It has always been a love-hate relationship between collectors regarding Panerai timepieces: the use of ETA movements had been frowned upon by many. But Panerai enthusiasts or “paneristi”, as we like to call them, praise the brand for its uniqueness, heritage and looks. Therefore, for a brand that is so venerated and vilified at the same time, there is only one direction, and that direction is high, here is the reason.
Panerai watches have always been built like a tank, built to be worn by adventurers as well as adventurers. With all the fuss of his Luminor as the Panerai that every Paneristi should have, people forget that Panerai’s very first piece was not a Luminor, but a Radiomir.
The Radiomir was a true classic of a piece that remained unchanged since its introduction in 1938 as the official timepiece of the Royal Italian Navy during the Second World War. With such a history and heritage, modernization can be risky. Nonetheless, the creators of Panerai have made it, and they did it with Italian flair. Enter the Radiomir Black Seal, a contemporary version of the original Radiomir ref.3646. These vintage models are so rare that nowadays they are sold for rather steep prices, like this one.
The Black Seal Radiomir has been around for years, but it is not until the SIHH 2012 that Panerai introduces one with a completely self-produced work in a Radiomir, called the PAM388 or Black Seal 3-Days Automatic.
The PAM388 houses one of Panerai’s own, P.9000, entirely designed by Panerai. It’s an automatic movement with a 3-day power reserve, which obviously gives the name of the PAM388. The work is said to have been originally built for the Luminous, which requires a custom-made case with a slightly less convex sapphire crystal that protrudes slightly from the bezel. The PAM388 is the first Radiomir to feature the P.9000 movement, which makes the piece so special.
Additional movement specifications:
Name: radiomir black seal, black dial, stainless steel, brown leather strap.
Movement: automatic genuine Swiss ETA, smooth sweeping second hand.
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds.
Case: one piece forged case construction, solid 440 stainless steel.
Bezel: solid 440 stainless steel.
Back: screw, solid 440 stainless steel.
Crystal: -scratch-proof sapphire crystal.
Water-resistance: 50 meters
Strap: high-quality brown leather strap.
crown: one-piece solid screw-down crown.
100% correct markings and engravings.
Retail Price :$150
Second Watch Price :$125 (30% off for buying the second watch)
Panerai radiomir black seal
The PAM388 is housed in a polished steel case with a case diameter of 45mm, which is pretty standard of the make. A black dial with the second hand to the right of the 9 o’clock position, a date indicator at the 3 o’clock position and a “Radiomir Black Seal” label below the 12 o’clock position. It comes with a black alligator leather strap with the patented wire loop for easy strap change and, above all, a clear sapphire crystal back to showcase the P.9000 in all its glory.
Aesthetically, the PAM388 is one of the most elegant pieces I’ve ever seen of Panerai. Note the word used – elegant, a word rarely used with Panerai watches. That’s because, in my opinion, it’s one of those pieces that find the middle ground in this love-hate relationship between Panerai and his collectors. On the one hand, it houses an in-house movement that closes all the people trying to deny the value of the Panerai pieces, and second, it’s one of those watches that can be used as a tool clock or clothes watch. A versatile piece, so to speak, reminiscent of the original Rolex Explorer that can be worn for any occasion.
Learn more about the PAM388 and other Panerai parts from Panerai’s official 2012 collection site or Panerai.com.