At this year’s SIHH 2010 trade show, the Swiss-based Italian brand has presented a number of fairly affordable (well, for Panerai anyway) vintage-styled wristwatches that are now powered not by a redecorated version of an ETA blank movement, but by their own Caliber P.999 hand-wound mechanisms that the watchmaker claims to have been developed and manufactured “in-house”. Although I still have a gut feeling that, before the movement was created, there was some sort of “technology transfer” between Panerai and Piaget (another reputable watchmaking powerhouse that is, too, owned by Richemont SA,) I must admit that with this new mechanism Panerai makes a serious claim for its own share of entry-level luxury dress watches that are animated by “real” calibers.
Built on 19 jewels and beating at a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour, the movement sports a single mainspring barrel design and offers impressive 60 hours of guaranteed power supply. Being almost 2.5 times thinner than their earlier Manifattura movement, the P.999 has allowed Panerai to create whole new line of slimmer timekeepers that, while still looking mean and massive, allow you to actually wear one of them with a dress shirt.
The new Panerai Radiomir PAM 337 is one of these new, dressier Panerais. Presented in a more or less compact stainless steel case that measures just 42 millimeters wide, the watch looks great on an average wrist, partially thanks to its short wire-style lugs that are welded to the case. As usual, the winding/setting crown offers a very grip and makes it easier to adjust the time display when you actually need to pull it a little from its normal position without breaking your nails.
Regretfully, as far as I understand, the movement doesn’t have so called ‘hacking seconds’ function that stops the subsidiary seconds hand (it is traditionally located at 9 o’clock) and resets it to zero while you manually correct the watch, so you would have to get used to the fact that your watch always acts a bit out of sync with you other timekeepers. Personally, I could live with that.
Panerai doesn’t say a word about the PAM337’s case actual height, but, judging by real-life photos of the model, it is pretty much clear that the PAM 337 is a lot thinner that other models from the Italian brand.
By the way, here is a short video from PuristSPro.com that shows how good the PAM 337 looks on a normal wrist:
With its diameter of only 42 mm, the watch is also smaller. As I have already noted, now it is almost a real dressy watch, although it is still not a great threat for Patek Philippe.
UPDATE. Again, I have found a very well-done video showing you how the in-house Caliber P.999 movement works.
See also: Panerai Radiomir PAM 336 in 42mm body
Photos: Officine Panerai
Panerai Radiomir 42mm P.999 PAM 337 watch specification
Price range: $13,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Panerai P.999 Calibre, hand-wound, 144 parts, 27.06 mm in diameter, 3.40 mm thick, in-house
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 60 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Stainless steel
Case shape: Cushion
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire crystal
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: No data
Hands: Stainless steel
Strap: Alligator leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, corundum, 1.5 mm thick, antireflective coating
Water resistance: 100 meters