The Panerai Radiomir Annual Calendar Is A New Function On An Old Collection

The likes of the Submersible and the Luminor have been getting the lion’s share of Panerai’s attention in recent years. But it is the Radiomir from which the brand originated. In 1916, Guido Panerai patented a radium-based glow-in-the-dark substance, which he called Radiomir. He presented a watch with the same name as a prototype in 1935, and in subsequent decades was a shrouded-in-secrecy supplier to the Royal Italian Navy. It was also during this time that he developed a new luminous substance, and tweaked his watch design that included the addition of a crown guard—this would eventually become the Luminor, which to this day is Panerai’s best-known collection.

The Panerai Radiomir Annual Calendar PAM01363.

This year, the Radiomir is getting some well-deserved spotlight as Panerai has chosen it as the platform with which to launch its first annual calendars. “We said, okay, let’s take care of Radiomir— it’s our baby, the first-born,” Jerome Cavadini explains. The chief operating officer of Panerai adds that plans for this launch started two years prior, and that the brand wanted a good, concrete launch with a range of new models. As it would happen, Panerai had also been developing an annual calendar complication, seeking to provide another tier of product offerings to complement its perpetual calendars, which themselves were only introduced quite recently. “So we started this project, in terms of movement only, four years ago. It was not very clear from the beginning that it would fit with the Radiomir,” Cavadini explains. “But when we decided to dedicate this year to the Radiomir, we designed everything around it.”

Jerome Cavadini, chief operating officer of Panerai.

One of the early decisions that had to be made was to do with the month indicator. The idea was to have the three indications for day, date, and month in-line for legibility. But to do this conventionally would have extended the space required and thus made the watch too large. In the end, to achieve a reasonable 45mm diameter, the month display was changed to a rotating disc that would allow it to be read vertically on the edge of the dial. “That’s the reason we developed this external months disc that is tied to the main plate of the movement,” Cavadini says. “The rest of the complication is more like a module on a P.9010 base.”

The second challenge was the desire to have an instantaneous jump over all three displays, something that has a considerable energy demand. “We decided that the P.9010 would be the perfect platform for this because it’s a very powerful movement,” he says. The third challenge was to create a calendar mechanism that could be adjusted backwards as well as forwards to promote easier usability. “That’s something we wanted from the beginning, that it has to be user-friendly,” Cavadini says. He feels that, in the past, watchmakers tended to put too much of the onus on the user to safeguard their watch. “All of us, all the brands, have learned when it comes to product and a hassle-free experience,” he says. “It’s nonsense to sell an expensive watch, and then if you just have the unfortunate occasion to mishandle it, you have to go back to the boutique.”

The Panerai Radiomir Annual Calendar PAM01432.

The Panerai Radiomir Annual Calendar collection, then, is equipped with a robust, modern movement: the twin-barrel self-winding calibre P.9010/AC, which has a three-day power reserve. The brand’s customary toughness means that it is equipped with an anti-shock device and has a water resistance rating of 100m. On the dial, the brand’s signature recessed markers due to its sandwich construction are still present, as is the small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. The annual calendar indications are at three o’clock, with day and date through windows and an arrow pointing at the month at the circumference. The abbreviations have been left in Italian, as has the ‘calendario annuale’ signature.

The emblematic cushion-shaped case returns, of course, in a 45mm guise. It is available in two options, the first being a sun-brushed blue shaded dial with a Goldtech case (PAM01363, RM165,500); this is Panerai’s proprietary gold alloy that includes platinum and copper, and has a warm reddish hue. The second reference (PAM01432, RM372,200) has a burgundy dial and a Platinumtech case. The latter is limited to 24 pieces, and is an Experience edition, meaning that it entitles the owner to an invitation-only excursion organised by Panerai. This one will take place in Rome, and will be focused around history, culture, and artisanal know-how.


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