The Italian-Swiss watchmaking maison Panerai is not remarked by enthusiasts and industry experts for its calibres innovation. Nevertheless, in recent years it is surprising everyone with the introduction of some interesting novelties. Indeed, new materials have been introduced in the available collections, like the eSteel, which brings Watchmaking closer to the world of environmental sustainability, and Carbotechtm, an extremely durable material made through the compression of thin sheets of carbon fibre. In addition, Panerai has also provided evolution in the field of complex calibres, firstly through the CEO Angelo Bonati then, since 2018, with Jean-Marc Pontrouè.
Topic still little covered today, it seems right to pay tribute to the Maison by presenting one of the most studied and interesting wristwatches offered by Panerai, the Radiomir Tourbillon PAM01284 presented in June 2023 in the newly opened New York Boutique.This model was born out of a long study and taking advantage of Panerai’s experiences with different watches produced in previous years. Let’s start the analysis by the presenting the past models that traced the path to create the new Radiomir Tourbillon Bronze. The first watch to be mentioned is the Submersible ref. PAM00382 47mm introduced in 2011 that opened the market to watches made of bronze. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin that combines its peculiar resistance to corrosion with the ability to react to atmospheric agents and create a particular green patina. This layer results to be unique and a distinctive element of every bronze watch.
Then, we come to the Radiomir Tourbillon Gmt Ceramic 48mm Ref. PAM00350 from “Lo Scienziato” collection dedicated by Panerai to Galileo Galilei. This model is a variation from the “Astronomo”, which was unveiled in 2010 to mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s celestial observations made through the invention of the telescope and it was the first timepiece created by Panerai with a tourbillon regulator. What is absorbed by the new Radiomir Tourbillon is the movement of the PAM00350, which is now made by titanium, making it about 35% lighter than before.
We can assert that the Panerai Radiomir Tourbillon Bronze PAM01284 is a further development of previous creations, combining almost seamlessly Panerai’s recognizable aesthetics and technical avant-garde.
We had the pleasure to discover and try this wristwatch in the Milan boutique with the very experienced Store Manager and his trained associates. This watch is incredibly pleasant on the wrist, too bad about the angst of walking around Milan with an apartment on the wrist. Certainly, we are fortunate that this is a quite unknown watch, much less seen than Rolex or simply the flagship Model of Panerai, such as the Luminor Marina, but gives the joy to enthusiasts like us of being able to enjoy a truly unique piece on wrist. The weight on the wrist is comfortable, and the provided lumen positively passed the legibility test in the dark.
Then, it’s necessary to analyse all the aesthetic and functional features of a work of art to be worn on the wrist. Most Panerai watches made in bronze have been based on the Submersible platform, but since the brand is focusing heavily on its Radiomir collection, it is the 45mm version of the classic Radiomir that now receives the bronze treatment for the new PAM01284. The case is refined with a brushed finish, while we can admire sapphire crystals mounted both on the dial side of the watch and on the titanium case back. Staying true to the classic shape, the new Radiomir Tourbillon Bronze features a conical logo winding crown at 3 o’clock, which screws into the case to ensure the model’s 100-meter water resistance. Finally, a thick, vintage-style leather strap with contrasting cream-colored stitching is attached to the lugs and is completed with a bronze buckle.
The most commonly used dial colour for Panerai’s bronze watches, besides brown and blue, is the military green tone. The new Radiomir Tourbillon Bronze PAM01284 features a partly skeletonized display and the bridges are indeed finished with a dark olive-green coating. Large luminous hour markers are mounted on the outermost circumference of the dial and give the impression of floating on the surface below.
On the other hand, the RADIOMIR PANERAI inscription has been laser-engraved on the inside of the sapphire crystal, giving the appearance of having been painted externally on the sapphire crystal. Three luminescent hands are then noted in the centre of the dial, but since the seconds hand is displayed from a sub-dial at 9 o’clock, the third central hand is actually an additional hour hand to provide the PAM01284 with a secondary time zone indication. To distinguish day and night hours, the additional hour hand receives a corresponding sub-dial at 3 o’clock, with a 24-hour hand indication.
This model, therefore, does not have a real dial and, thanks to the skeletonization, it reveals many elements normally hidden from the wearer’s view. For example, the barrel at 6 o’clock is openworked and shows the spring in various states of tension. In addition, this watch is equipped with two barrels that provide an impressive power reserve of up to 4 days and a dedicated power reserve indicator is visible through the sapphire window on the back of the watch.
The new Radiomir PAM01284 is powered by the hand-wound tourbillon movement Cal. P.2015/T consisting of 256 components and operating at a frequency of 28,800 vph. Moreover, although the movement itself weighs a few grams thanks to large use of titanium, bronze is a rather heavy material, and the cushion-shaped case typical of the Radiomir model, measures a full 45 mm in diameter, so the new PAM01284 is of the same tonnage as the other models made of steel. In addition to having, as we mentioned, a secondary time zone display, accompanied by a dedicated 24-hour day/night indicator, the Panerai Cal. P.2015/T also features a tourbillon that rotates 360° every 30 seconds, along an axis perpendicular to the balance wheel to create an extremely dynamic display, observable on both sides of the watch.
Panerai’s bronze watches are never among the brand’s most affordable models (especially in the grey market) and Swiss watches with tourbillons are categorically quite expensive, regardless of the specific manufacturer that makes them. As it can be imagined, the Panerai Radiomir Tourbillon Bronze PAM01284 is a high-end option within the brand’s catalogue and is sold at an official price of 170.000 Euros. With this six-figure price tag, the new PAM01284 is now the second most expensive Panerai Radiomir currently available, behind only the PAM00600, announced in 2016, and remains something of a flagship piece within the brand’s line.
The complexity of the Panerai Radiomir Tourbillon PAM01284 makes its creation remembered over time, consequently, a rare event.