Officine Panerai has had, to put it mildly, an interesting history. In broad strokes that history is well known. The company began as a relatively obscure Florentine clock and watch purveyor, and then, in the late 1930s began producing, at a very small scale, watches intended for a very specific audience: practitioners of the deadly art of underwater warfare. The ur-Panerai is the Radiomir, which in its original form was a very large, cushion-cased wristwatch with a radium dial, and which was worn most famously during World War II by Italian combat swimmers piloting so-called human torpedos. These were essentially midget submarines, operated by two men sitting astride the main cylinder which contained the propulsion and maneuvering systems. Both sides operated such submersibles – the British versions were known as “chariots” – and they were used to carry limpet mines under the surface to target enemy vessels.
The divers would attach the mines, and hopefully, escape undetected; operations were generally only mounted when there was no Moon, to reduce risk of detection. Despite the extremely hazardous nature of such operations both sides enjoyed considerable success – Italian crews operating the electrically propelled Siluro a Lenta Corsa, or “slow running torpedo,” managed to sink or disable a number of Allied vessels in the Mediterranean. Perhaps reflecting the ambivalence with which their crews regarded their equipment (as well as its slow speed and general appearance) the Italian SLC was also nicknamed maiale – pig. With operations taking place under conditions of very poor visibility, reliability and legibility were a must, and the original form of the Radiomir was dictated strictly by necessity but as sometimes happens with objects designed to serve a purpose with singular dedication, they achieved a sort of renaissance as design objects in the early 2000s, and the Radiomir today is one of the most recognizable and iconic of all modern watch designs.
In the last 18 years Panerai’s watch production has expanded to include just about every conceivable complication, and the firm has been one of the Richemont Group’s most significant innovators in terms of materials science as well, but the basic Radiomir (and Luminor) designs remain as fresh as ever. As James Stacey noted in his introductory coverage, the new Radiomir Logo 3 Days Acciaio And Black Seal Logo 3 Days Acciaio don’t look like new models, but they …read more