In the late 1930s, Panerai made a number of Radiomir watches with a special 12-sided bezel, engraved with the words “OFFICINE PANERAI – BREVETTATO”. This inscription referred to the patented luminous substance Radiomir used on the dial, and it suggests that the watches were used not for military operations but for presenting to the authorities of the Royal Italian Navy, which was evaluating new instruments for underwater missions. The new Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio models are two Special Editions from the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel, which for the first time reproduce all the fundamental characteristics of these vintage watches, respecting their identity and giving collectors the opportunity to appreciate a fascinating chapter in the Panerai story.
The first vintage detail of the new Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio watches is the 12-sided bezel in brushed steel, with smoothed, polished angles and the same engraving as the historic models, using the lettering of the time. The bezel is screwed onto the classic cushion caseband of the Radiomir and, together with the screwed back forming the rear part of the case, like the historic watches it has an elegant symmetrical construction divided into three parts, clearly visible when looking at the case in profile. The case is made of stainless steel (AISI 316L) and it is the same classic size as that of vintage Panerai watches, 47 mm in diameter. The wire loop strap attachments are removable, making it easy to replace the tough strap of untreated brown leather, finished with ecru sewing and closed by a large buckle with a single prong.
Another fascinating element inspired by the historic models is the dial. Remarkably simple and minimalist, with the sandwich structure which maximises the legibility of the large figures and markers, the dial is available in black (PAM00685), the colour of the vintage model, or in shaded brown (PAM00687), a completely new colour in the Panerai collections, which evokes the lightening effect which the Radiomir, the luminous substance based on radium, had on the original black dials.
On the back of the case, a large porthole with its sapphire window reveals the P.3000 hand-wound mechanical movement, completely created in the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel. The calibre measures 16. lignes – a size typical of the period models – and it has large, brushed-finish bridges covering the greater part of the wheelwork, a large balance wheel 13.2 mm in diameter and two spring barrels, which provide a power reserve of three days. The P.3000 movement also has the device for quickly changing the time, enabling the hour hand to be moved backwards or forwards in jumps of one hour, without interfering with the movement of the minute hand or the running of the watch.
Both the new Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio models are water-resistant to 3 bar (a depth of about 30 metres). Inside the elegant wooden box in which the watch is presented is a second Plexiglas® crystal, the certificate personalised with the serial number of the Edition, and a rare publication describing the military equipment of the special forces of the Royal Italian Navy, in which Panerai watches and instruments appear.