[VIDEO] Review: The Panerai Radiomir Quaranta

Are there any watches or watch brands that you just have an odd relationship with? Not in a literal sense, but rather in the sense of vacillating appreciation. Once you loved them, then you didn’t, then, on a cold rainy night, you met again by chance and it was happily ever after? Ok, that’s overly dramatic, but the reason for this odd intro is that the brand featured in this review is one that I have had mixed emotions about over the years, making this very post the first time I’ve ever actually reviewed, neigh, worn one, despite the prominence and popularity of the brand. As you already know, the watch is a Panerai Radiomir Quaranta, and this review was a long time coming.

You see, before the days of Worn & Wound, when my knowledge of watches was only that of the proverbial tip of the iceberg, Panerai was a brand I quite admired. I recall, distinctly, walking past a Panerai boutique on the East Side of Manhattan and seeing the Black Seal model in the window. It was stunning. I stared at it like in some scene from a bad Hallmark movie of a sad child looking at a puppy dog. But hardly being in the market for a luxury watch at the time, I eventually just kept walking. Years later, after launching Worn & Wound, my knowledge and exposure grew.

2011 was a different time for watches. Microbrands weren’t quite a thing. Tudor wasn’t for sale in the US. Vintage watches were still a niche, and dealers were few and far between. The “internet” was sort of mistrusted by Swiss watch brands and big watches were in. Though the wave had begun to crest, brands like Panerai and Bell & Ross, who had very strong forum followings, were the trend.

The effect of that was visible downstream as well. Brands like Magrette, Benarus, Maranez, Lum-Tec, and others had (and still do) big, cushion-cased divers front and center in their catalogs. Watches, especially divers, under 40mm were unheard of. Straps reflected this too. While mil-straps were gaining steam, thick, straight-cut leather straps with “pre-V” buckles dominated the secondary strap market. And, well, being the person I am, I couldn’t help but want to zig if everyone else was zagging. The fact that they were totally out of my ballpark didn’t help either.

It’s 12 years later and things are different. The world of watches and watch collecting has changed dramatically. Watches over 40mm get negative comments and the landscape of brands has grown rather dramatically. While Panerai maintains its stature as a globally popular brand, its position as an enthusiast mainstay has cooled a bit, and the trend of cushion cases, neigh Panerai-homages, has died down somewhat as well (though will never be fully gone). And what does that mean? Perhaps it’s time for a change.

Last year, Panerai announced the Luminor Quaranta, which in retrospect, I’m surprised wasn’t a bigger deal. Quaranta means 40, so as you might have guessed, these were 40mm versions of their iconic Luminor Marina watches. While best known and perhaps appreciated in 45 and 47mm cases, those sizes always limited their customer pool, especially given the trend of smaller watches. Ok, admittedly there is also the 38mm “Due” but that seems to be marketed differently.

For 2023, Panerai extended the Quaranta series by adding Radiomir models, which I dare say, make even more sense in a smaller case. The more casual Panerai, they feature a case design that lacks the giant crown protector, and often (as in this instance) has wire lugs. More elegant by nature they just begged for smaller case sizes.

As for the Radiomir Quaranta in this review… Well, the story echoes my past with Panerai, except rather than strolling down the street, I was walking through the Worn & Wound office. We had a trio of this new model in the office for a photoshoot. Seeing watches around the office is hardly a unique experience, yet these stopped me in my tracks. They were smaller than other Panerais I’ve seen, yet big enough to stand out in a room. I immediately wanted to put one on my wrist, and the silver dial just called out to me. So, I did and kept wearing it on and off for a few weeks.


[VIDEO] Review: The Panerai Radiomir Quaranta

Stainless Steel
Panerai P.900
Water Resistance
40 x 40mm
Lug Width


With a preconceived notion that Panerais are big watches, I was thoroughly charmed by the more minor case of the Quaranta, which is basically 40mm square. The Radiomir has wire lugs, so there is no lug-to-lug to factor in, making it feel even smaller. It also measures a hair under 11mm thick, which combined with the generally curvaceous surfaces and gently domed crystal feels quite svelte.

The shape of the Radiomir case is quite elegant in general, which I think works into its success at a smaller-if-not-small size. The way the surfaces dome and meet at the corners, the way it swells out just a bit on the sides, the thin wire lugs. Though Panerai is known for muscular watches, they know their way around something more demure.

Yet, despite the smaller case size, the strap that comes on it is still 24mm. At first, this was hard for me to wrap my head around. I don’t usually even like 22mm straps on watches under 42mm, but this was 24mm on a 40mm. It shouldn’t work, and I can see it bothering some but I got used to it. This watch doesn’t wear like other watches. The general proportions of diameter to strap width don’t seem to apply. It’s almost like an integrated strap. The wide strap creates a flow from the sides of the case around the wrist that would perhaps be lacking otherwise given the wire lugs.

My only misgiving here is that the dark brown gator strap accompanying the watch is very thick and solid, so it feels a bit too rigid at the lug, standing straight up off the wrist, rather than flowing around it. Of course, the strap can be changed, so that’s not a huge issue, and the color and style of the strap suit the watch otherwise. I didn’t get to try a 24mm nylon strap, but I imagine that would also be a fun alternative.

One conceptual issue with the case is that the water resistance is only 30m. While this is not a dive watch, in fact leaning towards the formal, I still associate Panerai with the nautical, which is supported by its branding and imagery. Additionally, the watch has a screw-down crown, and making a watch with at least 100m of water resistance doesn’t seem to be a challenge at this point in time. 30m is the bare minimum, and while that should cover most day-to-day aquatic interactions, isn’t exactly confidence-inspiring either.


As for the dial, well, there really aren’t any surprises as far as I can tell. It looks like a Panerai, as most Panerai do, which is a good thing. It’s a sandwich construction with a single layer in pale silver over a surface of khaki lume. Call it fauxtina if you want, I know white wouldn’t have worked with this dial, and green would have looked too sporty. The soft hue of the khaki plays off of the silver for a gentle contrast that works with the overall refined nature of the watch. Similarly, the gold hands play off of the warmth to a nice effect.

There are large numerals at 12 and 6 with baton shapes in between and sub-seconds at 9. It’s all balanced quite well, with even a sizeable “Radiomir / Panerai” at 12 not feeling too aggressive. That said, there is one detail that felt a bit out of place. Yep, the date window. While having a date is not in itself an issue, though I don’t think it needs one either, the execution feels a bit like an afterthought. The disk is bright white and the type is crisp black, so it sticks out too much. Not to mention the differing typography.

While customized dates used to seem hard to achieve, at this point it’s fairly standard and should be expected on a watch at this price point (well, and under too). A shaped window with a matching disk color, perhaps brown type, and a typeface that echoes their signature look – basically what you would find on a vintage Polerouter – would have looked so good. I wouldn’t like to think there is a generic movement in a watch at this price.


To that end, the movement is sort of in between. It’s the Panerai P. 900, which is a 3-day automatic. Since Panerai is part of Richemont, they use Val Fleurier movements, which is their in-group movement manufacturer. Think of it as the ETA to Swatch Group, but with a higher point of entry. Similarly, as you move up market within the group (i.e JLC, Cartier, Lange) the movements move more “in-house”. Lots of tricky semantics around this all, but hopefully you get the picture.

With that said, the P. 900 is similar to what you’d find in some Baume et Mercier and IWC watches as well. For all intents and purposes, it seems like a perfectly fine movement but not particularly special or, at this point, competitive with similarly priced options. Tudor and Omega obviously come to mind, both offering chronometer, or better, certified movements that are highly amagnetic and have other benefits as well. Even the Baume et Mercier Baumatic comes with a chronometer rating and 120-hr power reserve for about half the price.


Moving on, my favorite thing about the Quaranta is just how it fits my 7” wrist. It was bold yet graceful, still clearly coming across as a Panerai, yet sized appropriately for my wrist. A 40mm square sits nicely centered on the wrist and stays centered and flat thanks to the relatively thin profile. Obviously, the wire lugs reduce the overall perceived size as well. While I imagine a larger Radiomir would still wear better than expected because of the wire lugs too, the slightly smaller dial opening of the Quaranta, which is still fairly large proportionally to the case, helps reduce the overall visual impact.

As I try to wear a blazer and/or tuck in my shirt a few times a week (life goals) I found the level of formality from the gold and gator worked quite well with my own style at this point in time. With that said, it’s also not a dress watch, and thanks to its size and general design language would work well with jeans and generally casual attire too. I’d love to see it on a green suede strap, as I think that would pair beautifully with the dial colors. Sadly, I had literally no 24mm straps laying around to try.




The Panerai Radiomir Quaranta is the Panerai for the Panerai-curious. For those who liked the looks of the watches, but not the size, or perhaps bravado associated with the brand. Though I have a couple of issues with some of the details, they didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying wearing it. Spending time with it convinced me that it’s the kind of watch I would enjoy having in my collection. Thanks to the case shape, dial design, wide strap, etc, it isn’t really like my other three-hand watches.

However, at $6,000 I would be lying if I didn’t say that I think there are better values out there. For a steel, three-hand watch with 30m of water resistance and a good-if-not-spectacular movement, $6k is a lot, granted that is full MSRP. The competition these days is stiff, even for luxury watches at retail. While I applaud Panerai for making a smaller watch, not that that’s really groundbreaking, I do think they need to find other ways to stay competitive and at least get chronometer certification on, well, everything.

So then who is this for? Well, clearly Panerai doesn’t have trouble finding customers, and for many who have wanted a Panerai but couldn’t find one that fits, this might be perfect. The reality is if you can afford it, want it, and aren’t price comparing, all that matters is whether or not you’ll be happy with it. And in my experience, I think you will be. Panerai

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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