Dwayne Johnson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, aside from a good slice of the Expendables, this short list of high-profile Paneristi reads like the dream cover of guns weekly – whichever version of ‘guns’ you mean. Indeed, ever since it survived a cave-in on Sly’s wrist in Daylight, Panerai’s been synonymous with the kind of macho survivalism that makes the box office revel and critics wince. However, that raises the question, what’s a Panerai actually like to wear for a regular person without ham-sized forearms? In order to answer that question, I strapped on the Panerai Radiomir Otto Giorni for a few days to give it a thorough review.
The Radiomir Otto Giorni is one of the new watches that Panerai launched at the start of the month alongside a suite of other Radiomirs like the California, Quaranta and Annual Calendar. Of the four new pieces, it was the one I most wanted to try out because it features several new elements alongside some quintessential Panerai characteristics.
By ‘quintessential Panerai characteristic’ I’m obviously talking about its size – 45mm in diameter. On paper that looks like a large number, a number large enough to make most collectors think twice. But on the wrist, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to wear. That’s thanks in a large part to the wire lugs and cushion case shape, both of which mean it sits incredibly flat against my wrist.
Unlike an integrated strap where the shape of the case and lugs essentially force the strap to flair out from the body of the watch, the Radiomir allows the strap to be virtually perpendicular to the case immediately, so that it fits securely on even slim arms. Of course, you then have to contend with the aesthetic of having the watch dominate from wrist-edge to wrist-edge but after a relatively short time I was used to the look of it. It helps that the case features Panerai’s new Brunito finishing and the presence that the watch naturally has really shows it off.
Brunito finishing is the term Panerai have given to the faux weathering on the case. It’s achieved through a process of giving the eSteel case a dark PVD coating that’s then hand-worn away to give it a weathered, vintage appearance. The principle reminds me of the Nivada Grenchen Super Antarctic 3/6/9 Cadran Tropical where they artificially engineered a tropical dial. The Otto Giorni doesn’t just look weathered, it is genuinely weathered, the look just wasn’t achieved through the natural processes of time. The vintage look is enhanced by the gradient blue dial that fades towards the edges, matching the darkness of the case.
I’m actually a fan of the concept, it means you can get the vintage aesthetic without the troubles of finding an actual vintage piece in good condition for a reasonable price – although I appreciate that there will be diehard Paneristi who don’t believe there’s any substitute for the original article. The other reason I’m a fan is it allows you to have the vintage look while also having Panerai’s seminal P.5000 calibre.
The P.5000 has a frankly astonishing 8-day power reserve, which is what the name Otto Giorni stands for. It means that once wound, I could’ve taken it off and left it in its case and it would still have been ticking by the time I needed to send it back to Panerai. Also, as it’s a manual wind piece, it means there isn’t the constant nagging thought that it needs to be wound constantly. It’s also incredibly satisfying to wind with its fluted, oversize crown. I often found myself turning the watch over to admire the lovely, brushed finishing of the plate through the exhibition caseback.
Ultimately, I learned that I shouldn’t be as afraid of large watches as I previously was. If they’re well executed and carefully designed as the Radiomir Otto Giorni so clearly is, then they can be just as comfortable and look just as good as a much smaller timepiece. Plus, at £8,400 it’s not the hardest aspiration to attain.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Panerai Radiomir Otto Giorni
- Ref: PAM01348
- Case/dial: 45mm diameter, Brunito eSteel™ (stainless steel) case, degradé blue dial
- Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
- Movement: Panerai calibre P.5000, manual winding, 21 jewels, 146 parts
- Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
- Power reserve: 192h (8 days)
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
- Strap: Scamosciato Blu profondo leather
- Price/availability: £8,400
More details at Panerai.