Sporting a layout of its dial that looks almost like a crossover between their earlier 2013 Radiomir 1940 Chrono Monopulsante and the 2010 Radiomir Mare Nostrum models, the 2014 Panerai Radiomir 1940 Chronograph PAM 518 offers an even more balanced combination of modern technology and vintage design.
Besides a pair of more affordable versions in red (PAM00519) and white (PAM00520) gold, the new watch will also be sold in a lot more expensive platinum execution.
The choice of metal is not the only thing that differentiates the PAM00518 from its cheaper siblings. As you can see on the photos of the model in platinum (the other two are pictured at the end of the article), its dial looks more balanced and more, um, historic, if you will.
For this model, Panerai ditched the signature “sandwich” dial and decorated the face of the timepiece with baton and dot hour markers covered with beige Superluminova that gave its ivory-colored face an even warmer appearance. The vintage feel of the Radiomir 1940 Chronograph is further emphasized with blued central seconds and 30-minute (placed at 3 o’clock) chronograph hands.
Although the ivory-toned dial of the timekeeper doesn’t offer a remarkably good background for the rose gold hands, I must admit that the choice of color makes this beautiful timekeeper look extremely classy. The aura, which is radiated by the chronograph’s case, also perfectly matches the nice decor of the mechanical movement that animates the beast.
Like many of their “historic” hand-wound mechanism, the Caliber OP XXV is based on Minerva 13-22 movement that was produced seventy years ago in Villeret, a small municipality in the Jura region of Switzerland, which is known for its numerous watch Manufactures since the 18th century.
The mechanisms look impressive even when with their native finish, but I must admit that these painstakingly redecorated engines look almost mesmerizing. No, they are not as heart-stopping as movements made by the German watchmaking giant A. Lange & Sohne, but they still make a strong impression.
Perhaps, my only complaint when it comes to the mechanism is the lack of hand-engraving: with the main elements of the movement being skeletonized almost to a point of a spider web, the usual Geneva stripes just don’t look good enough here. On the other hand, Panerai probably tried to help the timepiece retain the traditional masculine feel that the Radiomir series is known for, and a person that made the decision probably feared that too much decor would make this new time measuring device look, well, lame.
As usual, the timekeepers are offered in massive bodies that measure whole 45 millimeters in width, which is massive for a vintage-styled wristwatch. Thankfully, the choice of movement allowed making the device relatively thin, so even a person of normal proportions will have no problem wearing it with a business suit.
Still, taking into account the volume (and mass) of this thing, it would probably cost a small fortune even without the hand-assembled movements and the famous PANERAI logo stamped on their backs.
So far, the Italian watchmaking brand plans to limit its production to just 50 pieces. Versions in red and white gold will be available at 100 pieces each. Panerai will offer this PAM 518 with a sticker price of $78,000 USD. While clearly way to steep even for a higher than average Joe, it is worth the money if you take into account the precious material its case is fashioned of, as well as the impressive amount of skilled labor that went into decorating the vintage movement.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Panerai Radiomir 1940 Chronograph in Platinum (PAM518) specification
Price: $78,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, Caliber OP XXV (base Minerva 13-22), swan neck regulator, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 22
Movement frequency: 18,000 vph
Power reserve: 55 hours
Movement decoration: Hand-decorated
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 45.00 mm
Hour markers: Luminous, beige
Hands: Gold, luminous
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Burgundy red alligator leather strap