Nothing says nautical luxury than cruising the cote d’azure in a classic yacht, wind in the sails and, ideally, a hefty, diving-inspired timepiece strapped securely to your wrist. A Panerai, for example. It’s no surprise therefore that the latest from the heritage Italian brand is inspired by a sailing yacht; what’s more surprising perhaps is the story behind the new Radiomir Eilean.
Eilean is a very specific vessel, one that was first built in 1936, the same exact year that Panerai launched the first Radiomir. It took another 70 years before the two would become entwined however, when Panerai bought the yacht in 2006 with the aim of restoring it to its former glory after several years of it languishing in disrepair.
Unlike the mega yachts we’re used to seeing today – and which a good portion of Panerai’s clientele is likely familiar with – Eilean is a slim, sailing vessel drenched in nautical nostalgia. It’s luxury sailing at its finest, harking back to the days before media rooms came as standard. In short, it’s beautiful. The eponymous watch ain’t too shabby either.
Firstly, as an homage to 1936, the new watch tries to encapsulate all the classic aspects of its heritage. It’s 45mm stainless steel cushion case is practically identical to the original Radiomir, given a matt finish for additional warmth. It also has the same 100m water resistance as the original. As a nod to the boat, the side of the case at 9 o’clock is engraved with ‘Eilean 1936’ as well as a stylised dragon ripped directly from the yacht.
Similarly, the dial is a mixture of vintage inspired features and design elements lifted from Eilean. The gold finished hands and sandwich dial coated with green glowing SuperLuminova™ are classic Radiomir, whereas the style of dial with its vertical striations in brown is highly reminiscent of the teak deck of the yacht.
One area Panerai haven’t managed to tie in some yacht theming is the movement. A wind-powered calibre would be a bit too inconvenient. Instead, it’s the manual P.6000 calibre, a time-only movement boasting a solid 72-hour power reserve.
The Radiomir Eilean is presented on a brown calf leather strap adorned with sailing inspired stitching because of course it is. It’s available in a limited production (not edition) of 449 pieces per year and is priced at £7,000. It’s certainly a step up from the equally yacht-inclined Omega Aqua Terra Small Seconds, but this is a Panerai; the name comes with a premium.
And who knows? If you ask nicely, you might get to sail on Eilean proper. Well, we can dream, anyway.
Price & Specs:
Model: Panerai Radiomir Eilean
Case/Dial: 45mm diameter, patina steel case with matt finish, brown sandwich dial
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Calibre P.6000, manual winding, 19 jewels, 110 parts
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power Reserve: 72h (3 days)
Functions: Hours, minutes
Strap: Dark brown Cuoio Toscano calf leather
Price/availability: £7,000, limited to 449 pieces per year
More details at Panerai.