Panerai Green Dial PAM 735-736-737 Boutique Edition
The Green Panerai that are getting collectors crazy
In a time, when watch-making brands are still struggling to overcome a crisis that seems to be almost over (at least if we consider the consolidated results reached in the first half of 2017 by the big watch-making groups), there is a brand that has bravely sailed through the storm without changing its original route; Panerai. The design might not suit everyone and there might be also something to say about the continuous mushrooming of references and collections, but one sure thing is that nobody has ever doubted, not even for a second, about the manufacturer’s own identity and recognisability. On a Saturday, when you enter a boutique in Milan and find out that there are three new references with a fresh green dial, you get your confirmation as to why Panerai is what it is!
While many manufacturers keep on offering an optional blue dial (frantically looking for yet another variation of that specific pantone so as not to release the same one as their competitors’), the military green launched by Panerai is an (almost) innovative choice. Oris actually launched a version of its Diver’s Sixty Five with a green dial in the past, but both the model-type and the positioning are quite different from Panerai’s, the latter released a matte green, whereas Oris’s green is polished; I am particularly fond of Oris for what it did (and still does), but it still cannot boast the vintage “military” pedigree of the Italian brand (that has introduced such color with their limited edition Panerai Submersible Bronzo some years ago).
Panerai opted for three current references to introduce three new models that are available exclusively in the brand’s boutique. The bases of the three new releases are the Radiomir, the Radiomir 1940 and the Luminor 1950, respectively. The latter, despite not being one of my favourite Panerai’s timepieces, is actually the one I like the most and I will tell you why in the comments that you will find at the end of this article.
Panerai Radiomir 8 Days Titanio 45mm PAM00735
The Panerai Radiomir 8 Days Titanio 45mm PAM00735 is the alter ego of the reference 746. The manual-winding Radiomir in its original form, but with a more accessible size that the original 47mm in diameter of the references Radiomir California 424 or 425. Not too many Radiomir watches are made of titanium, the manufacturing process of this specific alloy usually makes these timepieces more expensive than their steel-made counterparts, but the biggest difference with the steel-made model lies in the matte case with its entirely polished bezel, the flat glass and the magnifying lens located at 3 o’clock.
If compared to the 47mm-version, the manual-winding P2002 calibre can guarantee up to 8 days of power reserve thanks to its three barrels; quite an impressive result that I usually highlight in my articles about this calibre, as it combines the manual-winding with a very long power reserve; something that is clearly visible on the case-back side. This is an excellent alternative (taste-wise and performance-wise) to the best automatic calibres on the market and it also gives you all the necessary time you need to charge your watch. Basically, Panerai re-edited the dial and replaced the alligator leather strap with a calf leather one with ecru stitching and a hot-pressed "OP" logo; an excellent variation on the original theme, what still doesn’t fully convince me, though, is the date with the magnifying lens.
Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days Acciaio 47mm PAM00736
The Radiomir 1940 is the collection that launched some of Panerai’s most fascinating historic dials. The 2016 limited-edition reference 662 is one of them and, beauty-wise, can only be outdone by the reference 690; one of the most-gorgeous Panerai watches ever crafted and the interpreting of the blue dial according to Panerai (sunray finishing on the sandwich dial, beige indices and no date). In my opinion, the Florentine brand came up with the perfect Radiomir, when it designed the reference 690.
Here is another proposal of the same model; the Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio 47mm PAM00736. Despite not being a limited-edition item, the PAM690 is not that easy to find and, today, its recommended retail price has been exceeded already. The same thing can be expected by the reference 736. The only question I am asking myself is as follows; why indulge with a date on such a linear dial and get rid of the “3”? The Radiomir 1940 timepieces with no date are definitely the most-beloved watches by Panerai collectors and the most-faithful ones to the original 6154 reference (also called the “Egiziano Piccolo” or “Small Egyptian”). Within this timepiece is the P3000 manual-winding calibre with up to 3 days of power reserve and this watch also features the same strap that equips the reference 735. The retail price is USD 9,200.
Panerai Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT Titanio 44mm PAM00737
With the exclusion of the Panerai Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT PAM00578 Titanio, the new Panerai Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT Titanio 44mm PAM00737 is the most “accessible” complicated Panerai timepiece available on our magazine and it is also a watch that has forced me to reconsider Panerai’s complicated timepieces under a different light; from an aesthetic point of view, these watches break the historic tradition of the brand and, from my side, this has meant quite a long and difficult understanding process to come to a full appreciation feeling.
The P2004 calibre brings back one of the rare haute-horlogerie complications; the single-button chrono, where all of the start-stop-reset functions are manoeuvred through a single button located at 8 o’clock; the perfect location if you wear your watch on your left wrist. The crafting of Panerai’s in-house built calibres has been fully adhered to in this case; the bridges hiding the movement leaves the column wheel of the chronograph and the bridge of the double-ended balance wheel, that ensures an enhanced rigidity, in full view.
The same balance wheel can be stopped, while adjusting the time, to allow the perfect synchronization of the time (with a second accuracy) with a specific reference time. This complicated timepiece with a steel case and a convex glass (beautiful to look at and comfortable to wear) has a power reserve of up to 8 days (I guess this is without continually using the chrono function). If you want to get your hands on a Panerai Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT Titanio 44mm PAM00737, you will have to fork out USD 18,100.
These three references are extremely sought-after; we had to wait until the boutique received the stock of two sold-out references before being able to complete our photo-shooting. On my virtual podium, the Radiomir takes the third position, as this version is far from being a Panerai vintage and, if compared to the Radiomir 1940, the latter wins hands-down when it comes to the cleanliness and appeal of the dial (despite the fact that I still haven’t figured out why the manufacturer has felt the need to introduce the date). The case of the 1940 with its integrated lugs is perfectly proportioned; the Radiomir 1940 lands therefore a second place. There is no doubt that my favourite one is the single-button chrono; if I take a look at the first single-button timepiece ever crafted by Panerai on a Luminor 1950 basis – the same basis for the reference 737 -, I think that the brand had slightly exaggerated (we call this phenomenon “over-designing” in industrial jargon), since a Panerai watch has to be simple and faithful to its tradition, in my opinion.
However, the mix between the titanium case, the green dial and the beige SuperLuminova® indices is exceptionally alluring; it is as if every single part of the complication were perfectly visible and presented a prestige that is nowhere else to be seen. The calibre of the 737 is quite exceptional; it is a manual-winding in-house movement that ensures up to 8 days of power reserve (quite unique in the in-house built calibres panorama). When you wear this timepiece, you immediately realize that the titanium case balances out the consistency of the calibre, thus making the watch light (but not extremely light), as long as your wrist is at least 20cm in size like mine.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting by Karin Vettorel)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®