Panerai’s latest version of its Radiomir 1940 3 Days Ceramica, this week’s Watch to Watch, blends history and modernity — with a contemporary, matte-black ceramic case and a minimalist dial inspired by the brand’s history as a supplier of timepieces to the Royal Italian Navy.
The material used in the case of the Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days Ceramica is synthesized from Zirconium Oxide. This type of ceramic scores higher than the more commonly used steel in areas such as hardness, lightness, and resistance to scratches, corrosive elements and high temperatures. The case measures a generous 48 mm in diameter and boasts a water resistance of 100 meters — as most would hope for and expect in a watch whose historical predecessor was made for military divers.
The black dial is constructed in Panerai’s hallmark “sandwich” style, comprised of two superimposed plates with a layer of luminous material between them, a design the company started using way back in the late 1930s. The hours are marked by simple bar and dot indices, all coated (along with the hour and minute hands) with an ecru-colored Super-LumiNova that gives them a somewhat martial-looking “khaki” glow in low light (or deep water). The dial’s other highlight is a subtle relief image of the Silura a Lenta Corsa (“human torpedo”), a reference to the 1930s Italian naval commandos that wore the early Panerai watches on their missions.
The watch is powered by an in-house movement, Panerai’s manual-wind P.3000, which an be ogled through a large polished sapphire window in the caseback, which is made of titanium. The movement measures a stately 161⁄2 lignes, or about 37.22 mm – a size that is not only true to the Panerai watches of old but also a perfect fit for the large case. Among its attributes and flourishes are wide, brush-finished bridges covering the greater part of the wheelwork, an uncommonly large balance wheel (13.2 mm in diameter), and two spring barrels that store a power reserve of three days. The P.3000 movement is also equipped device for rapidly adjusting the time, which enables the hour hand to move in jumps of one hour forward or backward, without interfering with the minute hand.
The Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days Ceramica (Reference PAM00577, for all you Paneristi out there) comes on a strap of brown, untreated leather, with hand-sewn contrast stitching, and fastened by a trapezoidal buckle, which, like the caseback, is made of non-allergenic titanium with DLC (diamond- like carbon) coating that matches the hue of the case. Its retail price is $11,200.