The major Italian watchmaker Officine Panerai did not present anything revolutionary at SIHH 2011. Instead, they kept building on success of their last year`s exhibition. Among such successful updates was the new Panerai Radiomir 8 Days Ceramica PAM 384 hand-wound watch.
The new model is presented in a large black case, which, as the name of the model implies, is made of scratch-resistant ceramic. Being basically zirconium oxide powder — a material, widely used not only by watchmakers, but also by automotive and aerospace industry – that was baked at an extremely high temperature in order to form a substance that is almost impossible to scratch in normal circumstances, the material is very lightweight, but, unfortunately, quite fragile. So, even despite its apparent strength, it still needs to be treated with a degree of respect. Or just try not to throw it on the floor while visiting bathroom or some other place with stone or tile paving.
Measuring impressive 45 millimeters in width, the watch looks quite massive on a normal wrist. The effect is partly balanced thanks to its pair of relatively short signature “wire” lugs and its finely shaped profile, so the watch can still be deemed wearable by those having relatively narrow wrists, but still keep in mind that it looks really substantial even on a normal wrist. This may be okay now when large watches are still very popular not only in the United States, but also in Europe and Middle East. However, if you consider getting one of these rugged beauties as a sort of investment, keep in mind that fashion changes all the time and, in a decade or so, market for this “manly” timekeepers may become as small as this watch is big.
The 45 mm cushion-shaped case houses their well-known P.2002/3 manufacture-made hand-wound movement that provides the watch with a formidable power reserve of 192 hours (that’s 8 days!) which may come especially handy if you don’t plan to wear the piece on a daily basis.
Introduced in early 2000s, the mechanism features a daringly modern layout with only minimal decoration on its three-quarter plate, which is limited to polished screws, beveling and fine machine-brushing. After their earlier Valjoux-based mechanisms that looked a bit archaic to my taste, this new engine makes a very strong impression. While some may find the mechanism not particularly attractive in its deceptive simplicity, it surely looks different than movements powering similarly priced timekeepers made by IWC and other majors.
The moderately decorated movement is visible through a transparent sapphire crystal. The crystal is not clear, but is slightly smoked: a very nice touch, which provides the watch with a certain macabre charm.
The rest of the display is more or less the same.
The watch features a matte black layered dial with a small seconds display at 9 o’clock, a small date aperture at 3 o’clock and Panerai’s signature linear power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock.
Yes, there is nothing particularly new about this display, but, something tells me, that’s what the majority of customers demand from the Italian brand: they want a new hi-tech watch that at the same time looks absolutely classic.
The watch is delivered on a black buffalo leather strap that sports a huge buckle made of black-coated titanium.
Photos: Officine Panerai
Panerai Radiomir 8 Days Ceramica (PAM00384) manual-wind watch specification
Movement: Manual, Caliber P.2002/3, 31.02 mm in diameter, 6.60 mm in height, 21 jewels, 225 components, three sping barrels, 28,800 vph, in-house, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, linear power reserve
Power reserve: 192 hours (8 days)
Case material: Black ceramic
Bezel material: Black ceramic
Case shape: Cushion
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 45.00 mm
Strap width: 27/22 mm
Case height: No data
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Panerai personalized leather strap and large-size titanium buckle with special hard black coating
Case back: Sapphire, smocked