Not for the first time, a GTG attended by the local WIS community has resulted in an impromptu watch trade. Out went one of my Rolex sports watches, to be replaced by my second Panerai (the first being the magnificent 233, which I still miss).
Until last Sunday I’d never tried on a Radiomir, and whilst they’re sizeable chunks of steel the shape of the case means that they sit very flat on the wrist. The “wire” lugs also lend themselves to the slightly smaller wrist as they don’t really add to the bulk of the watch, and to my mind they’re therefore slightly more wearable than the Luminor range. Aside from that, the Radiomir case mirrors the design of the original models, and therefore has some historical significance.
This one is the “Historic” Radiomir Black Seal Logo (PAM 380), which is a reproduction of the design of the first watch the Officine Panerai produced for the Italian Navy in 1938. The case is polished 316L stainless steel and whilst it’s 45mm without the (signed) crown it actually sits nicely on my fairly small 6.75” wrist with no overhang whatsoever. It has a matt black (painted as opposed to sandwich) dial, with a mixture of baton markers and Arabic numerals (3,6 and 12) and subsidiary seconds at 9. The crystal is a slightly domed 1.9mm sapphire, with AR coating. Water resistance is a very decent 100m and the removable lugs take a 26mm strap, adding to the overall comfort and general sense of wearability.
Inside is the Panerai OPII calibre movement, which is essentially a modified, COSC-certified ETA 6497/2 (the suffix denoting the addition of seconds to the base movement). Details as follows:
· Hand-wound mechanical movement
· 16½ lignes
· 17 jewels
· Bridges personalised by Panerai
· Glucydur® balance
· 21,600 bph
· Incabloc® anti-shock device
· Power reserve 56 hours.
Now, here’s the thing. I am on the lookout for the slightly more esoteric PAM 337, which is also a little smaller at 42mm. However, whilst the 380 is a Base model and was intended to keep me going during what I anticipated would be a long wait, it might just do the trick for me. It’s a fair bit less expensive, wears well despite its larger size and actually seems pretty good as a watch for most occasions. It’s also bloody comfortable, so who knows – maybe it’s a case of itch scratched.