When I first started taking notice of higher end watches, the Panerai style was something that drew me in – I just loved (and still do) the look of the sandwich dial. Of course, there have been no shortage of new Panerai models coming out in the past few years, causing their lineup to grow (sometimes with imperceptible differences between models except to the Paneraisti). Today, we’ll have a look at one of the latest special editions to grace their catalog, the Panerai Radiomir 8 Days GMT Oro Rosso (ref. PAM00538).
The Panerai Radiomir 8 Days GMT Oro Rosso
Right off the bat, you know that this is not just a simple movement that’s tucked into that wire lug case. The P.2002/10 calibre is a hand-wound movement feature an eight-day power reserve (with reserve indicator, of course) and a GMT complication. This movement is actually a more complex take on Officine Panerai’s first in-house movement made in their Neuchâtel facility. Why is it more complex? They’ve skeletonized the bridges and barrels so that you can see the various bits of the movement at work, as well as appreciate the fine finishing details they’ve included. Some of those details include wheels in the same finish color (guessing they’re not made of gold) as the case, as well as perlage applied to the plate – all viewable through the sapphire crystal in the caseback.
Past the visual details, that eight-day power reserve is definitely worth some attention. Officine Panerai accomplished this feat by utilizing three spring barrels in series. While this sort of reserve seems to be an up-and-coming feature of luxury brands, there’s actually a history for it for Panerai. This is because, early in their history, they provided watches for Italian commando forces, and it was critical that those hand-wound pieces (as we have here) would operate for long periods of time, without requiring winding (this in turn saves the crown from some of the external stresses and damage it might otherwise incur with a more common 40-hour reserve).
Along with that long-running mentality, they’ve equipped the movement with a Glucydur® balance and a KIF Parechoc® (anti-shock) device. Along with the 50m water resistance rating (not quite commando-level, but it will suffice), this means that you’ll have a watch that can stand up to the rigors of daily wear. And, this would be quite a beauty of a watch to strap on day to day, that’s for sure. For starters, you’ve got the material used for the case – a special alloy of rose gold (which also appears on the strap clasp).
This red gold has a more coppery appearance than rose gold, and also gives some greater strength. For us casual observers, however, it provides an excellent contrast (and complement) to the deep blue dial (with a satiné soleil finish) they’ve made for the watch. Wonderfully, it also looks like the date wheel has been expertly color-matched to the dial, providing a seamless look. You have the linear power reserve indicator running on the lower half of the dial, being balanced by the logo on the upper half.
At the 9 o’clock position you have the common small-seconds register; less common is the fact that the register also contains an AM/PM indicator, which I would imagine is tied to the main time display. You also have the second timezone (aka the GMT complication) indicated on the dial via the arrow hand spinning on the main arbor. Last, but certainly not least, we do have the cutouts in the dial giving us the luminous sandwich that we’ve come to know and love with Panerai. Lume also appears on the main handset (which you’d expect), as well as on the power reserve indicator and the hands found in the subdial. Something certainly less expected – and it’s a nice touch of completeness to the piece.
Overall, the Panerai Radiomir 8 Days GMT presents as a very elegant duotone (red gold and blue), which carries forth onto the strap – a blue alligator one with a clasp made of the same red gold alloy that you have in the case. This is attached to the 45mm case via the wire lugs which are removable (which is a good thing for all of us strap changing folks, obviously). I also forgot to mention – the crystal up front is sapphire (as you would expect), 1.2mm thick and carrying an AR coating.
While many Panerai models can appear very similar to those who aren’t intimately familiar with the brand, this one I feel really separates itself from the pack, and gives us something in a different look, while offering some nice technical features (power reserve length; GMT and 24-hour indicator). With the materials used, and the fact that this limited edition is only going to have 300 pieces (sold exclusively at Panerai boutiques), you can expect that pricing is going to be, well, one of those “if you have to ask” sorts of things (the existing brown dial model sells for north of $35,000). That aside, this really is a beautiful watch – and if you’re in the market for a Panny, this definitely looks like a great one to pick up.