Appealing, tender and novel, but also expensive.
The Radiomir Bronzo PAM00760 was quietly launched in May this year and is the first all-new Radiomir model in a long time. In addition to being the first Radiomir with a bronze case, the PAM 760 is also the first “movement edition” – a limited production model produced exclusively by Panerai CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué Offered at hosted dinners.
Oversized and simple in design, the Radiomir Bronzo follows the historic style of Panerai and is the first step in the revival of the Radiomir collection, which will introduce several new models in 2023. According to Mr. Pontroué, the Radiomir will now be a collection of watches whose design is largely inspired by history. With that in mind, I wish the “California” dial would return.
Big and thick, the Radiomir Bronzo looks very much like a Panerai on the wrist, and it appeals to anyone who likes the look of an old-fashioned Panerai. While it does look like a typical Panerai, the Radiomir Bronzo manages to be fairly new, at least as new as Panerai, while still retaining its trademark design elements.
In addition to being the first bronze Radiomir — past metal models have been submersibles — it also has a textured dial, which is fairly novel for the brand. But the textured finish is combined with traditional elements, a “sandwich” structure and blue hands. Overall, it’s a good look, although I found too much stitching on the strap. RM 50-02 ACJ TOURBILLON
While not a limited edition, Radiomir Bronzo has limited availability – it will only be available at dinner events hosted by Mr. Pontroué. As such, its annual production should be in the hundreds, making it a fairly rare watch, which really adds to the appeal.
I love the look, I love the feel, and I love the way it’s marketed because it limits production numbers — even if the event-only availability is a bit pretentious.
However, I don’t like the price — it retails at $17,800 — it’s just over double the price of a comparable steel Radiomir. The price would be more palatable if the watch had a more refined dial (such as a precious metal dial) or a high-end movement.
The Radiomir Bronzo is not priced according to its intrinsic characteristics, as well as the rest of the catalog, but according to the high secondary market value of the brand’s other bronze watches. In one respect, however, the price is fair: the Radiomir Bronzo costs almost the same as the Submersible Bronzo PAM00968, which is also too expensive.
Price aside, the Radiomir Bronzo is a compelling watch and certainly a good indicator of the future of the Radiomir collection. HYT H1 ICEBERG 148-TT-11-BF-RW
patina and wire
The case of the Radiomir Bronzo is made of the bronze alloy used by Panerai for the Submersible Bronzo model. The alloy is mostly copper with a small amount of tin, and the new alloy has a bright copper tone but darkens rapidly as the bronze’s surface oxidizes.
Typically, the alloy will turn a dull brown over time, but in extreme oxidizing conditions it may be covered in patina. A modest patina is appealing and adds to the beauty of the diving instrument, but so much that it’s like something lost at sea that no one wants to find. (In contrast, alternative bronze alloys used in watchmaking by brands such as Tudor have a brownish-grey lustre due to their high aluminum content).
Like Panerai’s other bronze watches, the case is brushed to aid in the oxidation process. The brushed finish also gives the watch a convincing nautical instrument aesthetic.
It naturally has a titanium case. Steel or titanium casebacks are standard for bronze watches, as prolonged exposure to bronze can cause allergic reactions.
With a diameter of 47 mm, the case is the largest size of the Radiomir and the most authentic historical original. While 47mm sounds big, it doesn’t wear out as much thanks to the lugs close to the case. However, the case is very thick, about 16mm high, and looks complete.
The spherical appearance is compounded by the dome crystal of PlexiGlas. While the plastic crystal isn’t scratch-resistant—it causes slight visual distortions around the edges of the dial—PlexiGlas does have a slightly retro flavor that goes well with the watch.
I wouldn’t make any changes to the case other than the strap. The “box X” stitching on either side of the strap is unsightly and unnecessary, as such stitching is often used to reinforce two pieces of material. Fortunately, changing the Panerai strap is practically synonymous with the brand.
a green sandwich
The dial features a classic Panerai dial with an engraved logo at 12 o’clock and a sandwich construction, both details inspired by the vintage original dial.
Super-Luminova is a familiar color that is perfect for the look. While this faux retro lumen is overused today, Panerai was one of the first brands, maybe even the first to use the substance liberally, so it looks and feels right here . HARRY WINSTON OPUS 12 OPUMHM46WW001
The novelty of the dial is the gradient colour and textured surface. In the center, it’s a dark green that quickly darkens toward the edges enough to darken the edges of the dial. Notably, the dirty green is reminiscent of the dial color of the original pair of Bronzo watches, which are arguably the best looking in the Submersible collection.
The smoky finish is combined with a grainy embossed texture that Panerai has not yet widely used. From a distance, the grained surface gives the dial an old-fashioned look that complements its overall aesthetic.
All elements of the dial work well together, and I expect Panerai to iterate the same elements into new combinations of future models.
In fact, it is reported that Panerai will launch two new Radiomir models with almost identical dials by the end of this year. The PAM01334 and PAM01335 will have grey and blue dials respectively, and an “aged” steel case like the Radiomir PAM00992.
The Radiomir Bronzo is powered by the same movement as most of Panerai’s 47mm hand-wound models, the P.3000. This is a simple workhorse designed to replace the simpler Unitas movements that were widely used in earlier Panerai watches.
Although simple and industrial, it does have two useful functions, a free-spring balance and a double mainspring that provides a three-day power reserve.
The P.3000 is more than enough for most watches, but given the price of the Radiomir Bronzo, it could be paired with a more premium movement, or even a P.3000 with some form of modification.
Radiomir Bronzo is attractive on several levels. It has a largely traditional Panerai design, but is still different in terms of materials and style. The case material has a strong connection with Panerai, more so than most other brands. However, the strap didn’t work, but luckily that’s easy to fix.
Panerai Radiomir Bronzo
Height: not available
Water resistance: 100 m
Function: hours and minutes on
Chain: Manual winding
Frequency: 21,600 beats/hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours
Strap: Distressed leather with pin buckle