Since the integrity and reputation of WCL is based on bringing you objective watch reviews and unbiased points of view, we have no other option than to 'call a spade a spade' when it comes to the new Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days California Dial PAM 718 that we just reviewed yesterday. As you all know, it is no secret that we have several Panerais in our watch collection and it is also no secret that we really like Panerai and we praise most of their novelties when they get released. However, while many Paneristi would praise any Panerai fitted with a California dial, there are several things about the design of the new PAM 00718 that we would like to to point out as flaws or pitfalls.
First, this Radiomir 1940 is fitted with a 42 mm 18K white gold case and second, its California dial is unsigned without any Panerai logos. While the majority of the Radiomir 1940 watches have been very successful and highly appealing thanks to its variety of case sizes —42 mm, 45 mm, 47 mm and 48 mm—, we can't say the same about the Radiomir 1940 watches fitted with a 42 mm case. While many men with smaller wrists would prefer a watch in the 40-42 mm range, when it comes to owning a Panerai, the bigger the better. In our opinion, the 42 mm cases are perfect for ladies but much less appealing to the overall Panerai customer base.
The Case & Dial
The new Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days California Dial PAM 718 is fitted with a 42 mm case in 18K white gold that is too light —total weight of 103.5 grams— for a precious metal watch with such a price tag. Just to put it in perspective, the total weight of a Radiomir Black Seal PAM 183 is around 115 grams. Overall, the case of the PAM 718 is nicely executed with a mirror-polished finish but relatively too thin for our liking.
Now, regarding the dial, we continue to ask ourselves why Panerai decided to go with a sterile dial with no Panerai logos for this particular reference. While we like the lack of Panerai logos on the Radiomir California PAM 448 and the use of the 'California' engraving on its rehaut, we fell that the new Radiomir 1940 PAM 718 should've had at the very least an 'OP' logo like that on the Radiomir California PAM 424.
Additionally, the black matte dial on the new PAM 718 is less vintage looking than other Panerai California dials and that is something we clearly understand and we are OK with; especially, because its case proportions make this watch perfectly sized for a woman and not meant to look too much like a vintage inspired Panerai. Also, upon close examination, the superluminova on this dial is definitely less 'ecru' —beige— than the luminova used in the other California dial historical inspired Panerais like the PAM 424 and the PAM 448.
While the dial on the Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days California Dial PAM 718 is still super nice and eye-catching thanks to its blued hands and its ultra bright superluminova, the branding aspect is definitely missing and what we consider to be a design flaw. While the Panerai Radiomir California PAM 448 lacks of logos and brands like H. Moser & Cie. have been successful at selling timepieces with no branding on their dials —i.e. the Endeavour Center Seconds Concept—, that rule doesn't apply here considering the case material and the size of the watch.
A 42 mm $20,500 USD Panerai with no logo on its dial considering the high number of 'homage' watches that try to look like a Panerai Cali? Our answer is no way.
In our opinion, this watch would've been more interesting had it been fitted with a Panerai signed dial. Especially, when one can find a Parnis homage watch with a California dial and an Asian-made 17-jewel manual wound movement selling for $95 USD. At this price point, you definitely want for those that are not savvy about Panerai to know that you indeed have a Panerai on your wrist.
The Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days California Dial PAM 718 is powered by the new Panerai manual wound in-house calibre P.1000 with a power reserve of 3 days. This movement composed of 152 parts and 21 jewels is a very solid, strong and reliable movement. To ensure maximum security and stability, Panerai fitted this movement with a special bridge with two supports to hold the balance wheel. The bridge is fixed by screws with threaded rings for micrometer adjustment of the height and the movement beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph —4 Hz— to provide a power reserve of three full days —72 hours— with two barrels.
On the Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the watch wears smaller than its actual size and more like a 40 mm watch. When compared to how other Panerais wear, the Radiomir 1940 3 Days California PAM 718 is definitely more of a 'ladies watch', especially if your wrist circumference is 7" or more. While the new Panerai Radiomir 1940 California PAM 718 is ultra exclusive as only 50-pieces were made, because of its price tag, case size and lack of branding on the dial, it is a no go for us. If you really want a California dial Panerai, we suggest you get the real deal with a PAM 424 and/or a PAM 448 for way less money.
Now, if you really want to spend $20K on a sexy gold Panerai Radiomir to fill your Christmas stocking or as a gift to yourself for Hanukkah, get a Radiomir GMT 3 Days Oro Rosso PAM 421 like the one we reviewed here. For sure, you'll be getting way more watch for your money.
Sticker Price $20,500 USD. For more info on Officine Panerai click here.