Friday, July 31, 2009

PAM21 - The grail of grails

I was honored by a request to come to New York to shoot Panerai photos for a Paneristi calendar project this month. I shot several of the most interesting vintage and modern Panerai watches. It is out of the question to show any of the photos before the calendar is officially made public, but I can post a photo of one of the watches that will be featured in the calendar - the Panerai PAM21.

This watch is considered to be the grail of all Panerai grails by collectors and enthusiasts. I'm sure that its current value - more than 200,000 US Dollars - has something to do with its grail status and desirability. And of course the watch is most truthful to the historic roots of the vintage Panerai ref. 3646. But I do feel that this is in fact one of the most beautiful Panerai watches ever produced. It's simply breath taking in person.

Panerai PAM 21 Radiomir
Panerai PAM21 Special Edition Radiomir 1997

The PAM21 is the first special edition Vendome Panerai watch that was produced in 1997. The watch is a 47mm Radiomir with a platinum case and a hand-wound period Rolex movement. Only 60 units were produced. The dial is a beautiful shade of (tobacco) brown, quite unlike the brown of its little brother the PAM232 - a 2006 SE watch remake of the PAM21.

Panerai PAM 21 case back
Case back of the PAM21 showing its period Rolex movement

The 21 originally came with an alligator strap that was sewn to the case. That means that you cannot change straps without cutting the original strap. Some watches were however supplied without the strap, because of import/customs problems with regards to exotic leathers at the time.

Related posts

An overview of Panerai watches on this blog

Photo © 2009 M.Wilmsen


  1. What a beautiful movement. What I'd give for a SS one!

  2. looks like a watch? Does it tell time differently than my $20 casio?

  3. Yes it does. It tells the same time, but it tells it differently, - with elegance, and class, and je ne sais quoi. This your Casio can never achieve.