officine panerai  -  RADIOMIR 3 DAYS Platinum  - 47MM
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
officine panerai  -  RADIOMIR 3 DAYS Platinum  - 47MM

RADIOMIR 3 DAYS Platinum - 47MM

officine panerai

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See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

It was 1936 when the initial prototypes of the Radiomir, history’s first professional underwater watch, were created by Officine Panerai at the request of the Italian Navy for its commando units during their heroic operations. The Radiomir has evolved over its 75 years, retaining all of its original aesthetic features, but with improved quality and performance thanks to the use of outstanding materials and exclusive movements, all designed and produced by the Officine Panerai manufactory in Neuchâtel. Today, the Radiomir comes in three new versions, all of which share the hand-wound P.3000 movement with three-day power reserve, yet stand out for their use of three different precious materials – white gold, pink gold and platinum – and for the three different dials that tell the story of the evolution of this iconic luxury sports watch. - Radiomir 3 Days Platino – 47 mm (PAM00373)

HISTORY The name Radiomir derives from the special, highly luminous paste which Panerai had already patented by 1914. In fact, the Italian Navy not only required a simple timepiece, but also a real professional instrument that was mechanically reliable and water tight for up to 30-40 metres of depth. The dial of the watch had to be easy to read, both in complete darkness as well as in the murky waters of the ports where the commando units often operated, and the Radiomir paste, subsequently used with a special dial structure, proved to be the best solution. The watches made for the Navy were distinguished by their large diameter, cushion-shaped case, their crown and screw down case back, which ensured water resistance far superior to that required and was unrivalled by other existing models at the time.

THE DIALS The other dials were developed shortly after, the most mysterious of these undoubtedly being the one found today on the Radiomir 3 Days Platino – 47 mm (PAM00373). It is impossible to reconstruct the origins of this dial with any great precision, but it was most likely developed to try out the “sandwich” structure, one of Officine Panerai’s exclusive innovations, created to guarantee maximum night time visibility. The sandwich dial is made of two thin metal plates containing a layer of paste whose luminosity is visible through the upper plate, perforated in correspondence with the index markers. The index markers on the dial of the Radiomir 3 Days Platino – 47 mm have a more minimalist feel, with small round index markers incised on the upper plate, alternating cardinal points with single stick index markers at 3 and 6 o’ clock and double stick index markers at 12 o’ clock.

THE MOVEMENT: P.3000 Entirely designed, developed and produced in the Officine Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel, the hand-wound P.3000 calibre presents the main characteristics of the Panerai movements both in terms of structure and in terms of performance, robustness, accuracy and its long power reserve. The thickness of the calibre P.3000 is 5.3 mm and the diameter is 16_ lignes, a substantial size which traces its origins from that of the movements which were fitted to the historic Panerai models. The calibre is immediately recognisable by its construction, which is similar to that of a three-quarter plate movement: a large bridge, next to another smaller one, covers the majority of the mechanical parts and it is fixed to the bottom plate by a series of screws of substantial thickness, thus forming a particularly rigid structure. The movement has 21 jewels and it uses two spring barrels connected in series. Such an arrangement enables long, thin springs to be used, which ensures the delivery of a more even force and also does so over a longer period of time, with a power reserve of 3 days. The balance wheel is unusually large (13.2 mm) and it is the variable inertia type, with four adjusting screws arranged externally round the ring, so that the rate can be regulated without it being necessary to remove the whole assembly. Supported by a bridge with twin supports – a fixing much safer and more stable compared to the cantilevered single bridge – the balance wheel oscillates at a frequency of 3 Hz, equivalent to 21,600 alternations per hour. It is fitted with an Incabloc® anti-shock device and is free-sprung, so there is no regulating lever. With brush-finished bridges and chamfered angles – that is, with the angles smoothed and polished – the P.3000 calibre is also fitted with the device for the rapid adjustment of the time: a star wheel with 12 points and a small spring clutch enable the hour hand to be moved one hour at a time, without interfering with the movement of the minute hand or the operation of the watch. 

Technical specifications

Technical specifications
  • Reference: PAM00373.
  • RADIOMIR 3 DAYS PLATINO - 47MM
CASE:
  • Diameter 47 mm
  • Platinum with removable wire loop strap attachments (patented), bezel platinum
  • Winding crown personalized OP
  • Back: See-through sapphire crysta
MOVEMENT:
  • Hand-wound mechanical Panerai P.3000 calibre, executed entirely by Panerai
  • Power reserve 3 days
  • Two spring barrels
  • Functions: Hours, minutes
  • Water Resistance: 10 bar (~100 metres)

 

DIAL:
  • Brown, with luminous hour markers
  • Crystal: Plexiglas®, 2.8 mm thick

 

STRAP:
  • PANERAI personalised alligator strap
  • Large-size 18K white gold buckle

 

Who's who

It’s probably not the timepieces themselves that tie Chronopassion to Panerai. The relationship is closer and stronger than that. Laurent Picciotto goes so far as to describe it as “magical”. Perhaps the truth is more to do with the eternally ‘outsider’ character of the Italian brand – and of Chronopassion's founder. There is also the detail of their shared origins as passionate retailers. Indeed, it’s a little-known fact that both the Panerai brand and its founder, Giovanni, were first and foremost in the business of watch and watchmaking tool sales and repairs. As early as 1850, Giovanni Panerai had made his name as a watchmaker in his native city of Florence. His son, Leon Fracesco, transformed his father's occupation into a flourishing business: in 1907, 50,000 copies of his watch and timepiece catalogue were published! What was then known as Orologeria Svizzera sold Rolex, Longines, Vacheron & Constantin, Movado, Patek Philippe and other brands. A new century opened a new chapter: the brand supplied the Defence Ministry with its first precision optical instruments. In 1910, the first experiments on luminous materials began and a system for making instrument dials glow in the dark was perfected. Luminescence was produced using a mixture of zinc sulphide and radium bromide, later known as Radiomir. The road ahead became clear: Panerai already sold movements, and simply had to combine this skill with its recently acquired expertise in dials to create its first watch – a feat that was achieved in 1935. One amusing aspect of this tale is that the first Panerais were driven by a Rolex movement. The Italian army was of course the first client. This was in 1937 – and the virtual monopoly of the military for Panerai watches continued until 1993 ! “It was these very strict specifications – purely military, functional and uncompromising – that drew me to Panerai,” relates Laurent Picciotto. The founder of Chronopassion already had a selection of timepieces with a strong identity to his name and had been seeking new niche brands for a number of years. “Our first collaboration dates back to 1995. At that time Panerai was a totally independent micro-brand. It was a curiosity – and in my opinion, a convincing alternative to sports brands that were seeking to be positioned on the same military niche without having any credibility in the field.” Did love at first sight lead to overnight success? “Far from it!” laughs Laurent Picciotto. “I sold barely a dozen pieces a year, mainly Mare Nostrums (ed: the original chronograph from 1943, which was still at the prototype stage for historic reasons). History has led to these timepieces now being among the most prized collectors’ items,” he says with a wry smile. This apparent lack of demand did not dent Chronopassion's belief in Panerai, however. The Vendôme Luxury group, later known as Richemont, apparently had a similar instinct, too: it bought out the brand in 1997. The group lost no time in using its resources to raise the profile of Panerai. A series of 1000 timepieces were offered on the Italian market – and were snapped up immediately. A distribution network was established. “There were twelve of us retailers at the first meeting. Eleven of them had never sold a Panerai timepiece before. I was the only one who had,” recalls Laurent Picciotto. At this point the story could have taken a commercial turn, with success guaranteed. However Panerai once again showed it was different: demand was driven by the brand's fans, known as paneristis. According to Laurent Picciotto, they are characterised by “acute collectionitis” – and his sales increased 25-fold. “It was an internal explosion. Completely unprecedented,” he now admits. Panerai made the most of this collectors’ syndrome by producing only limited, numbered series. “This meant that there was often a queue in front of our building for very special series, in particular our series featuring the Chronopassion engraving,” he continues. “In addition, even when we put a sign in the window saying “Not yet released” to try and keep our fans at bay, some of them would come into the shop to try and get more information.” Magical is indeed the word.

Journalist : Olivier Müller

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