully honors its military past while brining us into the future with the Panerai Radiomir California and the Panerai Radiomir 8 Days.