Earlier this week I got to attend an Officine Panerai event at the brand’s Geneva boutique for a preview of the Radiomir 1940 collection. Considering that the watch had come in at 3rd place at the Montres Passion “Watch of the Year” awards a few weeks prior, the timing couldn’t have been better.

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The 1940 is an interesting offering from Panerai, as it fills a historical void between the 1930’s inspired Radiomir and the 1950 Luminor collections. You can think of the 1940 as a transitional model, as it shares qualities from both. Stylistically, it’s capable of hitting the spot for almost any Paneraisti, and perhaps even new comers to the brand. Personally I’ve always been more of a Radiomir fan but I found a lot that I liked in the 1940.

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The Radiomir 1940 has the same thick cushion case as the 1950 Luminor, but shares an air of slenderness with the Radiomir thanks to the absence of the trademark crown guard. Unlike a Radiomir however, the 1940 has fixed lugs instead of wire lugs; inspired by the steel mono-block cases of its ancestor.

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What’s particularly interesting is that Panerai decided to make the Radiomir 1940 in 2 case sizes: 47mm and a rare 42mm. Both sizes look quite similar with the faux-patina cream Superluminova hour markers and hands and the matte dial, but that’s where the similarities end. The 47mm PAM 514 (steel) and PAM 515 (rose gold) feature the P.3000 3-day movement as well as a date complication. The cases are also proportionally thicker than the 42mm versions. On the wrist it wears surprisingly well for a 47mm case that turned out not to be as garishly oversized as I thought.

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Apart from being slimmer than the 47mm, the 42 has the more historically correct date-less dial. It also runs on the PAM P.999 manually wound movement (that I forgot to photograph), which makes it the slimmest Panerai available, and quite possibly the slimmest Panerai ever made. I have to say, the 42mm Radiomir 1940 sat on the wrist much better than I could have imagined. This could be the right PAM for those who like the Panerai aesthetic but don’t care for the size. The PAM513 for example looked perfect with a shirt and blazer.

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I would’ve taken more photos, but alas the 1940’s inspired cocktails were flowing…

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Thanks to the Panerai Geneva boutique and the folks of Panerai Switzerland for the wonderful evening.

More information on www.panerai.com