Even the most established legends have an origin story. The modern Panerai watch as it is recognized today began in 1936 with the Radiomir, an instrument devised to support marine missions and named for the material patented by Guido Panerai to illuminate dials and sights. Its outstanding features: a large, cushion-shaped steel case, luminescent numerals and indexes and welded wire lugs, have passed largely unchanged from one generation of the Radiomir collection to the next, a testament to the stature of the original.
In a stroke of fate, a yacht that would become a part of the Panerai story was also created in 1936. Eilean, designed by preeminent boat builder William Fife III of Scotland’s Fife boatyard, sailed the seas of Europe and the Caribbean for decades before falling into disrepair in the early 21st century. Panerai acquired the yacht in 2006 to fully restore its splendor.
The Radiomir Eilean couples the hallmark features of the historic Radiomir collection and the aesthetic lineage of Eilean.Its 45mm case, with proportions and features that have endured since the time of the first Radiomir, is composed of patina steel with a matte finish that reflects light with a softer, warmer luster than highly polished metal. Within the case, vintage-style golden finish hands mark the time on a signature sandwich dial featuring numerals and indices in beige Super-LumiNova with a green glow, features that remain faithful to the appearance of early models.
Details that reveal the special nautical inheritance of the Radiomir Eilean are apparent from every vantage. The surface of the dial features striations and a variegated brown finish that evokes the teak deck of the yacht, while the caseback and strap bear an inscription that reads “Eilean 1936” and is identical to one located on the ship’s boom. Likewise, the dragon emblem that decorates the boat’s hull was reproduced in an engraving on the left-hand side of the case. Made from leather produced in Tuscany, the Italian region where Panerai was born, the watch strap features painstaking stitching inspired by lacing found on the sails of Eilean. Only able to be applied by hand, the technique produces a strap that will withstand the rigors of hard conditions while maintaining its integrity and beauty. The totality of elements celebrates the majesty of materials and techniques that only improve with the passage of time and the accumulation of history.
Faithful to the heritage of the Radiomir inside and out, the Radiomir Eilean features a hand-wound movement like its forebears and its case is water resistant up to 10 bar (about 100 meters), while its calibre has a three-day power reserve and is designed and developed at the Panerai manufacture in Neuchatel.
Available in only 449 pieces per year, which reminds of the sail number of Eilean, the Radiomir Eilean will debut in July 2021 to coincide with the arrival of its namesake yacht in Portofino as part of a celebration of Italianità, a concept that describes the highest expression of distinctly Italian culture, style and identity. The Radiomir Eilean is a brilliant representation of Italianità in the watchmaking sphere.
Visit www.panerai.com for information.