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Panerai Radiomir California 3 Days (PAM 424)
The nostalgia quotient is high. It’s the subdued brown of the strap against the gold luminescent numerals and matt black of the face which presents a sober palette. The retro styling and I think back to a time when men habitually wore suits. In the late forties I recall my father respectably suited with a brown trilby, rather raffish, angled, pipe in mouth. I thought he was the handsomest man in the world. It was an age when men walked on the outside of the pavement and proffered their arm.
This watch would have been a perfect accoutrement.
The subtle hues generate for me warmth of appeal that is borne of appearance and association.
Not that this watch was in its original purpose for posturing and show, for it has ties with the Royal Italian Navy. Its ancestry is of action, a diver’s watch, now recreated and brought up to date. Rigorously tested for water tightness to a depth greater than that claimed and guaranteed in the specification, it is part of the Historic collection, iconic, its form wonderfully evocative of the past. It pays homage to the Panerei 1936 (PAM 249).
With its Italian lineage and made in Neuchâtel this watch brings together the style, flair and watch making expertise of its parent countries.
Officine Panerai, Neuchâtel
The form is strongly masculine. The bold round face is framed in a cushion-shaped case. Immediate interest is generated by the numbering, luminescent, with Arabic numbers in the lower half of the face, Roman in the upper and sturdy batons, presented horizontally at 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock. At twelve o’clock an inverted isosceles triangle points to the centre. There is no indication of hour at 3 because the space is taken by a simple date aperture. The combination of Arabic and Roman numbering gained the name “California Dial”.
Radiomir was a luminescent material previously used. The modern day dial uses a non-radioactive material which adds colour to the dial and enhances visibility whilst being in perfect harmony with the black dial and brown strap. A minute rail frames the perimeter of the dial.
Unlike historical Panerai diving watches the dial is viewed through a sapphire crystal glass, not Plexiglass formerly used. It is 2.8 mm thick and anti-reflective and cambered. There are echoes of the past but this watch offers the best in current materials in its manufacture.
The hands are strong in form, luminescent like the numbers with the Panerei , Op, logo resting centrally in the lower half of the dial.
The elegant lines of the 47 mm cushion case frame the dial sympathetically. It is of stainless steel. Neat in appearance, uncluttered, elegantly stylish but with a dependable strength in its uncluttered lines and form it is strongly appealing visually.
The simple screw-down knurled conical crown rests conventionally at 3 o’clock, again protecting against the ingress of water.
The slender wire loop strap attachments add further to the retro feel.
The movement is in-house and the California pedigree is clearly claimed with its referencing on the case between the interhorns at 12 o’clock.
It is manual winding with large bridges and two spring barrels mean that the P.3000 calibre delivers a three day power reserve. It has a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour.
All is visible through the exhibition case back so that delight can result from looking at the rubies and the circular graining of the base plate. This is in contrast to the brushed finish of the bridges. Its credentials are clearly presented, unequivocally, the movement name, 21 jewels, and country of manufacture if verification were needed.
Rigorously tested against water intrusion the watch is water resistant to 100 metres.
The attractive strap is of brown leather, matt and antiqued, not shiny, with bold stitching, again encapsulating the retro feel.
This watch exemplifies in styling and manufacture the key DNA of Panerei. I love the yesterday feel which it exudes. It is functional presenting time and date with clarity and stylishly.
- Model: Panerai Radiomir California 3 Days
Reference: PAM 424
- Case: stainless steel; diameter 47.00 mm; height 14.00 mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and rear.
- Functions: Hours; minutes.
- Movement: Panerai P.3000 calibre, manual-wind; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz); 21 jewels; power reserve 3 days; 162 parts.
- Strap: Brown leather strap on stainless steel pin buckle.