Going back a year or so I had my first taste of Panerai when I traded a Daytona for a Luminor PAM233. The 233 was actually a stunning watch but it was possibly a little too clunky for my relatively small wrist; in any event, whilst I really did like it I accepted a request to reverse the trade a few weeks later. I really missed that watch (and still do) but in part it was because of the movement – a hand wound in-house calibre with three barrels providing an 8-day power reserve. Spectacular, actually, but even when I owned the watch I was looking at the Radiomirs that were of similar quality. The one that struck a chord was the 268 but I soon pretty much forgot about it. Until, that is, I was offered one in a trade a week or so ago… and what a long week it was, because it was only yesterday that I met yet another WIS for the deal to be concluded.
The PAM268 was only the third Radiomir to be fitted with an in-house movement (the other two – the PAM200 and the PAM201 – were both Special editions from 2005). The movement in all three was the Calibre P.2002, which took it’s name from the year in which Panerai launched it’s project to produce fully in-house movements from it’s Manufacture in Neuchatel. It’s a pretty thing to, as you can see…
Here’s what Officine Panerai has to say about it:
The P.2002 calibre consists of 247 components; it has 21 jewels and a thickness of 6.6 millimetres. Hand-wound and with a power reserve of 8 days with linear indicator on the dial, it has the characteristics peculiar to all the calibres of the P.2000 series: great structural strength; three spring barrels; rapid adjustment of local time; free-sprung balance; balance wheel oscillating at 28,800 alternations per hour (a frequency which is unusual in a movement with a large power reserve).
The three spring barrels in series, the design of which is an Officine Panerai patent, ensures the delivery of an even, optimal force which remains stable for 8 days, thus delivering a force which is constant for all the days of the power reserve.
So, beautiful on the inside, and to my mind beautiful on the outside too. The Radiomirs are all pretty large (this one is 45mm, like my 380) but they have a knack of wearing much more easily than one might think. The wire lugs don’t really add to the size of the case, and the shape itself means that the head sits pretty low on the wrist. The main visual differences with this one (when compared to the 380) are all on the dial; it’s a sandwich dial on the 268, and of course there’s a power reserve and a date window. In fact, with the additional logo on the 380 the two watches look very different, for all their similarities.
You may also be wondering how the 268 compares to the 233 I mentioned earlier (or, of course, you may not). Well, the particular iteration of the movement in the 268 (the P.2002/3) has no GMT function and no seconds reset; having said that, the fact that the hour hand moves in one-hour increments kind of negates the loss of a second time zone, at least in as much as you can change zones without having to mess with the minute hand. The biggest difference, though, is in respect of the case because the Radiomir and Luminor models look nothing like each other from that perspective. For me, the Radiomir is far better in terms of size and fit, but obviously both have their merits and both are in their own way rather lovely.
Right, that’s enough nonsense, so here are a few photos 🙂