Panerai may have been founded as a brand that supplied heavy-duty tool watches to the Italian Navy, but over the decades past, it has come to be synonymous as much with aesthetics and complications as it is with sustainability and the personal relationship that it aims to foster with its customers. Just over the past few years, the brand has introduced its in-house perpetual calendar complication, upped the ante on its ecological efforts, developed its concept of Experience watches, and even reduced sizes in a bid to widen its 'Paneristi' base. To discuss this and more, we caught up with Alessandro Ficarelli, Chief Marketing Officer for Panerai.
WatchTime India: Panerai has made the Radiomir the focus for 2023. What brought this on?
Alessandro Ficarelli: Panerai's origins are quite fascinating, starting with 60mm tool watches designed for the military. Notably, an archival receipt indicates that the Radiomir prototype was presented back in 1935, designed as a military underwater timepiece. Named after the patented luminous material used in the design, the watch boasted a 47mm diameter.
So, for 2023, we are eager to pay homage to our legendary Radiomir collection. This collection is known for its generous dimensions, distinct cushion shape, and three-part construction incorporating a screw-on back and a screw-down winding crown to ensure maximum water resistance. We're excited to celebrate and revisit these iconic design principles that have been integral to Panerai's history and identity.
WTI: How have the novelties been curated?
AF: Our new launches this year introduced an innovative finishing - Brunito Steel. Given the positive reception of the bronze case, we anticipate that the Brunito Steel case will also be warmly received. The Radiomir California, with its unique design, is certainly a favourite among collectors. It's a distinctive timepiece that we typically offer in a 47mm size. Although we've reduced the dial size, we've ensured that the design elements of the watch remain uncompromised. We firmly believe this carefully curated balance between size, aesthetics, and comfort will enhance the appeal of the Radiomir California for a wider range of enthusiasts.
Panerai Radiomir California with Brunito Steel finish Additionally, we introduced a 40mm Radiomir Quaranta, which is a highly versatile timepiece with a dial size that complements all wrist sizes. This model in a GoldtechTM version is housed in a polished GoldtechTM case (PAM01026), paired with a white sun-brushed dial and a matte brown alligator strap. Panerai Radiomir Quaranta GoldtechTM PAM01026
Another key focus has been incorporating more complications into the Radiomir collection, including the Annual Calendar. This timepiece is a fresh and intricate addition to our portfolio, marking the first annual calendar offering from Panerai, developed exclusively for the Radiomir collection. Our curation process has been guided by the goal of providing our customers with unique, high-quality timepieces that pay homage to our brand's history while pushing the boundaries of innovation.
Panerai Radiomir Annual Calendar Goldtech™ PAM01363
WTI: The new California dial is inspired by Ref. 3646. Can you tell us more about the original timepiece?
AF: The design of the new timepiece is heavily influenced by the historic models, particularly the Ref. 3646. The iconic cushion-shape of the case, the domed sapphire crystal, the conical screw-down crown, and the anse a filo'(wire lugs)—all of these distinct features have their roots in the vintage Ref. 3646. Moreover, the shaded effect on the dial takes inspiration from the patina that developed on the aluminium dials of the historic models over time. The anodization effect of these old dials often deteriorated over the years, creating a unique shaded effect that has been reimagined in our new creation.
Additionally, the construction of the vintage strap in our new timepiece also draws from the designs used in our historic models. In this way, we've blended both the past and the present, staying true to Panerai's rich heritage while also incorporating modern design and manufacturing techniques.
WTI: How have previous California dials performed?
AF: The California dial has become an iconic feature of Panerai watches, gaining recognition and appreciation among our brand enthusiasts. Past models featuring the California dial have performed exceptionally well, and some special edition models have even become treasured collector's pieces. This positive reception underlines the unique appeal of the California dial design within our portfolio and validates its continued presence in our future offerings.
WTI: The Perpetual Calendar made an appearance two years ago for the first time in the Luminor range, and now there is the annual calendar in the Radiomir line. Is this a step for the brand to have the complication and in-house movement in all its collections?
AF: Indeed. Our commitment to innovation and attention to detail find their highest expression in the Haute Complication and Haute Horlogerie segments. It's for this reason that we're seeking to incorporate these complications into all our collections.
Panerai Radiomir Annual Calendar Goldtech™ PAM01432
The Radiomir Annual Calendar, featured in models PAM01363 & PAM01432, represents a fresh and intricate complication for our brand. It's the first of its kind—an annual calendar designed explicitly for the Radiomir collection. The Annual Calendar is powered by the automatic P.9010/AC caliber, reflecting Panerai’s unique fusion of Italian style and Swiss watchmaking expertise, alongside our tradition of crafting complex complications. This intricate mechanism demonstrates our commitment to functionality and ease of use for our customers. When developing this new caliber, we kept functionality at the forefront of our design process. All settings, with the exception of the day of the week, can be adjusted using the crown. The day of the week is set with a corrector. In this way, we've achieved a balance between innovative watchmaking and user-friendly design.
The automatic P.9010/AC calibre of the Radiomir Annual Calendar
Despite being a notably sophisticated complication, Panerai has always been celebrated for creating movements that emphasize clarity and immediate readability. This approach holds true for our annual calendar. The date is displayed at the 3 o'clock position, with the day and date indicated through two dial openings. The current month is displayed on an external moving disc, indicated by a fixed arrow at 3 o'clock. As each month changes, a cam in the movement facilitates the turning of the disc in one swift motion, allowing the calendar information to change instantaneously. We devoted a great deal of effort to refining the external months disc to improve readability of all the calendar indications (day, date, and month). Thus, our customers can conveniently view all these details at the 3 o'clock position. This design, we believe, strikes the perfect balance between sophistication, aesthetic appeal, and functional simplicity.
WTI: Experience Editions watches have been gathering strength at the brand. How have they performed?
AF: Our Experience Editions have been a fantastic success for Panerai, both in terms of their performance and the overwhelmingly positive reaction they've received from our clients. These editions have allowed us to provide unique, enriching experiences that resonate deeply with our brand's ethos and heritage.
Our brand is anchored in creating memorable experiences that strengthen our clients' connections to Panerai. One recent successful example is the Marina Militare Experience for clients of the Submersible Forze Speciali Experience Special Edition. This experience highlighted our long-standing association with the Italian Navy. Additionally, the Eilean Experience was met with great enthusiasm, further confirming our strategy's success.
Panerai's 'Experience' watches that are accompanied by NFTs: The Radiomir Eilean Experience Edition
We see these experiences as opportunities to build a community around Panerai. They offer an additional layer of exclusivity and engagement for our clients, who appreciate these unique activities. One notable example was a three-day trip to Svalbard with renowned explorer and Panerai ambassador Mike Horn. Experiences like these, which offer unique adventures typically unavailable to individuals, have been greatly appreciated by our clients.
Looking ahead to our new releases, the Radiomir Annual Calendar Experience Edition PAM01432 is poised to provide another extraordinary experience. This timepiece will offer clients a chance to explore the secrets and history of Rome, emphasizing the deep Italian roots of Panerai.
Images: Courtesy brand