Panerai launches its new timepieces for 2016 at the SIHH watch salon in Geneva this week. Loyal Paneristi will note that one of them, the new Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days Automatic Acciaio, is the first in that collection to feature a white dial — a rarity in the Panerai portfolio overall.
The watch — which comes in the familiar Radiomir 1940 cushion-shaped case, measuring 42 mm in diameter and made of polished 316L stainless steel — strives for clarity in its dial, with large, black Arabic numerals at the hour markers and small seconds set aside on a subdial at 9 o’clock. Dots at each hour position (two at 12 o’clock), treated with luminous paint, aid in nighttime legibility. The case, whose proportions and shape are faithful to those of the original 1940 model for which the watch is named, is only 10.93 mm thick and has a polished. stainless steel winding crown bearing a relief “OP” (for “Officine Panerai”) logo.
The Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days Automatic Acciaio (Ref. PAM00655), contains Panerai’s in-house Caliber P.4000, which is visible through a clear sapphire caseback. Made entirely in-house at the brand’s manufacture in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, this movement is distinctively Panerai, with a large, brushed-finish plate covering the lion’s share of the components, with notable exceptions. One such is the balance bridge with twin supports, carrying a balance wheel beating at the speedy frequency of 28,800 vph. Another is the off-centered microrotor, made of tungsten, that swings in both directions and connects to two spring barrels in a series, providing the watch a power reserve of up to three days when fully wound. (Impressively, three days is now the minimum power reserve in Panerai watches with in-house movements.) The microrotor construction is a large reason why the movement — and, by extension, the case — are uncommonly slender for a Panerai; Caliber P.4000 measures just 3.95 mm in thickness.
Fittingly for a watch model that began its existence as a timepiece for military divers, the case of the new Radiomir 1940 boasts a water-resistance to depths up to 100 meters. The watch (U.S. retail price $10,000) comes on a natural, untreated leather strap with contrast stitching.
I had the opportunity to try on the Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days Acciaio at SIHH 2016. Below are a few snapshots of what it looks like on the wrist.