As it turns out 1936 was a big year for Panerai, not only did the then Florentine-based nautical instrument maker produce its first Radiomir, but the classic yacht, Eilean, that has become something of a figurehead for the brand in the 21st Century, was being built in Fife, Scotland.
Of course, Panerai wouldn’t be aware of this until 2006, when sailing nut and then Panerai CEO, Angelo Bonati, bought the dilapidated boat and had it completely refurbished, before sending it around the world as a brand ambassador.
In the 70 preceding years, Eilean had been sailed around the Mediterranean and Caribbean and even had a starring role in one of the most iconic music videos of the 1980s before falling into disrepair.
To celebrate both birthdays, Panerai is dropping a new Radiomir Eilean that will be produced in limited quantities each year. The 45mm cushion-shaped case is made of something Panerai is calling Patina Steel, which certainly sounds as though its intended to age over time like bronze rather than remain fixed like stainless steel. The case is given a matte finish, while the caseband and caseback are engraved with Eilean’s name and year of manufacture.
The dial also features vertical striations, mimicking the teak planks of Eilean’s deck, while the Italian leather strap reproduces the traditional “lacing” found around the edges of the boat’s sails.
The Radiomir Eilean is available now via Panerai, priced $9,650 USD (£7,000 GBP) with Panerai producing 449 pieces each year reflecting the boat’s sail number.
In other watch news, G-SHOCK drops new Carbon Core Mudmaster and Gravitymaster.