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

2 comments:

  1. Blancpain also have 3 barrels in their movements (5215) that provide 120 hours reserve ( a bit less than 8 days).

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  2. Hi, has anyone had problems with the paint chipping off the winder? The winder seems to be painted rather than composite.

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