The Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio PAM 685 and PAM 687
This year, Panerai takes part in the SIHH by presenting a model inspired to its historic military roots, and it relaunches a timepiece that was originally crafted as a prototype at the end of the 30s exclusively for the Italian Navy front line soldiers; the Radiomir 3646 Type A. One of the peculiarities of the Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio PAM 685 and PAM 687 is the writing “OFFICINE PANERAI BREVETTATO” (“PATENTED PANERAI WORKSHOPS”) that appears on the dodecagonal bezel, it is almost an anticipation of the “OFFICINE PANERAI” (“PANERAI WORKSHOPS”) logo that was created in 1972 after Guido (or Giuseppe) Panerai passed away and when engineer Dino Zei joined the manufacturing company. The writing “BREVETTO” (“PATENT”) - patent number 333991 dated 4th April 1935 – refers to the technique used to create the glowing effect.
The name of the Radiomir derives from a material made up of bromide and radium, zinc sulphide, and mesothorium that was called “radiomir”. This material had very high self-glowing properties that fell onto the “sandwich” dial. With the passing of years, the Radiomir material was replaced by the Luminor material, which contained tritium and was less radioactive. The model has been relaunched with a classic black military dial, like its predecessor, or in a nuanced brown version that brings back the effect of the gamma radiations emitted by the “radiomir” on the dial with the passing of time.
The cushion-shaped case measures 47mm and is waterproof up to 3 atmospheres, it features a bezel with thread lugs that are no longer welded like they were on the former model but that are actually screwed-in and are, therefore, more practical and reliable. Other features are as follows: a brown strap with ecru stitches, a large stainless-steel buckle, a bezel with a plexiglass crystal, and a screwed-in case-back with a sapphire glass in a dodecagonal shape with engraved and mirror writings that are accentuated by the flat glass, through which we can view the in-house built P3000 calibre.
This calibre takes inspiration from the movements from the past, not only with regards to its size but with regards to the design of the bridges also; there is no functionality-related reason behind this design, compared to the original P3000, as the manufacturer confirmed last year already but it is rather an aesthetic upgrade (please see the articles on the PAM424). The calibre sports a modern crafting, it features two large bridges, its diameter measures 16 ½ lines and its thickness measures 5.3mm.
Two wheel barrels are hosted inside this calibre and they are connected in series so as to better redistribute the energy around and guarantee up to 72 hours of power reserve, there is also a big balance wheel measuring 13.22mm with four screws with an external adjusting unit and a bridge that is anchored to two points, thus making the whole system sturdier. A star wheel with 12 pins and a small spring clutch allow the user to adjust the hours hand by clicks independently from the minutes hand.
The Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio PAM 685 and PAM 687 come in a pear-tree-wood-case that also contains a replacement plexiglass crystal, the serial certificate of the limited edition and a publication of the Italian Royal Navy equipment, where one can find Panerai timepieces and instruments. I find this vintage edition quite beautiful and one can witness Panerai's continuous effort to bring back its historic reference and meet more and more the taste of the brand's collectors mainly in the “veered” dial.
It is a pity that the waterproofness reaches the 3 atmospheres only; it is a bit limited if you consider that other timepieces with similar characteristics, like the PAM424 or PAM672 for example, reach the 10 atmospheres. It is definitely for collectors, although I doubt that its owners will use it for real military incursions, the historic re-enactments is, nevertheless, quite realistic.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Denis Fabbro @Horbiter®