Ten Essential Luxury Watches – Watch Number 7
Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days – 47mm PAM 00514
The Watch Snob, who writes a regular column for Ask Men.com dismisses the Panerai brand as a fad, a phase you eventually grow out of, and refuses to acknowledge that the Italian /Swiss brand has any credibility, perhaps because it was the actor Sylvester Stallone who almost single-handedly put them right back on the world map when he discovered their watches in Italy while filming.
The brand had of course existed for many years prior to this, and already had a sterling reputation in World War II when Panerai diving watches were used by Italian Naval frogmen. In fact it is known that Naval frogmen captured during the war very quickly found their Panerai diving watches confiscated, never to be seen again.
Things did not fare so well for the brand after the Second World War and it drifted out of business. It was not until 1993 that Panerai started to reproduce the Luminor in very small quantities. In 1997, the year that Sylvester Stallone discovered the brand in Italy, the brand had been acquired by the Vendome Group.
Panerai has a large number of fanatical supporters who would heartily disagree with the Watch Snob, and this includes a number of well-known celebrities such as Sylvester himself and Orlando Bloom who continue to have a love affair with the brand. Collectors avidly seek certain models, and there is no question that the unique and imposing look of the watches makes them a must have addition to any luxury watch collection.
Currently one of the most sought after watches in the Panerai collection is the Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days – 47mm. Fitted with the famous P.3000 calibre, it features a hand-wound mechanical movement with a power reserve of three days. The movement is visible through the sapphire window on the case back, and the movement itself was entirely developed in-house in Neuchatel.
The movement also has the device which enables the hour to be adjusted without interfering with the running of the minute and seconds hands.
Perhaps what creates the burning passion for the brand is the fact that the Radiomir 1940 3 Days features the classic vintage good looks of the original Panerai design, part haute horlogerie timepiece, part robust, sporty watch that saw edge of the seat wartime action. The materials chosen and the construction of every detail has influenced the creation of the watch.
The dial, with the small seconds hand at nine o’clock and the date window at three o’clock, has the classic sandwich structure of two superimposed plates with the luminous material between them, the light of which emerges through the holes in the upper plate corresponding to the hour markers. This type of dial construction was designed by Panerai before the war in the late 1930s in order to provide greater brightness and legibility. The colour of the dial is black.
The case is made from AISI 316L stainless steel, highly resistant to corrosion. The case and bezel have a polished finish. The Radiomir 1940 3 Days come on a black leather strap, which can be changed according to taste.
Undoubtedly there is a powerful vintage appeal to the look of these watches as they have remained more or less faithful to the original design. For the first time, the Radiomir 1940 case appears with a matt black finish, produced by a DLC (Diamond-Like-Carbon) coating on the steel structure. The black dial is of sandwich construction with minimalist graphics. The watch is water-resistant to 100 metres.
This model should not be confused with the Panerai Radiomir 1940 chronographs unveiled at Baselworld 2014. A rough guide to price would be in the region of $9,000. So don’t worry about what the Watch Snob says, you will impress many an aficionado if you have this luxury timepiece in your collection.
Ten Essential Luxury Watches – Synopsis:
1. The Rolex Day-Date President
2. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore “Bumblebee”
3. TAG Heuer Monaco
4. Omega Seamaster 300 M Co-Axial 41MM
5. Cartier Tank
6. Breitling Chronomat 44 Flying Fish
7. Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days – 47mm PAM 00514
8. IWC Da Vinci Automatic
9. Patek Philippe Calatrava
10. Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711