Saturday, January 30, 2010

PAM339 Radiomir Composite - Panerai leads and others will follow

The SIHH 2010 is a great year for Panerai enthusiasts. It has been a while since Panerai introduced such a huge number of new interesting models. And although Panerai is known for watches with a military look and a simple dial layout, the company shows that they can compete at the levels of haute horlogerie and that they are a very innovative company. The watch that undoubtedly impacted the loyal Panerai followers the most this year, is one of Panerai's most aesthetic watches - the PAM339 Radiomir Composite Marina Militare.

Panerai 339 Radiomir Composite Marina Militare
Panerai PAM339 Radiomir Composite Marina Militare

Panerai Composite is a material that is the result of an electrochemical process of ceramization of aluminum. This material is harder than steel and titanium and it is even up to 40% harder than ceramic. Its weight is much lighter too. Panerai composite is virtually resistant to scratching or denting, but the material is nonetheless much easier to work with.

Panerai 339 Radiomir Composite Marina Militare
Side view of the case of the PAM339

As opposed to ceramic, Panerai composite is very suitable for complex and precise machining. Obviously a huge benefit for watch making. An interesting fact is that Panerai managed to mill the case and bezel out of one piece (photo above). This implies that the bezel cannot be removed from the case. That does make me wonder how the crystal is removed when necessary - but I'm sure that the Panerai engineers came up with some clever solution.

The material itself is not new, nor is it a Panerai invention. It has been used for years already in the aeronautic industry and in other industries where high performance and reliable materials are of great importance. But Panerai are the first to use this material in watch making and I'm absolutely sure that other watch companies will be introducing their own composite watches next year. Panerai leads, others follow.

Panerai 339 Radiomir Composite Marina Militare
Panerai PAM339 Radiomir Composite Marina Militare

Besides the technical importance of the new materials used, the watch is simply stunning. Panerai have managed to combine innovation and history in this new special edition Radiomir. The dial reads Marina Militare and it has the circular 8 giorni brevettato logo - derived from the vintage Panerai watches with a mechanical Angelus movement and an eight days power reserve. The hand-wound mechanical movement is the new P.2002/7 calibre which is entirely made by Panerai. It has of course an eight day (8 giorni) power reserve to keep with its historical military roots. The design of the movement incorporates three spring barrels to achieve an eight day power reserve. This is - to my knowledge - unique to Panerai and introduced with the first Panerai Manifattura movements in 2006 (I series). Interestingly this watch has no power reserve indicator, not on the dial and not on the back - the watch does not have a see through case back.

Panerai 339 Radiomir Composite Marina Militare
The 8 giorni brevettato logo on the dial

The 47mm Radiomir case may appear to be black in photos, it is actually dark brown - like its dial. The brown color is not the same as the color used for the tobacco brown dials of e.g. the PAM36, PAM203 and PAM267. Panerai are making only 1,000 units of this special edition watch. But rumor has it that a few hundred more watches will be produced because the demand is so much higher than expected (this is not confirmed). So maybe it does make sense to try and get yourself on one of those lists after all ;). The list price is approximately 15,000 USD.

The Radiomir Composite comes with a beautiful vintage looking strap. The color of the strap perfectly matches the color of the case, dial and large sized buckle (below). The buckle is made from the same composite material that is used to mill the case.

Panerai 339 Radiomir Composite Marina Militare
Large size buckle and vintage style strap

All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen - taken at the 2010 SIHH in Geneva
Do not copy without permission

Related posts

PAM300 Mare Nostrum 52mm
Black is beautiful, the 317 vs the new ceramic 335
SIHH 2010 Panerai novelties
An overview of all watch posts

Thursday, January 28, 2010

PAM300 Panerai Mare Nostrum 52mm

Panerai collectors have been longing for a re-edition of the Panerai Mare Nostrum for years. This year their dream came true as Panerai presented the 2010 Special Edition PAM300 at the Geneva SIHH.

Panerai 2010 PAM300 Mare Nostrum 52mm
Panerai 2010 PAM300 Mare Nostrum 52mm

The original Mare Nostrum is one of Panerai's most rare watches. It was designed for deck officers of the Italian Navy in 1943. The watch however never made the intended production process and - as far as documented - only three prototypes were made. It was unknown what happened to these three prototypes and all documentation was lost when Florence was flooded in the sixties - until one of the watches was offered for sale at Christies in 2005. Officine Panerai bought the watch for their museum for the sum of 85,000 Euro. You can find further information re this sale on Christies under Important pocket watches and wristwatches.

Panerai 2010 PAM300 Mare Nostrum 52mm
PAM300 Mare Nostrum 52mm

Panerai did already reproduce the Mare Nostrum in 1993 but the new 2010 PAM300 is made to more exactly meet the specifications of the original Mare Nostrum. The case of the PAM300 has the same shape and size (52mm) as the WWII original and the dial looks very similar. Except that tritium was used on the indices of the original watch. The watch - like the original - has a sandwich dial. The color of the luminova on the new PAM300 does seem to match the color of the original watch quite closely. Panerai did a great job on the olive green canvas strap too.

PAM300 green canvas strap and buckle
PAM300 green canvas strap and buckle

The PAM300 has a Panerai OP XXV movement - based on a Minerva movement (photo below). The original Mare Nostrum had an Angelus movement. You can admire the beautiful movement through the crystal case back. The original Mare has a closed case back.

Panerai 2010 PAM300 Mare Nostrum case back
The Minerva based movement is visible through the case back crystal

PAM300 case back
PAM300 case back

The aforementioned earlier reproductions of the Mare Nostrum are the Pre-Vendome 5218-301/A (10 prototypes in 1993 - photos below), the 5218-302 Slytech Mare Nostrum (50 units with a blue dial in 1995) and the 5218-304 (50 units with a plain bezel in 1995). Note that the case back of the 5218-304 is marked xxx/500 but only 50 units were produced. All three models have an ETA based movement and a 42mm case. Although these watches are based on the looks of the original Mare Nostrum - they weren't designed using the specifications or measurements of the original 1942 chronograph.

Below are two photos of the 1993 edition of the Mare Nostrum 5218-301/A. Perhaps not an exact replica of the original Mare Nostrum, but definitely a collectors piece.

Panerai Pre Vendome Mare Nostrum 5218-301/A from 1993
Panerai Pre Vendome (1993) Mare Nostrum 5218-301/A

Panerai Pre Vendome Mare Nostrum 5218-301/A from 1993
Click the photos for a larger version

I can imagine that although the PAM300 is a beautiful and unique collectors item - some people may be a little bit disappointed by the fact that it is such a good copy of the original 1942 Mare Nostrum. With its 52mm case, this is not exactly a watch that many people can actually wear.

Panerai 2010 PAM300 Mare Nostrum 52mm
Click the photos for a larger version

All photos of the PAM300 were taken at the Geneva SIHH 2010.

All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen
Artwork in photos of the 5218-301/A © 2010 E.Tay
Do not copy without permission

Related posts

SIHH 2010 Panerai novelties
The new 2010 ceramic PAM335

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Black is beautiful, the 317 vs the new ceramic 335

Panerai introduced the ceramic PAM317 (Luminor 1950 Ceramic 8 Days Chrono Monopulsante GMT) at the 2009 SIHH. It was an instant success with its beautiful mat black ceramic case and its stunning PVD coated movement which can be admired through the case back crystal.

Panerai Ceramic PAM317
The PAM317 introduced at the 2009 SIHH

The production process of the PAM317 has however proven to be very complicated and time consuming. This has caused major delays in the production process. At this moment all units (500 for 2009) still haven't been shipped. Ceramic is of course an extremely hard material which requires a production process that is very different to that of steel. At first problems were reported with regards to drilling the holes for the crown and the mono pusher.

The biggest delays surprisingly don't have to do with problems regarding the ceramic case, but with the PVD coating of the movement. Allegedly 80% percent of all movements that were made for the 317 did not make it through Panerai's quality assurance tests.

Panerai Ceramic PAM335 and PAM317
The PAM317 (left) next to the new ceramic PAM335

Panerai now seem to have the production process of the ceramic cases under control and they presented their all new ceramic PAM335 at this year's SIHH in Geneva. This time no chronograph functions, so one less hole to drill. A PVD coated movement was obviously out of the question considering the problems this has caused with the PAM317.

Panerai Ceramic PAM335 and PAM317
The "smoked" crystal on the PAM335 case back

But the Panerai engineers did want a similar look and feel and so they came up with a "smoked crystal" for the case back (photo above). As opposed to coating the movement itself, the crystal has been treated with a dark coating instead.

Panerai Ceramic PAM317 and PAM335 case backs
A comparison shot of both case backs

Definitely a clever solution, although I have to admit that in my opinion the looks of the PAM317's case back do beat that of the PAM335. That's mostly because of the large rotor for the automatic movement, it looks great but not as sexy as those coated bridges of the 317. Nonetheless, I would be surprised if the new PAM335 is not going to be a smash hit. I don't know the production numbers of the 335 but I wouldn't be surprised if all units are already accounted for.

Panerai Ceramic PAM317 case back
The stunning case back of the PAM317

As the PAM335 is a ceramic version of the popular PAM270, it has the same Panerai Manifattura P.2003 movement - an automatic mechanical movement entirely made by Panerai. It has a 10 day power reserve which is made possible by use of three spring barrels. The dial has the unique horizontal power reserve indicator (aka Fang) that you can also find on for instance the PAM233 and PAM268.

Panerai Ceramic PAM335
The PAM335 Luminor 1950 10 Days Ceramic GMT

Note that the case back is made out of titanium. I was under the impression that this was new but the case back of the 317 is also made out of titanium. As opposed to what's written on some websites, the crown guard is ceramic, not PVD steel. This is true for both the 317 and the 335.

Panerai Ceramic PAM335
The luminova is cream colored and the numbers are slightly smaller

It doesn't show clearly in these photos that I took at the SIHH in Geneva, but the color of the luminova is definitely cream colored. The photo above does show this a little bit. The numbers are also just a bit smaller than the numbers of e.g. the 270 and 317. I'm not 100% sure but I think that the shape of the numbers is also different.

All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen
Do not copy without permission

Related posts

PAM317 Ceramic Panerai 1950 Chrono Monopulsante
PAM292 Ceramic Panerai Radiomir black seal
SIHH 2010 Panerai novelties

Sunday, January 24, 2010

SIHH 2010 Panerai novelties

The accommodating people of the Richemont/Panerai Amsterdam office allowed me to take photos on site during the SIHH in Geneva. I made some composites of the pictures that I took of the new Panerai line-up.

You can click the photos for the large version.

The first watch in this post is the PAM29. A special edition of 500 units. Panerai did a great job on this one. It's much nicer than I thought it would be - I've never been a fan of the original one but I've never seen that watch in person.

Special Edition 2010 Panerai PAM29
Special Edition 2010 PAM29 Luminor GMT

Below is the new PAM323 Radiomir 10 days GMT with the automatic P.2003/5 in-house calibre and its circular power reserve indicator on the dial.

Panerai PAM323 Radiomir 10 days GMT
PAM323 Radiomir 10 days GMT

Another 2010 Special Edition is the PAM343 Radiomir Regatta 1/8 second. Its automatic mechanical OP XXI movement is housed in a 47mm titanium case. 500 units will be produced.

Panerai Special Edition 2010 - Radiomir Regatta 1/8 second
Radiomir Regatta 1/8 second PAM343

One of my personal favorites is the PAM346 Radiomir 8 days. It has a stunning brown dial and an 8 days power reserve - but there is no power reserve indicator on the dial. The case is 45mm and made of brushed titanium. I think this watch is to replace the 268.

PAM346 Radiomir 8 days
PAM346 Radiomir 8 days

Another new watch with a brown dial is the PAM351 - Luminor Marina 1950 3 days automatic. It is very similar to the PAM312 that was introduced last year, but the case is made of titanium and the hands are gold. This is a stunning piece. There is also a bracelet version, the PAM352.

PAM351 Luminor Marina 1950 3 days automatic
PAM351 Luminor Marina 1950 3 days automatic"

Below is the 42mm Radiomir GMT alarm, the new PAM355. Probably not the most popular new watch amongst the Paneristi, but this is truly a beautiful watch.

Radiomir GMT alarm - PAM355
PAM355 Radiomir GMT alarm

Another interesting new watch is the PAM359. This watch is more or less similar to the older PAM164 in terms of how its dial looks. My guess is that people that are new to brand will be attracted to this watch more than the Panerai collectors. As far as I know this is the first 1950's case that is entirely polished. The Luminova is beige/brownish which does look really nice. This watch has a killer strap, the color of the stitches matches the color of the indices.

PAM359 Luminor Marina 1950 3 days automatic
PAM359 Luminor Marina 1950 3 days automatic

The PAM361 44mm Luminor Chrono flyback.

PAM361 44mm Luminor Chrono flyback
PAM361 44mm Luminor Chrono flyback

A very special piece that was introduced during this SIHH is the PAM365 L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT. It has an "equation of time indicator" and a sunrise and a sunset indicator on the outer flange. The case is 50mm.

PAM365 L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT
PAM365 L'Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT

Another 2010 special edition is the PAM300 Mare Nostrum. The watch is 52mm and a thing of beauty that will be appreciated by many collectors. Is it a watch that you can actually wear? I couldn't. But if I could afford it I'd buy it if only to stare at its beautiful movement.

PAM300 Mare Nostrum
PAM300 Mare Nostrum

Another Panerai novelty is the PAM348 - Lo Scienziato Radiomir Tourbillon GMT 48mm. More impressive in person than in pictures. This isn't a watch, it's art. It may or may not have that Panerai DNA but this is watch is really something else. 30 pieces only and priced at 140,000 Euro if I remember it well - but already sold out. Sorry ;)

348 - Lo Scienziato Radiomir Tourbillon GMT 48mm
PAM348 Lo Scienziato Radiomir Tourbillon GMT 48mm

The new PAM335 can be seen as a PAM270 in a ceramic case. This is a watch that I didn't want to take off my wrist. The movement is not PVD coated like it is on the 317 because the production process has proven to be too complicated. This watch has a darkened case back crystal instead to achieve a similar look.

PAM335 Luminor 1950 10 Days GMT
PAM335 Luminor 1950 10 Days GMT

Sadly I have only a few pictures of the pink gold PAM336 (below). I did take more pictures of the other new 42mm Radiomirs, but errors on my camera's memory card caused me to have lost those.

PAM336 Radiomir 42mm
PAM336 Radiomir 42mm

The star of the show for the Paneristi is of course the PAM339 - Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni. A watch that is very special in many different ways. The 47mm case is made out of a new material called "Panerai composite", which is allegedly even harder than ceramic. The watch is very light in weight. The color of both the case and the dial is brown. The bezel and the case are made out of one piece. The in-house Panerai P.2002/7 movement has an eight day power reserve. The watch is limited to 1000 units but who knows, a few hundred more wouldn't surprise me at all. It would make sense to me.

PAM339 - Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni
PAM339 - Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni

All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen
Do not copy photos without permission

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Panerai Radiomir Egiziano

With the 2010 SIHH coming soon, it's time to look back at one of the most special watches that was introduced at last year's SIHH - The PAM341 Radiomir Egiziano. This re-edition of the original Egiziano from the 1950's, is probably more a collector's item than a watch that one would actually wear. At least I don't think that many people can pull off wearing this watch with its whopping 60mm titanium case (75mm lug-to-lug). Besides Sylvester Stallone that is. There actually are photos to be found on the Internet showing Sly wearing the watch and looking good with it too.

PAM341 Panerai Radiomir Egiziano
PAM341 2009 re-edition of the Radiomir Egiziano

The original Egiziano was produced exclusively for the Egyptian navy in the 1950's. Hence the name Big Egiziano or Big Egyptian. Egiziano is Italian for Egyptian and where Big comes from is fairly obvious. The original model reference for the watch was GPF 2/56. The size and thickness of the watch can be explained by the requirements of the Egyptian navy, they wanted a big and indestructible diving watch that could take some serious punishment during daily use. The original watch was equipped with an Angelus 240 SF movement with an 8 day power reserve. The dial had the 8 giorni brevettato logo (8 days patented). This logo can also be found on the special edition PAM203. Panerai built only an estimated 50 units of the Big Egyptian, making the watch very rare and highly collectible.

PAM341 Panerai Radiomir Egiziano
The dial has the 8 giorni brevettato logo

Panerai also produced another watch for the Egyptian navy in the same time period (circa 1954). This watch is known as the Small Egiziano or Small Egyptian and it has a 47mm case, no crown guard. Its reference number is ref. 6154 and it has a Rolex movement. Like the Big Egiziano, this watch was produced in very small numbers. Members of the Egyptian Naval Forces attended the Commando School of the Italian Navy in the naval base of La Spezia. They requested similar watches as their Italian counterparts. This resulted in the ref. 6154.

I think that many Panerai enthusiasts today are hoping that Panerai are going to release a re-edition of this watch during the upcoming SIHH 2010. I know I would be all over it if would look anything like the original small Egyptian (photo below).

Panerai Ref 6154 aka Small Egiziano
The 47mm Small Egiziano or Small Egyptian (strap by Kevin Rogers)

Contemporary Radiomir watches can be easily recognized by the onion shaped crown and cushion shaped case, as opposed to the patented crown guard that the Luminor watches have. This distinction apparently did not exist in the early days, the Egiziano (both the original and the 2009 version) have the typical crown guard and Luminor style case but are named Radiomir. The Small Egiziano also shows Radiomir on the dial, but it does not have the signature Panerai crown guard. Radiomir was then used because of the radium paint that was used to make the indices light up in the dark.

PAM341 Panerai Radiomir Egiziano
The design of the new PAM341 is akin to that of the original 1950's Egiziano

The looks of the new PAM341 are very true to that of its predecessor, with the exception of the gold colored (brass) hands. The hands of the new Egiziano are black. And of course luminova is used as opposed to radium. Which is a good thing because the radium paint used on the old watches is radio active and simply dangerous. Something that was not known back in the days. It's interesting that although luminova was used, the color of the paint is yellowish/beige rather than green. This was obviously done to give the watch a true vintage/patina look. The PAM341 has a production run of 500 units although originally the intention was to produce only 300 units. An additional 200 units were/are produced because the PAM341 was such a big hit.

The 2009 Egiziano has Panerai's in-house P.2002/7 calibre with a power reserve of eight days and it's entirely executed by Officine Panerai. The list price was 28,500 US Dollar at its introduction.

PAM341 Panerai Radiomir Egiziano
Click the photos for a larger version

If you are interested in vintage Panerai watches, I highly recommend the book Vintage Panerai by Paneristi Ralf Ehlers and Volker Wiegermann. You can order a copy on their website www.vintage-panerai.de.

Related posts

The elusive PAM267 Marina Militare
An overview of watch posts on this blog

All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen
All background art © E.Tay

Do not copy without permission.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The elusive Panerai PAM267 Marina Militare

An opportunity to take photos of a Panerai PAM267 does not come along often. In fact, you won't find many photos of this particular watch at all. Only six watches exist and these were all released in early 2009. The watches are now owned by collectors, not easy to come across and probably never publicly available for resale. Well maybe if you're a taxi driver in Switzerland...

Panerai PAM267 Marina Militare 47mm
The elusive PAM267 Marina Militare 47mm

I've read somewhere that Panerai produced these 6 watches for collectors that weren't able to get their hands on a PAM203. It has the same SF 240 Angelus movement, size, case and crown guard. The 203 was introduced in 2005 with an original distribution list of a mere 150 people. The watch could be bought on invitation by Officine Panerai only and one had to be personally selected by CEO Mr Angelo Bonati. Making an OOR of the 203 would be out of the question. The same would obviously be true for the 267.

Panerai PAM267 Marina Militare and PAM203
The PAM267 next to the PAM203 (on the right)

The movement used in the PAM267 is the original sixty year old and large sized Angelus SF calibre 240. Panerai purchased 200 of these rare movements, refurbished them and slightly upgraded the movements for use in the PAM203 and then the PAM267. This would mean that there are only 44 spare movements left (150 used for the 203 and 6 used for the 267).

Panerai PAM267 photo for Paneristi 2010 calendar
PAM267 photo that is used in the 2010 Paneristi calendar

The PAM267 has a 47mm 1950's Luminor style case, similar to the case of the PAM127 - if not the same. Both the 267 and the 203 have a tobacco brown dial, gold hands, small sub seconds and Reg. Tm. engraved in the crown guard. The 267 has Marina Militare written on the dial underneath the 12, where it reads Luminor Panerai on the 203. The 203 has the circular 8 giorni brevettato logo at the 3 o'clock position which is lacking on the 267. FYI 8 giorni means 8 days and brevettato means patented.

Besides the vintage Panerai watches, the only other 47mm Panerai watch with Marina Militare on the dial is the Destro (left handed) PAM217 which is showing in the photo below.

Panerai PAM267 Marina Militare and PAM217
The PAM267 next to the Destro PAM217 (on the right)

The PAM267 has a Luminova sandwich dial and a domed crystal, the same as the already mentioned PAM203, PAM127 and PAM217. The first photo shows the distortion caused by the domed crystal when you look at the watch at an angle. The domed crystal is both loved and hated because of this distortion, but that's a different story altogether.

Panerai PAM267 Marina Militare
Art in the background of all photos by Eng Tay

Related posts

Panerai 202/A Pre Vendome PVD Marina Militare
Panerai PAM233 and PAM127 compared
Fiddy photos for inspiration
Celebrating ten years of paneristi.com (calendar project)

All photos © M.Wilmsen
Background artwork © E.Tay
Do not copy without permission