The new Panerai Radiomir Otto Giorni (8 Days) is a surprising watch and wearing it for a couple of weeks made me seriously consider the piece. But, not for the reasons I thought when I first saw the press release earlier this year!
What We Love
- Vintage styled design aesthetic
- Great wearing, slim case profile
- The textured, smoked gradient dial
What We Don’t
- Case is a little too dark
- No date (personal preference)
- Wire lugs take a little getting used to
Overall Rating: 8.75/10
- Value for money: 8.5/10
- Wearability: 9/10
- Design: 8.5/10
- Build quality: 9/10
When Panerai released the new Radiomir Otto Giorni (8 Days) back in March for Watches and Wonders, I was immediately drawn to it, the distressed case, the textured smoked dial and the classic Radiomir look. So when I had the option of what Panerai’s I’d like to review next, I immediately jumped at the Radiomir Otto Giorni in blue.
In my experience, press images and renders of watches either go one of two ways. They either make the watch look super cool and the actual piece is a little underwhelming in person, or it goes the other way – they really don’t do it justice at all. Laying eyes on the new Radiomir for the first time, my initial reaction was “This is not quite what I excepted!” but in a good way. The distressed steel was a little darker than expected, the case was thinner and the 45mm diameter case did not look or feel this big at all. And the textured smoke effect dial was much better in real life than the press shots.
Based on all this, I was keen to try it on, as never having owned a Radiomir before or in fact, never having tried one on (Hey, I’ve a Luminor Marina, so never had the urge!) The fit and the wire lugs also took me by surprise, both in a good and not so great way. More on that in a minute.
We covered the release of the two Radiomir Otto Giorni models for Watches and Wonders, which you can read about here, and being a lover of blue dial watches, I was instantly drawn to the blue dial and strap variant over the more traditional brown Fume dial and calfskin strap. In person, it doesn’t disappoint.
The Radiomir 8 Giorni is a throwback to the vintage military issue Radiomirs, specifically the prototype version of 1935. Panerai have taken the design cues from this and other Radiomirs of old, and give the watch some stunning visual elements that in every type of light just works.
The case is the now iconic ‘cushion case’ that Panerai are known for, and in the case of the Otto Giorni, is made from eSteel and then hand finished to give it an aged effect using PVD. This actually creates a totally unique effect, and is darker than all the photos portrayed. I was expecting a more ‘steel’ coloured case, that was slightly aged, however, the aging is much darker and gives the watch more of a stealth effect. Depending on your personal preference, you’ll either love it or you won’t.
The dial is a smoked gradient dial, which looks great in both bright sun and low light, and this combined with the textured effect Panerai have given the dial makes for a really stunning effect. Panerai have done this as an ode to the old Radiomir dials that were made of aluminium and as they aged and anodised, they changed colours and appearance. To me, they’ve captured this effect well in a modern way, and combined with the sandwich dial with the disc of aged yellow or faux-tina Super-LumiNova® under it adds to this vintage aesthetic.
Whilst vintage inspired, Panerai have opted to give the Otto Giorni a couple of modern embellishments with the addition of the small seconds hand at 9 o’clock and combining this with the circular 8 Giorni Brevettato logo at 3 o’clock (a throwback to the 1956 Egiziano model) to balance out the symmetry. The addition of a date window would have been nice, but this is more a personal preference for me as I like to have a date on my watches – years of habit checking the date on my wrist. Would this throw off the dial look? Potentially, but it’s not a deal breaker by any stretch.
The wire lugs holding the blue calf skin strap on work and look the part. At first, I was not loving how the lugs protrude almost straight out from the dial, making the watch a little wider across the wrist, but after a week, you get used to it. Part of me thinks that they could be angled down more, letting the strap sit lower on the case and more flush with the wrist, but again, a very minor quibble and possibly a personal preference.
How It Wears
On paper, this isn’t a small watch. With a 45mm diameter, it’s big, and the images on press releases make it look perhaps a little bigger than it actually is. In reality, it wears much smaller due to two factors. The case is very flat, only 11mm thick from case back to the top of the bezel and just under 14mm including the domed crystal. The Glassbox style crystal gives it much slimmer proportions visually as well and sits flat on the wrist. The other aspect is the case is dark, and as they say, black is slimming, so it looks smaller with the case combined with the blue to black dial and blue calfskin strap.
The Watch Advice team took this and it’s cousin, the Tre Giorni to a recent watch meet up, and each person there was surprised when told the case size, as most thought 42mm or 43mm at most. And it wears small on most wrists, even those that wouldn’t normally go above a 40mm or 41mm could pull this off, again due to the slimness of the case and it’s cushion design. Compared to the 44mm PAM312, it looks smaller and much less chunky on the wrist.
As mentioned previously, I felt the wire lugs stuck out a little as the watch is 55mm lug to lug when taking into account the strap on the wire. But after wearing it around for a good week, you get used to it and as the case does sit flush with the wrist, you’re able to get past this easily. I have a 17.5cm wrist, and across the wrist it still fits nicely.
The blue calfskin strap is soft and sturdy, and this means that there’s no break in period like you would have with other leather straps, a nice bonus as one point of contention I always have with new leather straps is how hard and inflexible they are to start. Very few brands get this right, and to Panerai’s credit, they have in this instance.
The Radiomir Otto Giorni is equipped with the P.5000 calibre, a manual winding movement with 8 days of power being generated by it’s to barrels. At only 4.5mm thick, it’s the reason the main case of the watch is thin, and with only 146 components, this is about half of Panerai’s automatic movements. Whilst visible through the caseback, it’s not a pretty movement, and quite utilitarian with only the escapement balance spring and part of the third wheel visible cut away from the plate.
Not having owned a manual wind watch before (yes, sacrilege I know!) the act of winding the movement is quite satisfying. Being an 8 Day reserve, there’s not a huge need for a power reserve indicator as you would just wind it once a week on a set day, like a Monday. It winds very easily, with a smooth action and listening to the mechanism winding is part of the fun.
The Panerai Radiomir Otto Giorni was a bit of a surprise package if I’m honest. Wearing the watch really gave me an appreciation for all the design elements that have gone into the watch to give it the aged vintage look. As an entire package, it all works beautifully, giving you the feeling you have something different on your wrist. It’s big, but wears small, the strap is soft and super comfortable and it’s not super heavy.
Had I designed this watch for my personal preferences, I may have not darkened the case so much, but it does fly under the radar from a distance, which in some parts of the world these days is a good thing. The blue fired hands also blend into the dial a lot when compared to the brown PAM1347 variant where they really stand out in the sunlight. But this is just me being picky now.
If you’re looking to pick one up, then the Radiomir Otto Giorni is a boutique only piece, or alternatively available through their online store, and will set you back AUD $14,800. If you’re looking at something that’s not your run of the mill steel sports watch, something that has some great military heritage and can be a talking point with fellow collectors, then I’d seriously consider the Radiomir Otto Giorni. Not a fan of blue? Don’t worry, there’s a brown variant as well. I unfortunately now need to give this back!
- Case: 45mm, 14mm thick (11mm case/3mm crystal) and 55mm lug to lug
- Case Material: Hand finished eSteel with brushed PVD coating
- Dial: Blue gradient and textured grain dial with luminous Arabic numerals and hour markers. Small seconds at 9 o’clock
- Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
- Water Resistance: 100m (10BAR)
- Movement: Panerai Calibre P.5000 – featuring 21 jewels, Glucydur® balance, 21,600 vph / 3hz. Incabloc Parechoc® anti-shock device & Two barrels. 146 components.
- Power Reserve: 8 Days
- Strap: Dark blue calf skin strap with cream stitching and aged PVD eSteel buckle