Panerai Revives the Radiomir California

The PAM01349 in military green and "aged" steel.

Perhaps the most distinctive of all Radiomir designs, the “California” was nonetheless absent from Panerai’s catalogue for some time. Now it makes a comeback as the Radiomir California PAM01349.

Essentially a cooler (and more expensive) version of the new Radiomir “Otto Giorni”, the PAM01349 preserves the signature features of the design, including the dial and blue hands, but works in a few concessions to modern tastes, including a smoked green finish for the dial as a scaled-down, 45 mm case.

Initial thoughts

The California has long been my favourite Radiomir so I am glad it is making a comeback. While it looks slightly vintage, the PAM01349 is clearly not a vintage reissue, which is a good thing. The combination of a green dial and aged case is an appealing one.

However, the PAM01349 costs about 20% more than the Radiomir models with the same movement, a premium that isn’t grounded in any tangible features and thus hard to justify.

Romans and Arabics

The dial is classic “California” with Roman numerals on its top half and Arabic numbers on the lower half. Originally designed for legibility so each half of the dial is easily distinguishable from the other, the California dial was synonymous with the Radiomir.

The PAM01349 preserves the original design, but the texture and colour are contemporary. Like most other recent releases, the dial has a grained surface and smoked finish, both in keeping with current tastes. The dial treatment gives the watch a vintage feel, but avoids looking like a vintage remake since it is clearly a modern aesthetic.

Down from the 47 mm of the original and earlier California models, the case is 45 mm. Like other recent Radiomir launches, it is made of “Brunito” eSteel. The alloy is formed from recycled steel and then given a “burnished” (brunito in Italian) finish that involves polishing, black coating, and then tumble-polishing to partially wear off the coating, resulting in a worn appearance.

Inside is the P.5000, Panerai’s basic long-power-reserve movement. No frills and hand-wind, it has a long running time of eight days.

Key facts and price

Panerai Radiomir California
Ref. PAM01349

Diameter: 45 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: eSteel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 mm

Movement: P.5000
Features: Hours, minutes and small seconds
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Manual
Power reserve: Eight days

Strap: Calf leather with pin buckle

Limited edition: Regular production
At Panerai boutiques only
Price: €12,500; or 17,900 Singapore dollars

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