SIHH 2010: Panerai Radiomir Tourbillon GMT Ceramica Skeleton 48mm (PAM348) Swiss Watches

This new Panerai Radiomir Tourbillon GMT Ceramica Lo Scienziato (PAM 348) hand-wound wristwatch is so far one of the most surprising introductions at this year’s SIHH 2010 event. You see, the Italian brand Officini Panerai has never produced a watch with a skeletonized dial and movement. Some people may even argue that they shouldn’t even have started.

My point is that, with its decisively military style and a very specific image in the eyes of loyal customers, skeletonized Panerai looks like a tactical lace suit: whether you go on a patrol mission or to an S&M night club, you will look somewhat awkward in it.

Well, those were my two cents and since the watch with its outrageous price tag of $160,000 is clearly aimed at a completely different category of customers, let me get down to business.

Panerai Radiomir Tourbillon GMT Ceramica Skeleton watch (PAM348)

The watch is powered by the in-house Panerai P.2005/S caliber, which is a skeletonized version of the well-known P.2005 movement that sports an impressive number of features including a 30-second rotating tourbillon, a power reserve display and a second time zone indication.

Its three mainspring barrels store enough energy to power the watch for as long as 6 days (144 hours!) without compromising its accuracy.

The extra energy and complications come at a price, though. Being whole 36.6 mm in diameter and whopping 10.05 mm thick, the movement demands a case that looks more like a quarter-pounder than a hand-wound watch.

Panerai Radiomir Tourbillon GMT Ceramica Skeleton watch PAM348 (transparent caseback)

As usual, the Italian company hesitates to specify the timekeeper’s thickness, but its outrageous width of 48 millimeters speaks for itself: the watch is huge and it demands a huge wrist in order for its owner not to look stupid.

On the other, um, hand, the watch was probably designed as a pure collector’s item and a great deal of these timepieces will probably spend the better part of their lifetime in bank vaults and personal museums. Part of the blame here lies not only in the timekeeper’s size or the level of refinement that it shows in every part of its open-worked dial and meticulously skeletonized movement (and I have an impression that, by the look of it, it wasn’t mere craftsmanship that is often guided by intuition: there seems to be some extensive engineering behind it,) but also in its outrageously high price.

Yes, I understand that the movement is complex and making a huge case with such an elaborate shape is expensive, but still the MSRP of $160,000 (it, of course, depends on the part of the world you happen to live in) turns this time-measuring device into something that you probably wouldn’t wear in public without a bunch of bodyguards to, um, guard you that some persons may find a bit less comfortable than it may look in the movies.

Panerai Radiomir Tourbillon GMT Ceramica Skeleton watch PAM348 (transparent caseback, detail)

See also: Panerai Luminor 1950 10 Days GMT Ceramica 44mm P2003 (PAM335)

Photos: Officine Panerai

Panerai Radiomir Tourbillon GMT Ceramica Skeleton PAM 348 watch specification

Price range: $160,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Panerai P.2005/S Calibre, 277 parts, 36.6 mm in diameter, 10.05 mm thick, 31 jewels, three mainspring barrels, 28,800 vph, in-house
Winding: Manual
Complications: GMT, power reserve indicator, AM/PM indicator
Power reserve: 144 hours (6 days)
Case material: Black ceramic (zirconium oxide)
Bezel material: Black ceramic (zirconium oxide)
Case shape: Cushion
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire crystal caseback
Case size: 48.0 mm
Case height: No data
Dial: Black
Hands: Steel
Strap: Leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, corundum, 2.0 mm thick, antireflective coating
Water resistance: 100 meters

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