During the SIHH 2010 trade show, Panerai has presented several models with their mechanisms packed inside ceramic cases of different colors and compositions. For their Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni PAM 339 three-hander, the Florence-based giant decided to use a case made of aluminum-based ceramic.
In its press release Panerai doesn’t go into details about the technology used to make the case or the particular type of ceramic, but, looking at the photos, I can make an educated guess that this is an aluminum oxide aka alumina widely used in the aerospace industry and motorsports thanks to its extreme hardness and a remarkably high melting point of 2072 C°.
Alumina is also sometimes used in bullet-proof vests in the form of ceramic tiles glued together to form a XXI-century mail armor, so the choice of the material for this military-themed watch is more than justified.
Sporting one of Panerai’s notorious Manifattura movements — the Caliber P.2002/7 in this particular case, a three spring barrel hand-wound movement that the brand has introduced only last year in its attempt to finally get rid of its dependency on ETA-sourced blank mechanisms, — it is on the larger side of the family.
Although the 31mm x 6.6mm movement is, too, large compared to most Swiss made hand-wound calibers, it doesn’t take a great deal of space inside the rugged 47 mm case, which means that in this particular the size is dictated primarily by a decision made by the brand’s marketing department: apparently, the market for oversized military-style monsters is still hot.
To be frank, the movement would look ridiculous if only the Italian watchmakers weren’t wise enough to equip the case with a solid back, which is, too, crafted from the same ceramic material.
As usual, Panerai doesn’t say a word about the case’s thickness but rest assured: it is one hell of a hamburger, although a well-proportioned one: if you spend some decent time in a gym, the timekeeper will possibly look good on your wrist.
Well, it would still look terrific on a wrist of some special task force operative, if he could afford such an expensive time-measuring device: at this time, Panerai plans to offer the PAM339 at a list price of $15,000. Although high, the price is well justified by the composite material that was used to make the case, as well as by the great in-house mechanism that powers it.
Photos: Officine Panerai
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni PAM 339 specification
Price range: $15,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Panerai Caliber P.2002/7, 191 parts, 31.0 mm in diameter, 6.66 mm thick, in-house, Swiss Made
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 192 hours (8 days)
Case: Aluminum ceramic
Transparent back: No
Case size: 47.00 mm
Lugs: 26.00 mm
Hands: Stainless steel
Strap: Brown leather strap with contrasting stitching on PVD-treated steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, corundum, 1.9 mm thick, anti-reflective coating
Water resistance: 100 meters