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PAM 448 Review; And a bit about John!

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    PAM 448 Review; And a bit about John!

    The Panerai Radiomir California Limited - PAM000448

    I got this watch from John/Timewilltell. He's a champ, and he got me this watch in a grand total of... ONE DAY. I requested it at noon, he sent me pictures by the night. He even handpicked the watch for me, and checked for imperfections before sending. What a guy, eh? Not many of you know this, but John can get any watch for you from any factory, as long as you send him a link from a TD. I don't see many watches posted in this section, but any request can be catered to. He also gives competitive prices and very good service.

    History of the California Dial:

    The California dial was first pioneered by Rolex, and consists of a triangle marker at 12, stick markers at 3,6 and 9, and here's the interesting bit: The top half of the dial is roman numerals, while the bottom half is arabic.

    Don't ask me why they're called "California dials"; I have no idea.

    This art deco style broke some simple rules of design: Never use two typefaces in a single design. Some suspect that the dial served to make it so that reading the watch in the dark or in harsh conditions was always accurate, and soldiers could know the time even if in shock.

    The Cali dial is a love hate thing, and I happen to love it. I just think it's cool as heck, but some think it looks like a mess. Each to his own, I suppose.

    The PAM000448:

    Announced at SIHH 2012 in a set of 4, the 448 reflects the historical Radiomir watches first created in the 1940s.

    Size: 47mm
    Style: Radiomir
    Strap size: 26/22
    Movement: Panerai p3000 "Superclone"
    Material: Polished Stainless Steel
    Caseback: Display
    Crystal: Plexiglass

    In the SIHH 2012 set:
    448 - California dial, Plexi, Limited edition, Blue hands
    449 - SLC dial, Plexi, Limited edition, Blue hands
    424 - California dial, *date*, sapphire, yearly run, gold hands
    425 - SLC Pig dial, sapphire, yearly run, gold hands

    The entire collection is rather low in price, although the limited edition does go for a couple thousand more.


    The build of this rep is phenomenal. Nothing creaks, no joints worry me, the plexi is perfect, the wire lugs don't bend, and the steel seems pretty tough.

    One thing that utterly surprised me is that the crown tube was not horrendous like most other reps. This one turned and locked in very nicely, and the stem did not wobble at all in the tube. However, the thread is still rough, and will need some lubrication. Check my thread "5 ways to improve a rep" for this. ' Also, the crown sticks out quite a lot, just like the gen. Perfect.

    Something that worries me, however, is that the caseback arrived partially unscrewed. You may want to check that when yours arrives too. Also, the display caseback is made of mineral glass, instead of sapphire crystal. Most factories actually do this, and I haven't seen a single rep that isn't mineral glass. Just be sure not to smack it with anything.

    The crown is very well built, and has some purchase to it. The teeth on the crown are also "softened", ie. the sharp corners are rounded, which lessens the pain on fingers. Sweet.

    The shape of the case is crafted phenomenally. Not a single imperfection in sight. I can't comment on the accuracy of the piece though, I'm horrible at comparing different cases. Member vader1 has pointed out that the engraving of the OP logo on the crown is not deep enough, and too big. I personally don't care.

    The shape of the plexi is very nice, I would say it's spot on to the gen, as it has that same distortion when you tilt the watch and look at it from the edge. It has a quality where there is a flat edge running around the outside just above the bezel, but the edge cannot be seen while on the wrist due to distortions.

    Engravings are deep and look pretty good, I would say the gen is deeper though.

    The strap is rather... cardboardy. Throw it away and get a real strap on this guy. I would suggest an OEM Assoulamente, or the OEM ranger strap, although, I'm not familiar with third party Radiomir straps. From our trusted strap vendors, I would suggest Eric/donerix from Hamilton leather works.

    That said, the strap is wearable, in my opinion. It's not grotesque like the PAM382 strap. It looks nice and burgundy on the wrist. If you have a PAM372 from H-fac, the strap is the same.

    Dial and Hands:

    The dial is very nice, but not as good as it could be. First, the good parts: The numerals look like they are engraved then filled with lume. This is already a very good sign. The dial is completely centered, and print is crisp.

    The first complaint I have is with the graininess of the lume. From the picture, you can see that the 8 looks like marble, while the gen has an even "pringles" like texture. This bugs the heck out of me.

    The second complaint I have are that the numbers in general are not as accurately defined as I would like. 4 and 5 are the worst offenders, and the top hole of 8 looks kind of small. I am referring to a general unevenness to the edges. However, this is minute, and I'm super anal about the dial.

    Lume is okay, nothing to boast about. It glows nicely when you bring it indoors after a photoshoot.

    The hands are nicely shaped, and are bright blue in the daylight. They look nice. The lume on the hands is much more even than the lume on the dial. The cannon pinion is slightly smaller than gen, and I don't think it can be fixed.

    On the wrist:

    This wears big. I would say it wears closest to the PAM372 [my review]. The radiomir case itself wears quite small, as the wire lugs don't protrude too far, and the cushion shape rests very nicely on the wrist. However, the dial is very large in comparison to the case, increasing the perceived size of the watch. This all balances out and concludes to a watch that wears smaller than a PAM127, but bigger than a 44mm Luminor. Around the size of the PAM372.

    This watch is serious business. In the short time I took it out of the box and wore it out, I have spotted many people staring at my watch, and even a few compliments from the chinese community of Shanghai. Pretty badass I would say.


    This watch is a phenomenal rep. I don't have the authority to call it a super-rep, but I will say that this watch is a super nice rep. It ticks all the boxes for me: reasonably accurate to gen, very well built, nice reliable movement, **crown tube is not utter garbage!**, and finally, vintage styled so I can be a damn hipster.

    This factory hit it out of the park.

    Congrats! You've made it to the end of the review! I'm testing out my compact camera (Olympus OM-D if anyone's interested), when normally I use my DSLR. I'd love some feedback on the picture quality and colour.
    My Tudor Black Bay Review
    My PAM372 Review
    My PAM448 Review
    Five EASY ways of improving your rep!

    Nice review for a nice watch


      Think the only thing that would bother me is the grainy lume.. but otherwise looks amazing.

      Thanks for taking the time to share.


        Excellent review and very nice watch, great attention to details. The review will be of great help to us looking to buy this watch.

        The photos looks sharp and the colors superb. I like this set of photos than your 372 photos. Rep points coming your way!


          That is a really great and short review! really nice and sharp photos..and what's not to life about the 448?!


            The California dial has a pretty boring origin; it was designed by a Rolex AD in California and offered as a service replacement through their shop. People liked it, it became a design classic. It has always been sterile as Rolex never adopted it as an "official" dial.

            I love them myself.

            Looks like a great watch, I'm in contact with John now and hope to buy from him ASAP.
            "QC pics are a pain for everyone. If you trust someone you've never met enough to send them untraceable money over the internet, surely you trust them enough to send you a good watch." Alex_P1


              Nice looking watch and I have to agree: John is amazing to work with and really goes the extra mile.
              miss our whatsapp chats, john!


                care to share how much was the damage?


                  Bump for a nice review.


                    I really enjoyed the read. I'm weighing up one of these bad boys or a vintage rep.


                      Nice bump, I really like this watch and may take a 449 in the future


                        Great review mate. Beautiful watch


                          Just ordered this bad boy with help from this review. thanks!
                          The Collection:
                          AP Sebastien Buemi - AP Diver - Zenith Type 20 - Omega Speedmaster - Rolex 114060 - Rolex 16622 - Rolex 16610LV - PAM 087 - Tudor BB - Tudor Pelagos


                            pictures not showing up. any chance the photos will be relinked?