One of the most interesting pieces that have been released at SIHH 2015 in Geneva by Officine Panerai has to be the hand engraved PAM604 Radiomir Firenze 3 Days Acciaio Special Edition.
Having anything that is hand made is a true luxury and that is even more the case when it comes to a finely made timepiece. The time, dedication, and precise work that go into a movement, case, or dial design cannot be truly measured unless you see the work first hand.
This tribute to the craft of hand made art and watches is combined in the new Panerai PAM604 Radimoir Firenze Special Edition of 99 pieces. These pieces are being made and sold exclusively in the historic Florence Boutique.
The PAM604 features a 47mm steel case that has the same diameter and dimensions of the watch crafter in 1936 and is entirely decorated with hand carved engravings. Expert Italian craftsmen carry out these engravings along the case by hand. The design of the engravings is inspired by motifs, which recur in Florentine iconography.
Each case of this special edition piece requires more than a week of work by one engraver. This work is made substantially harder due to the hardness of the AISI 316L stainless steel used in the case. He is a a small synopsis of the hard work that it takes to create this amazing motifs by hand.
The geometric and floral motifs are first drawn as a temporary outline – using powdered chalk or magnesium powder – and then engraved with a burin. The engraved surfaces are formed of very thin parallel lines, which give depth to the design, accentuating the contrasts between light and dark. Any error that the engraver might make as he works with his burin on the case, which is already completed and finished, would irrevocably damage the work already carried out, just as a poorly-aimed blow by a sculptor on a block of marble would mean that the artist had to start his patient work all over again from scratch.
To pay homage to the birthplace of Panerai the black satine soleil finish dial has the word Firenze inscribed in it. This particular dial does an amazing job of catching the light and diffusing it in such a way that grabs your attention immediately. The dials gives off an almost metallic look to it. It’s very similar to the blue dials that you have come accustom to on the PAM538 or PAM598. The dial on the PAM604 features the newer sandwich structure that gives the watch another level of depth. True to Panerai, the luminous material that enables you to view the time at night can be seen through this three dimensional sandwich.
The movement they chose for this particular special edition is the hand wound P.3000 movement, designed and manufactured in Neuchatel. This beautiful work of art can be viewed through the sapphire crystal backing. The movement features a 3 days power reserve and oscillates at 21,600 vibrations per hour. The P.3000 also has a complication that enables the user to move the hour hand when setting the watch without interfering with the running minutes hand.
I have to say that this is something truly out of the box in my opinion when it comes to Panerai. The amount of craftsmanship and work that has gone into a special edition piece like his is truly awe-inspiring. From a bare bones perspective it is a 47mm Radiomir case, but when the final product is placed before you, it is hard to not admire the dedication that has gone into finishing a piece like this. This particular Radiomir might not be for everyone but I think it will have a place in the collection of a set few. Although this particular model isn’t’ high on my list of must haves, I applaud Officine Panerai in taking a step in another direction when it comes to design and bringing a piece to market that will cater to the collector of not only fine watches, but of a work of art.