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The Curious Panerai 685 & 687


Reviving its impressive navy-oriented watches of the 1930s, Panerai has released two vintage inspired models for 2017. The Officine Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio Brevettato PAM687 and PAM685 pay homage to the Radiomir (ref. 3646) prototypes produced by the brand for the Italian navy in the early twentieth century. A contemporary take on a classic, these Radiomirs offers a range of design updates for the modern man.

Sized at a substantial 47mm in diameter, these watches, made of AISI 316L polished steel, are not for the faint of heart or the slight of wrist. Adorned with a 12-sided polished and brushed steel bezel — a design cue taken from the original 1930s Radiomir timepieces — the 2017 update maintains its predecessor’s look and feel. And, featuring the engraved inscription, “OFFICINE PANERAI – BREVETTATO”, Italian for “Panerai Workshop – Patented”, the watchcase honours its heritage.



 

The “Patented” reference on the bezel refers to the patented luminous substance Panerai once used on the Radiomir dial, which hints at the fact that these watches were presented to the heads of the Royal Italian Navy rather than used for military campaigns. While the PAM685 boasts a solid black watch face, the PAM687’s dial echoes the motif once available on former Radiomir models, but with a twist. For the first time ever, Panerai offers a dial with a brown face, featuring a gradient design wherein the colour lightens as it approaches the centre point. Plus, with lustrous, generously sized Arabic numerals and hour indexes that contrast with the peripheral dial colour, the PAM687 enables increased legibility.

Complementing the bright numerals and hour markers are the watch’s minute and hour hands, which are classic in design and equally scintillating. Framed with wire lugs, capped with a scratch-resistant watch crystal made from corundum, and rounded off with the brand’s beloved onion-shaped crown at 3 o’clock, these models are unmistakably Panerai Radiomir. (Of course, in case there was ever any doubt, the sizeable “Radiomir Panerai” etched in under 12 o’clock also helps confirm this fact!)

Powering the Officine Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio Brevettato PAM687 and PAM685 is the P.3000. A hand-wound mechanical calibre, this movement was built in its entirety at the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Made up of 161 components including, 21 jewels, 16 and a half lignes, and an Incabloc anti-shock device, the calibre beats at a frequency of 21,600 vph (3 Hz) and, with a large balance wheel and two spring barrels, it provides the wearer with a 3-day power reserve. To the delight of watch geeks, this remarkable movement can be admired via the watch’s sapphire caseback. And proving their robust nature, these Radiomirs are also water resistant to 30 metres or 3 bar.

Fitted with a sturdy, brown calf leather “Ponte Vecchio” watch strap with beige stitching, the PAM687 and PAM685 look ready for anything. But limited to a run of just 1,000 units each, it’s safe to say these watches aren’t available for everyone. Both are priced at $13,300, however, we’re sure plenty Panerai fans will try to get their hands on one of these exclusive collector’s pieces.


 

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