Panerai for SIHH 2016 revealed the PAM 662, a special edition based on a model made by Panerai for the Egyptian Navy. For a long time die hard fans of the brand have wanted a modern iteration. Signor Bonatti granted them their wish. We review the PAM 662 Radiomir 1940 Special Edition based on the vintage “Egiziano Piccolo”.
First a little history of the original. In 1954 the Egyptian Navy turned to the Florentine watchmaker Panerai for the supply of a special series of diver’s watches designed for frogmen. The reference 6154 was created and has become known as the Egiziano Piccolo to collectors. Its bigger brother is known as the Big Egiziano which is a whopping 60mm big!
Now onto the 2016 special edition. The case is 47mm and is made from stainless steel. Its case shape is known as the Radiomir 1940 as it marks the transition from the wire lugged Radiomir from 1936 to the fixed lugged Luminor 1950 shape with the iconic crown guard.
The “brown” dial is the draw card for this timepiece. Technically its a shade of brown, you may be tempted to say tobacco but it isn’t. The dial colour was designed to look like vintage Panerai timepieces, with dials that have faded. Now for a usual vintgae wristwatch the dial fades due to sunlight exposure and moisture. For vintage Panerai dials these factors may have attributed to the dial fading somewhat but it was more likely due to the luminous material of radium based paint used on the hands and numerals on the dial. In addition to the faded colour dial, Panerai has used Superluminova that looks like it has patinaed for the hands, the 12, 3, 6 and 9 hour numerals and markers. on the dial. The Superluminova has been painted onto the dial so there is no “Sandwich” dial like on other Panerais. Panerai have used debossing on the hour numerals and markers to indent them just a fraction, giving the effect of a “Sandwich” dial. The look is finished off with gold hour and minute hands. The words RADIOMIR and PANERAI in white have been engraved into to the dial.
Just like the vintage 6154, the PAM 662 Special edition has a knurled crown sans crown guard with the OP logo and instead of sapphire crystal, Plexiglass has been used and sits higher up from the bezel. The watch comes on a dark brown leather strap with the stitching colour matching the dial markers. On the reverse side of the watch, visible through the sapphire crystal caseback is the movement. The P3000 hand wound calibre. is made in-house by Panerai. It features a freesprung balance wheel and three quarter plate layout. Beating at 21,600 alternations/hour, it has a power reserve of 3 days (72 Hours). A solid movement with not much to look at since most of it is covered by the plates.
Overall the PAM 662 looks good and Panerai have done a great job, making a modern iteration of the Egiziano Piccolo. With the flat caseback it sits nicely on the wrist and that “brown” dial stands out.
At $9,800 US Dollars, it is a reasonable price for a special edition from Panerai. With only 1000 units been produced, we know the Paneristi around the world will have already placed their orders.
If you really want the iconic crown guard with the same trimmings as the PAM 662 you can always opt for the 1000 unit PAM 663 Luminor 1950 Special Edition. It will cost you $400 USD more but the choice is yours!