Panerai adds a whopping six new models to its Radiomir lineup. The drop ranges from simple new “8 Giorni” variants to annual calendars in precious metals. This, my dear Fratelli, is the year of the Radiomir. Let’s have a closer look at these new additions from Panerai.

The Panerai Radiomir is a bit of a personal favorite of mine, although I have not quite come around to buying one just yet. I love the pebble-like feel of the cushion case and its pairing with the diamond crown and wire lugs. I like the Luminor, but I love the Radiomir. So when the time came to divide the workload for Watches and Wonders, I quickly volunteered to cover Panerai’s Radiomir bonanza.

Some historical perspective

This is not the time and place for deep historical analyses. After all, we have got no less than six references to cover here. But it pays to briefly touch upon the Radiomir’s history. The story starts in 1916 when Panerai first use the name “Radiomir” to describe a radium-based luminous substance. The company then filed a patent to protect the exclusivity of this self-luminescent paste.

It took until 1935 before we saw anything resembling a Radiomir watch. Panerai developed a watch (ref. 2533) on a Rolex base, specifically for the Italian Royal Navy. The concept was further refined during the 1940s, resulting in ref. 3636. The large 47mm cushion case featured welded wire lugs and a Cortebert/Rolex caliber 618. A fully lumed lower dial was covered with an anodized aluminum black dial with cutouts for the indices. Thus, the characteristic sandwich dial was born. Later, in 1958, Panerai delivered a watch to the Egyptian Navy that featured the Angelus SF240 caliber. This hand-wound caliber had an impressive eight-day power reserve.

Most early Radiomir models were exclusively produced for the Italian Navy, and there was no production for civilian use. It wasn’t until 1993 that Panerai started releasing versions of its later Luminor and Mare Nostrum to the general public. A civilian version of the Radiomir would follow in a 1998 commemorative re-edition in platinum. This was a statement of intent by the Vendôme group (later Richemont), which had acquired Panerai in 1997: the house would be repositioned as a luxury watch brand.

Panerai Radiomir 8 Giorni PAM01347 and PAM01348

As you can see from the quick overview above, the eight-day power reserve is something important for Panerai. Those watches from 1958 featured “8 Giorni Brevettato” (meaning “8 days patented”) on the dial. Panerai’s modern proprietary hand-wound caliber P.5000 also boasts an eight-day reserve. For this reason, we still see that seal proudly sitting on the dial of these new PAM01347 and PAM01348 models.

These two new models are based on the existing PAM00992. They share the same 45mm case, sub-seconds at nine, and “8 Giorni” seal at three. They also maintain the 100m water resistance and the display case back. Lastly, the new watches also share the PA00992’s sandwich dial and blued hands.

The new models, however, feature your choice of a brown (PAM01347) or blue (PAM01348) dégradé dial. The cases are made out of “Brunito eSteel.” This is part of Panerai’s sustainability efforts and comprises up to 95% recycled steel scraps. The “brunito” part refers to the worn look resulting from the combination of PVD coating and weathering. It is the watch equivalent of a pair of stonewashed jeans. The PAM01347 and PAM01348 are priced at €9,900 and are exclusively available through Panerai boutiques.

PAM01349 California Dial

Next, we have a fashionable variation on the theme set by the PAM01347 and PAM01348 in this new PAM01349. This version is fitted with a textured green dégradé dial. This time, there is no sandwich dial but instead the quirky “California” style with recessed cream numerals and a gold minute track. Panerai has omitted the sub-seconds register and “8 Giorni” seal for a clean two-hander layout.

This dial style is native to Panerai and Rolex. It was first used during WWII to improve readability. These dials were called “Error Proof” or “High Visibility” dials. It is counter-intuitive to make dials more complicated to improve readability, but you can hardly deny that it works.

Beyond the dial, this PAM01349 is the same as the PAM01347 and PAM01348. They share the same 45mm Brunito eSteel case and P.5000 caliber. The strap is different, though, featuring embossed “G. Panerai e Figlio” text and ecru stitching. The PAM01349 is exclusively available through Panerai boutiques for a price of €12,500.

Panerai Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech PAM01026

Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech PAM01026

Next, we take things into slightly more formal territory with the rose gold PAM01026. This is a Quaranta (Italian for “forty”) model, referring to the 40mm case. Paired with a thickness of just over 10mm, that makes for a much more wearable silhouette than the more historically authentic larger models. The case’s shape, however, very much maintains the instantly recognizable Radiomir style.

Panerai Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech PAM01026

The Quaranta is executed in Panerai’s Goldtech, an alloy of gold with a unique ratio of platinum and copper. This provides a striking red color. It is paired with a silver sunburst dial for a more formal and luxurious aesthetic.

Powering the Radiomir PAM01026 is caliber P.900. This is an automatic movement with sub-seconds at nine and the date at three. The caliber can be admired through a sapphire case back. The more dressy appearance does come at a cost, though: water resistance is rated at 5ATM. The PAM01026 comes on a matte brown alligator strap and is priced at €18,500.

Radiomir Annual Calendar PAM01363 and PAM01432

Lastly, we have a duo of Radiomir annual calendars. That’s right, the military tool is now equipped with a rather lofty complication, executed in your choice of gold or platinum. The PAM01363 and PAM01432 measure 45mm across. The Goldtech version features a dégradé blue dial, while the platinum model has one in dégradé red.

Panerai Radiomir Annual Calendar PAM01426

Inside ticks the automatic caliber P.9010/AC. It features sub-seconds at nine and the day and date at three. Interestingly, the month is indicated on a rotating disc around the dial’s perimeter. A little triangle at three points out the current month. It clicks over instantly at midnight when the new month begins. The months are displayed in Panerai’s characteristic font. The current month, however, is displayed on its side as it passes the indicator, which is a bit odd. Admittedly, the font would probably have to be too small if it were rotated 90 degrees.

Panerai Radiomir Annual Calendar PAM01326

The blue PAM01363 in rose gold (Goldtech) is priced at €40,000. The platinum (Platinumtech) PAM01432 comes in at €90,000. Both are boutique exclusives.

First impressions of the new Panerai Radiomir additions

The new Radiomir collection contains a little something for everyone, whether it is the more fashion-forward weathered models or the complicated precious-metal versions. My favorite is the California dial by some margin. But while the Brunito eSteel is lovely, I must say that I prefer to see Panerai watches in their most basic form with a polished steel case and a black dial. Unfortunately, I do not think my first Panerai is in this drop.

As I mentioned, the precious metal ones aren’t for me either, but I do think the annual calendars have a nicely distinct look of their own. The brand has undoubtedly succeeded in putting the Panerai sauce over the annual calendar complication. For more information on these new models and the rest of the brand’s lineup, visit the official Panerai website.

You can also find and follow me on Instagram: @time_travelers_journal