Panerai’s Radiomir 1940 10 Days GMT Automatic Oro Rosso PAM624 is birthed in one world, for another
We generalise about everything, and stuff information into neat little boxes in our heads in order to cope with complexity in daily life. And we are generally happy with things being as simple as we choose to think them, paying no mind to the subtleties we miss – what we don’t perceive, we cannot appreciate, and that’s that. We only realise something is amiss when complexity previously unaccounted for, creates consequences that we were in too great a hurry to anticipate. In other words, when reality bites us in the rear.
Better and safer to revel in complexity, then; to take more time to discover the world around us, and the people who populate and move it. And complexity is a quality that our cover watch embodies with such flair and poise.
At its root, a Panerai watch is a war machine on one’s wrist. Not a general issue field watch that soldiers can purchase from the gift shop on a military base, but instruments issued to elite navy commandos who waged unconventional warfare underlined by stealth and secrecy. General issue is not necessarily inferior, but specialist equipment intended for combat action behind enemy lines is necessarily tested to a higher level, motivated at least by the wearer’s desire to stay alive. And then, there’s the exclusivity and novelty. It took a long time for Panerai to reach the general civilian consumer. Some six decades from when it first began life on the wrists of men who fought from the shadows. What a story; so quaint, potent and masculine. A crystallisation of purpose, informed by the sensuousness of Italian design.
But if Panerai had crept towards general market release with the gentle pace of a human torpedo, which its first wearers once rode to war, Panerai in recent years has blazed the path of a manufacture with blitzkrieg speed, vision and resolve, creating watches with innovative materials and finish, and developing inhouse movements at a rate few companies dare contemplate.
The Radiomir 1940 on our cover doesn’t look very different from the original of the 1930s. The hallmark cushion case and sandwich dial remains, as well as the lovely, loopy numerals. But in losing the wire lugs (a tweak Panerai introduced in 1940), and casing it in rose gold with brown sunburst dial, while shedding a few millimetres, Panerai has transformed the Radiomir from the granddaddy of tool watches, to something altogether urbane, sophisticated, and dare we say it, dressy.
Inside, the refinement continues. Note that Panerai’s first in-house automatic movement used here goes beyond basic functionality, but is a highly evolved calibre boasting GMT, seconds reset, and 10 days of power reserve; tastefully skeletonised to reveal a lot of its innards.
A dress watch through and through, with tool watch underpinnings and deep technical sophistication, PAM624 is beauty that frustrates easy categorisation.