In the pantheon of divers, Italy’s Officine Panerai occupies a special position. As the originator of many innovations in both watch design and watchmaking, OP is a must-know brand for horological history buffs. And today’s timepiece – the Radiomir Black Seal – harkens back to Panerai’s formative years.
As the oldest design in Panerai’s collection the Radiomir shows just how true OP has remained to its design roots through 85 years of watchmaking. The watch’s unique moniker originates from the nickname given to the Italian Navy divers of WWII whose diving suits provided the nickname “Black Seal”. With its distinctive case shape and large indices at 6 and 12, the Radiomir is eminently readable. Panerai’s famous lug shape is featured as well, lending a secure attachment point for the black crocodile leather strap with hand-sewn contrasting white stitching. A small seconds indicator sits at the 9 o’clock spot and is highly visible thanks to the namesake lume that made the Radiomir famous originally. Finally, an onion crown at 3 is the same design as the original 1936 style and lacks the crown guard made popular on subsequent Panerai models like the Luminor. At 45mm, this is a watch with presence and is durable as well – you can dive to 10ATM.