Watchuseek Blog

Friday, February 11, 2011

Into the light: The Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days - 47mm

A new Officine Panerai offering always arouses great intrigue among collectors. Never in their deep sea dreams would Italian divers have believed it possible. That the watch they wore on their wrist, made by Panerai, the company that also supplied their depth gauges and compasses, would one day become a legendary luxury watch brand worn by celebrities and watch aficionados the world over. At the time the British navy were far more interested in their re-breathers than their watches.

In the 1930s and 1940s the names Radiomir and Luminor identified the luminous materials used by Officine Panerai to increase the night-time and underwater visibility of the dials of the watches designed for the commandos of the Italian Navy. Let’s not forget, at this stage the Italians were fighting against the Allies, their Navy was built up by Benito Mussolini yet it was still overstretched as it needed to patrol the entire Mediterranean, Aegean and Red Seas, as well as the Suez canal. So those commandoes would have been kept very busy and life in the Italian navy tended to be brutal and short; all told, the Italian navy lost 36,000 men and 700,000 tons of equipment.

Over the years, the two terms Radiomir and Luminor have come to identify the two different case shapes of the watches of the brand, one of which is a development of the other. In fact, the Luminor case came into being as a result of the need to make the Radiomir case still more water-resistant. To this end, the bridge device with clamping lever was added, protecting the winding crown and making it more water-resistant, while the large, straight lugs, milled with the case from a single block of metal, replaced the wire strap attachments, welded in place.

Now a new model uses a unique case to mark the historic development of the Radiomir case: The Luminor 1950 3 Days – 47 mm. The Luminor 1950 is made of polished steel in an impressively large 47 mm with a rounded, cusp-shaped case band, directly descended from the classic cushion design of the case still used by Radiomir watches today.

While the new model reflects the past it also has a nod to the future; the flat back with the large sapphire crystal window and the slightly narrower lugs which helps to emphasis the watch as a whole. However the dial reflects Officine Panerai’s commitment to authenticity by employing the sandwich construction famed for providing excellent visibility under all conditions.

The powerful luminosity of the watch underwater and in dark conditions is achieved by a large quantity of luminous material applied between the two thin sheets forming the dial. It appears through the figures and the hour markers cut through the upper plate. The hour and minute hands are also covered with the same ecru-coloured luminous material.

The new Luminor 1950 3 Days – 47 mm is fitted with the P.3000 calibre, a hand-wound mechanical movement designed and developed by the Officine Panerai manufacture in Neuchatel. The P.3000 has large bridges and two spring barrels providing a power reserve of three days.

With reference number PAM00372, there will be a limited edition of 3,000 units of the Luminor 1950 3 Days – 47 mm released. It comes on a leather strap with a vintage finish to make it as close as possible to the straps on the original models of the time complete with the classic Panerai buckle in brushed steel.


Movement: hand-wound mechanical, Panerai P.3000 calibre, executed entirely by Panerai, 16½ lignes, 5.3 mm thick, 21 jewels. Power reserve 3 days, two barrels. 160 components
Functions: fours, minutes
Case: diameter 47 mm, polished steel
Bezel: polished steel
Back: see-through sapphire crystal
Device protecting the crown:
Dial: Black with luminous Arabic numerals and hour markers
Crystal: Plexiglas®, 3 mm thick
Water-resistance: 10 bar (~100 meters)
Strap: Panerai personalised leather strap and large-size brushed steel buckle. With second interchangeable strap and steel screwdriver

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