For 2015, has a few interesting new watches, but my favorite is the Panerai Radiomir Firenze 3 Days Acciaio 47mm aka PAM00604 (PAM604). This is really a watch for collectors, and Panerai has made especially sure that the PAM604 very much fits into Panerai lore, being available for sale exclusively in the brand’s flagship boutique store in Florence, Italy, or Firenze in Italian – the city where the Panerai brand started. Hence the name of the watch “Radiomir Firenze.”
Visually, what makes the Panerai Radiomir Firenze 3 Days Acciaio PAM604 unique is the lovely engraving all over the case and crown. This is really where the artistic value of the watch shines – but more on that in a moment. The Panerai Radiomir Firenze 3 Days Acciaio PAM604 really begins with the brand’s seminal case and dial design from the mid 1930s that it produced for timepieces in collaboration with Rolex. To this day, the Radiomir case is incredibly attractive, and personally, still my favorite Panerai case offering.
The gold-toned hands, matching the tan color lume, sandwiched between the black dial planes makes for an extremely classic look. Especially when the dial is wonderfully symmetrical with just the hour and minute hands. This is the dress equivalent of a sports watch. Panerai even uses their plexiglass crystal versus sapphire – which, while more delicate, is traditional, and does add a certain warmth absent from the pure clarity of sapphire crystals.
Even though the Radiomir case is 47mm wide, it does not wear as large as one might expect. This is mostly because of the bar-style lugs which do not really jut out (as they do on the Radiomir 1940 case style). That means the lug-to-lug length on the watch isn’t dramatically more than the case width. This, in addition to the flat caseback makes for an extremely comfortable fit on the wrist when it comes to the Radiomir 47mm case (which is water resistant to 100 meters).
Inside the watch is one of Panerai’s first in-house movements known as the calibre P.3000. Manually wound, this 3Hz frequency manually would movement has a power reserve of three days (72 hours). With just the time displayed in hours and minutes, the dial of the Panerai Radiomir Firenze 3 Days Acciaio PAM604 is about as simple as you can expect – and with that simplicity comes a large degree of elegance. The movement is also very nicely designed and finished being visible through the sapphire crystal caseback window on the rear of the watch.
The full name of the PAM604 is Panerai Radiomir Firenze 3 Days Acciaio. For those who aren’t familiar with Italian, “acciaio” simply translates into steel – which is the case material. I really don’t know why this term needed to be added to the name of the watch, but perhaps there is a reason I am not familiar with – though it does seem a bit unnecessary.
There are many people who are far more educated when it comes to each and every limited edition Panerai watch out there, but I am rather sure that this watch has been produced in the recent past by Panerai already. What is unique for 2015 is the engravings on the case. While not new, engraved-case Panerai watches are very uncommon – though you do see them show up as limited edition or piece unique models once in a while.
Panerai claims that a single artist must work for about a week to produce the decoration on the steel case – which is extra tough because the case is in fact in steel. Most metals which are engraved in the world of watch making are brass or 18k gold, because they are softer. The hardness of steel makes it more difficult to engrave and requires special tools. Such tools make for a less forgiving engraving experience, so the artists need to be very careful, because mistakes can mean they need to start over again.
The tactile experience of the engraving is very fine. Running your finger over the work doesn’t allow you to really feel the engravings, which is nice. They are filled in with a black material which not only adds a welcome contrast to seeing the work, but also protects the engravings over time. The overall presentation is very good and akin to what you’d find on high-end engraved blades and guns.
From a design perspective, the engravings are a nice mixture of the traditional, yet appropriate for the design of such a masculine watch. There is a floral motif – but just a little bit. I do find the designs to be extremely tasteful and like how Panerai was able to find space all over the dial surface as well as the crown. The only place I felt engravings were lacking was on the strap buckle. This would have been a really nice touch to help round-out the experience. Perhaps Panerai will remedy this before the limited edition pieces are delivered.
Panerai has limited the PAM00604 Radiomir Firenze 3 Days Acciaio watch to 99 pieces, and again they are exclusively available in the Panerai boutique in Florence, Italy. Collectors who make the trip to Florence to pick one of these up will have a treat which combines the elegantly traditional experience of the bare-bones Radiomir with the decorative appeal of the case engravings. Again, there isn’t inherently anything new, but rather a new flavor – which is exactly how Panerai prefers it. Price for the Panerai Radiomir Firenze 3 Days Acciaio PAM604 watch is about 17,000 euros. panerai.com