The 2010 special-edition Panerai Radiomir Titanium PAM 349 sports the iconic “California” dial that was initially introduced by Rolex for their 1940s “Bubble Back” timepieces. Highly sought-after in its original form, it may also be of some interest to persons planning to buy a deliberately old-fashioned timekeeper with a sort of twist to its exterior.
Sporting a somewhat strange (for common people, of course) combination of Arabic and Roman numerals for the upper and lower halves of the dial respectively, this vintage design is adored by an impressive number of collectors and horology enthusiasts.
The main reason for such a great level of popularity among connoisseurs is that the design was sometimes used by different brands in the 1930s (although mostly associated with vintage Panerais,) in the glorious years preceding the Great Depression and the World War II, and then practically vanished from the scene.
Three years ago the Italian brand has already introduced a limited edition Panerai PAM 249 Radiomir 1936 California Dial that was offered in a 47 mm cushion-shaped stainless steel case. Despite its deliberately oversized body, the model was soon sold out and, apparently, there were thousands of collectors who asked for more.
Following the great success of the model, Panerai again attempts to make some cash from a “collector’s edition”.
This 2010 Radiomir Titanium PAM 349 sports the same California dial but replaces the original blue hands with gold ones, adds a small-seconds sub-dial and introduces a rose gold chapter ring.
The original (for the PAM 249, I mean) hand-wound mechanical Panerai OP X caliber is replaced with a newer Minerva-based OP XXVII hand-wound movement. Offering 55 hours of power reserve, it beats at a low frequency of just 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour and features a KIF Parechoc anti-shock system that, as the name implies, protects the delicate balance wheel from damage usually resulting from radial or axial shocks.
This engine was first introduced almost two years ago and powered the well-known PAM 309 Radiomir 47 mm model that was, too, released in a brushed titanium case with rose gold hands and the same chapter ring.
Judging by the looks of it, the PAM 349 is that same PAM 309 model with a new dial.
Being a collector’s edition limited to only twelve pieces, the PAM 349 is offered at a price of €19,000, which is €1000 more expensive than the PAM 309.
Well, I guess some people will buy it.
The PAM 349 will be officially presented early next year at the upcoming SIHH 2010 trade show set to open in Geneva, Switzerland in just a matter of weeks.
Photos: Officine Panerai
Panerai Radiomir Titanium PAM 349 specification
Price range: €19,000 (MSRP)
Movement: OP XXVII, Minerva-based, in-house, 18 jewels, 18,000 vph, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 55 hours
Case: Titanium, brushed
Transparent back: Yes, sapphire crystal
Size: 47.00 mm
Dial: Black, layered
Numerals: Arabic and Roman, luminous
Hands: Rose gold, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black leather strap with black stitching, titanium pin buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, 1.90 mm thick