PANERAI RADIOMIR WATCHES
Adored by seafaring men, Paneri Radiomir watches were originally designed in the 1930s for the divers and commandos of the Italian Navy. Today's Panerai Radiomir timepieces look just as classic as the originals, and constituted a huge step forward in the history of watchmaking, every bit functional yet comfortable to wear. In addition, Panerai watches often sport a simple, highly contrasting dial which has been designed to increase clarity when reading the time, especially in poor light conditions or even underwater. Wearing a Panerai constitutes a statement of demanding high quality, a love of the sea and an appreciation of Italian design wedded to careful Swiss craftsmanship.
Introduced in 1997, the Radiomir collection is regarded as one of the two pillars of the current Panerai catalogue, alongside the Luminor. The contemporary collection was inspired by a series of military tool watches, which were given to divers and commandos in the Italian Navy during the 1930s.
Panerai Radiomir models are classed as sports watches, but their classic design makes them suitable for use with dressier attire as well. In this article, we take a more in-depth look at the history of the Radiomir collection.
The first Radiomir Model
The first Radiomir model, the PAM00021, was unveiled in 1997 and released on a 60 unit limited edition basis. It followed on from the success of the Luminor collection and the inspiration for its design came from the pre-World War II Panerai Reference 3646, which was used by the Italian military.
Like that model, the Radiomir had a cushion-shaped case, measuring 47mm in diameter, and was powered by a Rolex movement. Its case was constructed from platinum and the watch also had wire loop strap attachments and a leather alligator strap. In terms of functions, the watch simply displayed the hours and minutes in analogue.
Two years later, the collection was expanded by the release of the Radiomir Chrono Split-Seconds (PAM00047), which was limited to just 20 units. This steel model had a 40mm case, and benefited from a Chronograph movement and a split-seconds function, while a tachymetric scale around the edge of the dial added to its sporty appearance.
In 2000, the PAM00062 model was introduced and became the first model in the collection with more than 1,000 units released. It maintained the 40mm size of the Chrono Split-Seconds, but was stylistically similar to the PAM00021, with its minimalist dial. It was also the first Radiomir model to have a white gold case, while the watch was powered by the Panerai OP VII movement. In 2001, the PAM00103 in rose gold also joined the collection.
Panerai Radiomir Innovations
The Panerai Radiomir continued to evolve with the release of the PAM00141 in 2002. The stainless steel model had a 42mm case, a small seconds sub-dial and a date display window. It was given a standard release, with production continuing for around a year. It was then followed by the release of the PAM000147 and PAM000158, both of which were split seconds chronograph models, made from rose gold and platinum, respectively.
In 2003, the brand released the limited edition Radiomir Chrono 44mm (PAM00163), which was made from stainless steel and had a chronograph movement and a date display window. That was followed a year later by the short-lived Radiomir GMT (PAM00184) and then Radiomir 8 Days (PAM00190), which had an eight day power reserve.
A new base version of the Radiomir (PAM00210) was released in 2005 and production of this particular model would continue all the way until 2012. It featured a 45mm case, was powered by the calibre OP X movement and was available in steel or rose gold. A version with a rattrapante chronograph was also released the same year.
New Panerai Radiomir Collection
The year 2007 saw the release of a new Radiomir Chronograph model (PAM00288), which was made from stainless steel, had a 45mm case and was powered by the OP XII movement. It was limited to 700 pieces. A year later, a new Radiomir Titanium model (PAM00309) with a 47mm case was also introduced to the manufacturer's catalogue.
In the years since, the Panerai Radiomir collection has continued to grow, with various new models offering additional functions. Examples of this include the Radiomir 1/8 Second, which features a foudroyante hand that can display 1/8 of a second, and the Radiomir Tourbillon GMT Titanio, which was the first Radiomir model to feature an in-house tourbillon movement, the P.2005, as well as a second time zone display on the dial.
More recently, 2016 saw the release of the Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio Brevettato Tropical (PAM00687); a model designed to pay direct tribute to the Reference 3646. It has a 47mm case, features a tropical dial and a 12-sided engraved bezel, and is powered by the in-house P.3000 calibre movement.