California Dial Radomir 1936 Panerai  2 Comments


A remake of the original Radiomir ref. 3646, the Radiomir 1936 'California dial' was announced in 2006, and only just started arriving at authorised dealers. Needless to say the watch has generated tremendous interest, obtaining one is difficult and involves a long wait.

Fortunately, a good friend of ThePuristS and Watchinghorology kindly allowed Harry to photograph his watch. I preempted Harry and posted the photos on ThePuristS here. Without a doubt they are some of the finest photos of this watch.

Like the original, the Radiomir 1936 is 47mm in diameter. But instead of the Rolex calibre, this contemporary remake has the Unitas cal. 6497, otherwise known as the OP X, also found in numerous other manually wound modern Panerai watches.

But that is missing the point. The main attraction of a Panerai is not the movement, but the dial. This style of dial, with a combination of Roman and Arabic numerals is colloqially known as the 'California dial'. The term only began to be used widely in the eighties, when a redial company based on California refinished large numbers of Rolex Bubbleback dials in this style. Of course the Roman and Arabic number mix predates that, the original Panerai ref. 3646 dates to the 1930s, and Rolex was using this design some years before that, and the original 3646 was made by Rolex too.

Panerai cleverly made the luminous indices and hands on this 1936 with a brownish tinge, so this modern 1936 resembles the battered and worn (and very valuable) originals from the thirties. Normally I am against such faux aging, but in this case the watch is immensely attractive. Together with the blue steel hands, the aesthetic of this watch is perfect. If it had the JLC 8 days movement found in the PAM190, this would be the ultimate Panerai.


More photos of the watch can be found here.


POSTSCRIPT: I have published my usual photomontage of this series of images for my Virtual Watch Musuem. To view this presentation, CLICK HERE.

- Harry Tan



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Watching Horology


  • This is a personal blog of Harry SK Tan on all things pertaining to Horology - from watch collecting, horolography, news and developments from all over the world particularly Singapore.
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Horolography - noun, the art of photographing timepieces

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