One of the timepieces Panerai released at Watches & Wonders 2023 features a new annual calendar movement. That was exciting news because watchmakers are at a particular level of comfort when they decide to make practical annual calendar movements, as opposed to simple calendars or more complicated perpetual calendars. As I will explain below, in my opinion, annual calendars represent a sweet spot because of their features and convenience. The new watch is the Panerai Radiomir Annual Calendar Goldtech reference PAM1363, and it is a rather glitzy way to feature the movement given the 18k gold case material. Ironically, rather than introduce lower-priced versions of the Radiomir Annual Calendar (“Calendario Annuale”) as a follow-up to the gold version, Panerai went even more high-end with the versions of the Radiomir Annual Calendar Platinumtech. (It is platinum, so I don’t understand where the “tech” comes in.)
Annual calendars are interesting because they go most of the way to a perpetual calendar but don’t include a correction for leap years. That means you need to adjust annual calendars up to once a year, in February. I am totally OK with that if it means gaining simplicity and value. Most annual calendar watches cost less than perpetual calendars, and they also often have cleaner dials. Finally, annual calendar watch cases tend to have fewer, if any, inset correctors on the case (which I happen to find ugly). This Radiomir Annual Calendar has just one inset corrector on the side of the case, which is used to adjust the month.
The movement inside the Radiomir Annual Calendar is the in-house Panerai caliber P.9010/AC automatic. It operates at 4Hz with three days of power reserve. The annual calendar system is a module on top of the main timekeeping movement, with a subsidiary seconds indicator at 9 o’clock. What’s so great about the display is how the months are indicated. Panerai keeps the dial relatively clean by arranging it as a “day/date plus” face. That means when you look to read the calendar information, you see what appears to be a day/date window at the 3 o’clock position. But then you look a bit more to the right, and you see that the entire outer periphery of the face uses the hour markers for an additional purpose. Beside each hour marker is a month indicator on a moving disc. That disc makes a full-stop rotation at the end of each month. Note that the calendar information such as the month and day of the week are in Italian versus English. This is a fun way to add a bit more Italian brand character to this piece.
My favorite case design at Panerai is the Radiomir, with its wire-style lugs and vintage-style crown. Here, the cushion-shaped Radiomir case is 45mm wide in 18k rose gold (water resistant to 100 meters). The dial of the watch is a metallic fume blue. Given the curvature of the sapphire crystals over most Panerai watches, glare is a major issue when photographing them. This is less of an issue when looking at the dial with your eyes, but Panerai watches do tend to reflect a lot of light.
I doubt that the Radiomir Annual Calendar will be too many people’s first Panerai watch. This product appears to be for collectors who are interested in a modestly complicated, albeit practical sport-style watch produced in a luxury material. That might sound niche, but so is the appeal of many luxury timepieces when it comes to finding an audience. The goal for most of these high-end watches isn’t to make a lot of people sort of happy. Rather, the goal is to make just a few people very happy. That’s why exclusive production and original design as concepts in this space are very in right now.
A steel or titanium version of this Radiomir Annual Calendar would be a very sweet watch at half the price. The availability of such a product isn’t out of the question, but I think it will take a little while for such a product to come on the market. Panerai, like many names in the luxury watch space, tends to put their newer movements in expensive watches before more affordable ones. Panerai has every reason to trickle out timepieces with the caliber P.9010/AC automatic movement to make this mechanism feel special. The good news is that, in addition to more humble versions of the Radiomir to feature this movement, there is a good chance that if it is successful, Panerai will experiment by using the caliber P.9010/AC in other models such as the Luminor.
Attached to the Panerai Radiomir Annual Calendar Goldtech watch is a comfortable blue alligator strap with a calfskin lining. This is an excellent watch for people who like practical and sporty annual calendar movements. That said, the pricing and size of this watch create limiting factors for a lot of buyers, but almost anyone in the enthusiast community can enjoy what Panerai did with the dial here, and admit this is a great execution of an annual calendar layout. Price for the Panerai Radiomir Annual Calendar Goldtech PAM01363 watch is USD $39,200 . Learn more at the Panerai website.