During the current SIHH 2010 trade fair, the Italian brand has presented a number of watches with their mechanisms packed inside ceramic cases of different color and composition. For their new Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni PAM 339 model the Florence-based watchmaking 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 of the watch, I can make an educated guess that this is an aluminum oxide aka alumina widely used in aerospace industry and motor sports thanks to its extreme hardness and remarkably high melting point of 2072 C°.
Alumina is also sometimes used in bullet-proof vests in 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, — the watch is on the larger side of the family.
Although the 31mm x 6.6mm movement is, too, quite 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 basically 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 absolutely ridiculous if only the Italian watchmakers weren’t wise enough to equip the watch with a solid case 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 a 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 watch at a list price of $15,000. Although quite high, the price still seems to be justified by the composite material that was used to make this PAM339 model and the in-house mechanism that powers it.
UPDATE: Here is a short video giving you the idea how the watch looks in the real life:
Photos: Officine Panerai
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni 47mm PAM 339 watch 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 material: Aluminum ceramic
Bezel material: Aluminum ceramic
Case shape: Cushion
Transparent case back: No, solid caseback
Case size: 47.0 mm
Case height: No data
Lugs: 26 mm
Hands: Stainless steel
Strap: Brown leather strap with contrasting stitching on PVD-treated steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, corundum, 1.9 mm thick, antireflective coating
Water resistance: 100 meters