Ciao everybody! I trust that you all are having a great week! It’s been awhile since I added anything to my humble collection of the family of watches that stems from its early days as suppliers to the Regia Marina. With this latest addition, I return back to the often shrouded in top secrecy roots of the Panerai marque, one that has spawned many a tale and still we often can’t get the absolute truth, due to many a circumstances, one of them being the flood of 1966 that Florence suffered from.
With this I present to you my very own homage to the mysterious Ref. 2533, a novelty from SIHH 2012, the Panerai PAM 449! It has been a year of long anticipation, but I tell you it was all in its entirety worth it! While I have not yet had the honor of neither viewing nor handling the actual historical vintage piece, (of which I will undertake a pilgrimage to view it in Italia con Sig. Feretti one day, when I have the opportunity) but from the photos of the piece that I have seen, this is what the ref. 2533 would have looked like (bar certain details which I’ll get to further down my post) when it first saw the lights of day back in 1936. As mentioned previously, because so many aspects of this watch (as with a whole lot of other Panerai’s earlier masterpieces) lies in ambiguity, it is simply impossible to lay down hard facts such as exact dates etc. As such all dates and years stated are solely my own humble conclusion & belief after all the years of studying and reading up on this world of military courage and might. Do feel free to correct me when there are discrepancies, but do know that this is an argument that will probably never end. (Those of you who have been in the world of OP long enough probably know this by now)
Back to the new baby, you will notice that it comes with a Plexiglas crystal, which lends the watch a very vintage quality, especially when seen from an angle and you get that distinctive distortion that is characteristic of Plexis. The only slight concern that I might have is the ease of Plexis to get a scratch, though this is easily remedied by those abrasion paste. The factor though shall in no way hinder me from fully and courageously wearing this piece. Unto the dial we get a rather deep sandwich, black dial that is filled without any indications of the numbers, instead it is filled with what I’d nicknamed the ref. 2533 since I first learnt about it, the “Lines and Dots”. (As a side note, when I first saw the 2533, I was in Japan, and thus I called it by the Japanese “Sen, sen, ten” which literally translates to “Line, line, dot/point”) Whilst it is highly debatable, and often still is, as to the reason OP chose this configuration, I am personally entirely attracted to the design language exuded by it. I means numbers are fine, beautiful even, especially when done in Roman numerals, but don’t you see that not every brand can simply pull of this look, a look that stares at you blankly, yet you know what you are reading, whether you are fully in the bright sunshine, or in the deepest depths of the ocean, upside down or right side up, (all thanks to the twin bars that sets the reference for the entire dial). It’s just amazing. (Don’t you feel that? I do )
The hands are heat-treated blued steel, and boy are they beautiful in their un-contrast with the black dial. It has often been said that blued steel hands are hard to read against a black dial (for watches that doesn’t have luminous coating on the hands that is, but even then I actually contemplated of purposely doing just that, blued hands on a midnight blue dial, just my biasness towards blue) which thankfully in here is not a problem as the super luminova coating on hands ensures top notch readability, in light or dark conditions. The way the blue is reflected off, especially when viewed at an angle with the correct lightings, is marvelous. No mistaking of which is which here as the hours hand has a bar in the middle to separate the luminova into 2 sections.
The dial of the watch is black, which is my argument as to what all PAM dials should be. For those who say that brown makes it more vintage, true, but I always talk back to historical reasons. I believe that all PAMs started out as black, and it was the time and exposure to the elements (Sun, ocean), the radiation from the early Radiomirs and Luminors that caused the dials to brown. So if my watch is going to turn brown, I’d prefer it does it on its own, though that is hardly likely to happen as now there’s zero radiation coming from the coating, and the quality of manufacture is of course much better so a black will stay as black a long long time. I just do not like it when they brown it from the start. And besides I hate the color brown.
Radiomir Panerai. What a name! Over here we see them engraved unto the dial, creating a slight 3D effect when viewed up close. I do have a preference for this since Panerai introduced the new font style last year, and it could be fun if they also filled these in with super luminova. Neon sign board anyone? The letters are colored the same ecru as the luminous coating, thus making this piece appear as a true vintage, albeit being a much cleaner one.
A small detail before we move to the external parts of the watch, you might have noticed that there is the writing “S.L.C” located at the 12 o’clock position on the rehaut (inner bezel). As the watch itself is called the Radiomir S.L.C. which pays tribute to the “Silura a Lento Corsa” (Slow speed torpedo) or “miale” (Italian for pig, apparently due to the clumsy and slow movement of said machine when in operation) as named by one very brave Italian combat diver hero, Teseo Tesei. I personally do not mind that the engraving is located here, although there are many who wish it was absent from the dial. But this watch is an homage, and I think that Panerai would just like to pay rightful respect to the history, so long as they don’t ruin the face too much, I can accept.
The case is crafted out of 316L stainless steel, as are all SS cases from Panerai and is historically correct at 47mm. This is definitely the better choice than the Platinum that was chosen to dress up last year’s PAM 373. Although my love and passion for Platinum cannot be emphasized more, but it’s just wrong for a tool watch to be in Platinum, as the heft, whilst being much sought after and desired in luxurious times, would simply hinder the actions of a real combatant. But I wonder sometimes, if the country he serves in is wealthy enough to supply their forces with a Platinum timepiece, and he don’t mind the weight around wrist, despite the watch is definitely going to end up bashed and with scratches so much that it’ll hurt my heart to even look at it, that the superior qualities of Platinum is going to ensure that the watch lasts for an eternity, and how nice it would look like after decades. (Folks who have the PAM 198, 21 could try that out) (Same reason you don’t make cars out of Platinum, I mean it’s going to look so nice and such, but I wonder what the zero to sixty for that is? ROFL). The side view from opposite the crown is what I would describe as voluptuous, and I am still waiting for my Radiomir Coupe Luc!
Powering this sexy beauty is Panerai’s in-house P.3000 calibre, the engine that is meant to replace the previous ETA 6498/7 movement. It is Panerai’s interpretation if the workhorse if the industry, and fits the requirements of the watch well. Being tough and robust, with a double-sided levered balance cock that supports a balance wheel that oscillates at 21,600 bph (3 Hz) thus ensuring stability fast return to equilibrium during rough activities. Not that this watch can be considered a chronometer as it doesn’t have a seconds hand, let alone a minutes track! But that’s missing the point with this baby. Its raison d’etre is to bring joy and much viewing pleasure whilst honoring the glorious past of Panerai. As they always say, a base Panerai is what a Panerai should always be. Unadulterated, pure class and sophistication.
At the 6 o’clock position on the case writes the word “Vintage”, while at 12 o’clock is the reference model (PAM00449). I personally have no issue against these, though others say it ruins the watch.
Through the sapphire case back you can admire the movement of the watch, although the finishing is nothing to boast about. But it finds its place here just fine as this is a tool watch to begin with, and at the price point that the watch is at you can’t and should not set your standards too high. I already own a piece (PAM 372) that comes with the exact same movement, and I must say that it is excellent. I foresee no biggie issues arising here until the watch’s next overhaul. A feature of this calibre that is useful for travelers is the quick hour advancement. When you pull the crown out to position 1, you are able to adjust the hours hand only, either by advancement or going backwards without disturbing the minutes hand. Very useful function for on the go. Pull to position 2 for full time setting. After’s which you push the crown back in with a satisfying click, and then screw it in. One thing to note is that the movement does have a stop point once the mainspring barrel has reached its maximum capacity, and I tend to prefer my hand wound babies to have these as opposed to a torque slipper.
It’s prowess in the water has vastly improved from the early days of Plexi based Panerais, when they all had a mere 30m water resistance rating (e.g. PAM249). Though this is not a true diver’s watch, it now at least boast a 100m rating, more than enough for any regular water exposure. (Think of it in the same line as Revolver Ocelot’s script in Metal Gear Solid, “More than enough to kill anything that moves”, referring to the number of bullets, 6, in his Colt SAA vs. Solid Snake’s SOCOM) It should be good against some pool time. And the heavy monsoons we receive here in Indonesia.
Now, strap time! As is my norm and all of you know this, I would quickly have it swapped from the original much hated brown, to the usual “Stephen Blue” crocodile. Add to that a 26mm Titanium buckle, and the piece is finally, truly mine! Voila!
I hope that you all have enjoyed reading my little write-up, and I appreciate you spending the time sharing in my passion and love for this new baby! I love it so much!
Have a great rest of the week ahead!
Ciao e grazie mille!
And of course the obligatory lume shot! To be able to see this has been my dream since 6 years ago!
Thats all folks and thanks for tagging along this far!