Panerai digs deep into its past and finds an unusual source of inspiration for its new Radiomir 1940 models in the form of an Art Deco pendulum clock. Housed in 47mm Radiomir cases, the dials of these newcomers are a far cry from standard Panerai fare. Dressier and playing the retro card to perfection, the Radiomir 1940 Art Deco Dial PAM00790 and PAM00791 are out to seduce landlubbers. Presented with ivory and black dials and no trace of Panerai’s hallmark luminescence, both Special Editions feature elegant Art Deco hour numerals, a railway minute track and, for the first time in Panerai’s history, spear-shaped hour and minute hands.
So, many of you might be asking, how does a pendulum clock fit in with Panerai’s history of rugged military watches and instruments designed for Italian Navy frogmen on secret underwater missions during WWII? A fortress built on two solid pillars –Luminor and Radiomir – Panerai has kept its brand identity rock solid rarely straying from the path of oversized, underwater watches that can be spotted across a room and in the dark. Well before lucrative commissions with the Italian Royal Navy and the birth of Officine Panerai, there was Giovanni Panerai. In 1860 Giovanni opened the city’s first watch shop on the Ponte alle Grazie spanning the Arno river in Florence. With a barber, a butcher and a roast chestnut seller as his neighbours, Giovanni specialised in prestige Swiss pocket watches. Following expansion works on the bridge, Giovanni moved his watch business – Orologeria Svizzera – to firmer land and finally settled in Piazza San Giovanni, just behind the Baptistery. Not only did he sell and repair foreign pocket watches, but he also sold table clocks and pendulum clocks. According to the brand, it was the dial of one of these Art Deco pendulum clocks that inspired the new Radiomir 1940 models.
The Radiomir 1940 was a beefed-up evolution of the original 1936 Radiomir. Dispensing with the welded lugs and onion crown, the Radiomir 1940 featured a thicker case and integrated steel lugs as well as a cylindrical crown. Both new models are housed in a Radiomir 1940 case made from made from a stainless steel alloy (AISI 316L) that is particularly resistant to corrosion. What is striking, however, is the very large 47mm case size chosen for what might be considered Panerai’s proposal of a dressier watch. With its shiny, polished finish, the case frames the wonderfully nostalgic dial and the domed Plexiglass crystal adds another shot of retro appeal.
The black dial of the PAM00791 is offset with a gilt railway track chapter ring for the minutes and beige Arabic numerals replicated in an Art Deco font, while the ivory PAM00790 version features a beige railway track and black numerals. The spear-shaped and tapered hands are also a novelty for Panerai.
Powered by Panerai’s well-known in-house P.3000 hand-wound movement with two spring barrels and a 72-hour power reserve, the movement can be moved forwards or backwards in one hour jumps without interfering with the movement of the minute hand or the running of the watch. Visible through the sapphire crystal caseback, the movement reveals its finishes with brushed bridges and perlage on the base plate.
A Special Edition of 300 pieces in each dial colour, the Radiomir 1940 3 Days Acciaio retail for EUR 8,900. For more information, please consult www.panerai.com.