Panerai Radiomir 1940

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Above all, the P.1000 includes a useful zero-reset moments for more precise time-setting: pulling the crown brings the seconds hands to 12 o’clock, and it stays frozen there till the time is set and the crown has been pushed back in. Pricing The Radiomir 1940 42mm in steel is $7400 or even S$10,900, whereas the red gold version is $17,600 or even S$25,900. The Panerai Radiomir 1940 displays hours, minutes and small seconds. Its design language is influenced by historical timepieces and also the brand’s relationship with the Royal Navy. Carl Eady recently enjoyed hands on time with this attractively simple, elegant but masculine timepiece.With product design, a key aspiration must surely be to make a style and form so exceptional it is immediately recognisable, setting it apart from its contemporaries. From the world of horology, one Italian brand has surely mastered this ability, creating watches of such distinction, beauty and simplicity they’re unmistakably ‘Panerai’.Officine Panerai, based by Giovani Panerai in Florence in 1860, opened its initial assumptions on the Ponte alle Grazie at Florence. It was not only a store, ‘Orologeria G. Panerai & C.’ however a watch workshop along with a college of horology. Over several transformational decades, the shop changed its name to ‘Orologeria Svizzera’ and relocated a few times before finally settling at the Palazzo Arcivescovile in Piazza San Giovanni — where Panerai’s flagship shop nevertheless proudly resides.Perhaps the milestone which most firmly put Panerai on the map came in the early 20th century when an acknowledgement of faith in the brand caused a commission from the Italian Royal Navy to make nautical instruments, including mechanical depth gauges and compasses. It was not initially designed for timepieces, but also for making self-luminous sights. So successful was Radiomir that it became embraced for many uses where measurement in rather bad light was required.

Unveiled at Watches&Wonders 2013, the Panerai Radiomir 1940 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT is the first chronograph of the 1940 range, and also features one of the most elaborately decorated movements found on a Panerai.

A cross between the Luminor and Radiomir case styles, the Radiomir 1940 key focus of Panerai’s 2013 line-up. Panerai has now added a chronograph to the line, the Radiomir 1940 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT, available in Oro Rosso (red gold with the reference PAM00502) and Oro Bianco (white gold, PAM00503), equipped with the P.2004/10 movement. Though not a new calibre, the P.2004/10 is a more elaborate version of the original P.2004. The improvements are aesthetic, with the three-quarter plate and barrel having been skeletonised. 

Radiomir 1940 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT in white gold

The result is an attractive looking movement, probably the most visually compelling Panerai movement. That’s due not just to the open-worked parts, but also because visible effort has been taken in decorating the skeletonised three-quarter plate.

All the edges of the plate sport anglage which is clearly manually applied, resulting in a rounded and polished bevel. This contrasts with the typical Panerai edge finishing of a harsh bevel cut by machine.

Oddly enough, the balance bridge of the movement is finished with that very method, and the bevelling stands in stark contrast to the three-quarter plate. 

Note the differences in the balance bridge bevelling

Anglage aside, the rest of the movement features decoration that is standard Panerai. More could have been done, especially on the exposed chronograph levers. As they are now, the steel parts of the chronograph mechanism are just brushed, with the barest of bevelling.

Simple finish of the chronograph levers, below the column wheel

Mechanically the P.2004/10 is identical to the earlier versions. It has a single-button chronograph with the pusher at eight, a second time zone hand with day and night indicator at three, as well as Panerai’s trademark linear power reserve at six. Thanks to three barrels, the movement has an eight day power reserve. The Radiomir 1940 case is 45 mm, making it large and hefty. Though the case is generally simple in execution, one detail that stands out is the relief text around the case back, a first for Panerai. The dial, black on the white gold and brown on the rose, has a metallic, sunburst finish. Like most other Panerai watches, the dial has a sandwich construction. That means all the indices are actually cut-outs showing the luminous material underneath.

The AM/PM indicator at nine o’clock, with the power reserve below
A close-up reveals the sandwich dial

As a consequence of the decorated movement and gold case, the Radiomir 1940 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT is pricey. In Oro Rosso (PAM502), it retails for S$64,000 (~US$51,700) and is a limited edition of 300 pieces. And in Oro Bianco lists at S$68,800 (~US$55,600) and is limited to 150 pieces. These are Singapore prices and include a 7% tax.  – SJX