Time Your Own Legend: Hands-on With The New Panerai Radiomir Eilean PAM 1243
Editor’s note: As we take a break from covering the latest releases from the Only Watch 2021 auction offerings, we go hands-on with the new Panerai Radiomir Eilean PAM 1243, a watch that if destiny had it, I would have loved to personally buy it this year. But thankfully, this limited release is available in 449 pieces per year. Retailing for only 11’600 AUD, the 2021 allocations are now available on Panerai’s website.
The Epic Saga
There is a Helen Hayes quote that reads: “Legends die hard. They survive as truth rarely does”.
Panerai with the new PAM 1243 ensures that the legend of Radiomir watches doesn’t die; in the PAM 1243 it survives on, aided by the spiritual presence of a yacht named Eilean. The presence of that wooden plank teak deck inspired dial is sublime.
To be in its presence is to witness the birth of a legend. Purely simplistic, yet three-dimensional to an extent, the appeal of the dial is further elevated with the mixture of a range of historical Panerai and nautical-world themes.
1936. A year with events as varied as the world of watches; a year of many firsts. BBC became the first public Television broadcaster in London. Aviator Beryl Markham becomes the first lady to complete a transatlantic flight from East to West non-stop. Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel “Gone With the Wind” sees the first light of day. Eugene Schueller invents the first Sunscreen, and the famous Zippo lighters are born.
Eilean, a yacht designed by preeminent boat builder William Fife III, also made her maiden voyage sailing the seas of Europe and the Caribbean in 1936. And as perfect timing would have it, a horological legend was also born in 1936: Panerai’s Radiomir was introduced to support marine missions.
Now some 85-years later, Panerai and Eilean join forces, to create a limited-edition PAM 1243 that retains the legendary large cushion-shaped steel case, luminescent numerals and indexes, and welded wire lugs of the original 1936 Radiomirs and brings to the mix a dial reminiscent of the Eilean’s original aesthetic lineage.
The worlds of sailing and watchmaking meet like never before; handsome, stunning, and loaded with iconic imagery, the new Panerai Radiomir Eilean PAM 1243 allows to time your own legend.
On The Wrist
To my surprise, the 45mm diameter (and 100m water-resistant) watch fits me perfectly, calling my slim ~16cm wrists a perfect home thanks to its brown coloured dial coming alive on my (lighter) coloured skin tone.
I say surprise because my wrists are no match for watches larger than 42mm diameter and I don’t like very heavy watches. But thanks to the presence of wire lugs, the overall lug-to-lug measurement is only 50mm. Being a chunky watch with an excellent wrist presence, it weighs only 118g.
I appreciate how the watch face is large, working well for those with larger wrists; but the overall size is under 50mm, thereby also allowing watch collectors like myself with slimmer wrists to wear this with ease.
The brown fauxtina vibe is present through out — on a piece that is soaked in 1930s DNA but manages to find a place in 2021 with ease — and is presented in a welcome manner here.
More often that not brands simply throw in some patina elements on the dials, calling them homages. But credit to Panerai, the brand has tastefully used these elements, deriving from the actual Radiomirs (and Eilean) from the 1930s.
The patinated steel aesthetic complements this brown colour vibe well, and so does the presence of the Scamosciato brown strap with beige stitching (that starts at 27mm and tapers down to 22mm).
Move inwards and on the signature sandwich teak deck inspired brown dial — I particularly appreciate the Geneva Stripes-esque design as it complements my personal Heuer Monaco LE 1969-79 dial really well — the vintage-style golden finish hands reveal the dance of time.
Thankfully, the cut-out numerals and indices feature beige Super-LumiNovaTM that complements the dial fauxtina and in the dark it turns to a green glow, remaining faithful to the appearance of early Radiomir models.
The cushion-shaped case is made from patina steel with a matte finish. This finish in person lends a touch of warmth to the piece, enthusing it with a time-less charm. It’s a watch that seems to have naturally aged.
With the new Panerai Radiomir Eilean PAM 1243, watch enthusiasts get the rare opportunity to own a piece of wrist machinery that’s all nautical style and complete visual pleasure.
The ref. PAM 01243 features the hand-wound mechanical P.6000 calibre, designed and developed at the Panerai manufacture in Neuchate.
This 35mm x 4.5mm movement comprises 19 jewels and 110 components, beats at the low frequency of 3Hz, offers an impressive 3-day power-reserve, and features an Incabloc® anti-shock device.
It is hidden under an engraved patina steel case-back.
The new Panerai Radiomir Eilean PAM 1243 will be available as a limited release in a number matching the sail number of Eilean, 449 (per year). It is being released this month to coincide with the arrival of its namesake yacht in Portofino as part of a celebration of Italianità.
As an architect who used to draw inspiration from real-life objects, I particularly appreciate the use of references from the actual yacht. Given Panerai acquired the Eilean yacht in 2006 to fully restore it, the new PAM 1243 also features some of the key visual characteristics of this yacht that transfer well too:
- The dial features striations and a variegated brown finish inspired by the teak deck of the yacht
- The dragon emblem that decorates the boat’s hull is also reproduced in an engraving on the left-hand side of the case
- The inscription “Eilean 1936” that is located on the ship’s boom can be read seen on the caseback and strap
- The Cuoio Toscano brown strap features painstaking stitching inspired by lacing found on the sails of Eilean
“There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea,” said Joseph Conrad.
The new Panerai Radiomir Eilean PAM 1243 evokes a great deal of nautical nostalgia.
When you compare the PAM 1243 to a lot of releases from the industry this year, there is nothing more enticing (in vintage meets modern aesthetics), disenchanting (when in comes to the limited availability), and enslaving (thank to its rugged, handsome looks) than the life one can have with this sea-inspired horological masterpiece.
To find out more about the new Panerai Radiomir Eilean PAM 1243 and other Panerai timepieces, please head to their website here. You can also use their phone sale service in Australia by contacting 1800 271 037. All images unless otherwise specified are ©Watch Ya Gonna Do About It. Today’s quick hands-on review has been brought with the grateful assistance of Panerai Australia team. Make sure to check out our reviews of Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.