Watch brands love to be connected with pursuits of human endurance and achievement: mountain climbing, motorsports, deep-sea diving… But when it comes to watches, space truly is the final frontier.
Only a handful of watches have ever made it into outer space. Of course, the OMEGA Speedmaster is famous as the first watch in space, but they’re not the only timepieces to have ever left Earth’s orbit (as much as OMEGA’s marketing department might try and convince you otherwise).
Now, in 2022, there’s another brand that can join the rarefied club of ‘space watches’ – Panerai. It might not be the first, but it’s unequivocally the first Italian watch brand to make it into space, and we’d argue probably the most stylish watch brand to ever grace a spacefarer’s wrist.
On the 19th of January, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, the current commander of Expedition 66 to the International Space Station Expedition, wore a Panerai Radiomir (ref. PAM210) during some extra-vehicular activity. Russia and Italy might have beef at the moment over Ukraine, but we’d say that Paneristi across Italy and the world would be very pleased to see a Radiomir in space.
This officially makes Panerai the 7th wristwatch brand to be directly exposed to outer space, along with OMEGA, Glycine, Bulova, Fortis, Flyta and Seiko. (Other watch brands that have made it to space, such as Casio, haven’t been directly exposed to space.)
A retro dive watch like the Radiomir perhaps isn’t the first watch you’d think of when choosing a watch to wear in outer space, it’s actually a surprisingly good choice. Its large 45mm case, ultra-legible design, hefty construction and its shock-absorbent, hand-wound movement are all real pluses for an astronaut or cosmonaut.
The ref. PAM210 was produced from 2005 to 2012, which means this Radiomir is potentially Shkaplerov’s personal piece. This gives Panerai even more credibility, as it’s not just some cynical brand exercise. Panerais are officially tough enough to make it in outer space. As if you needed another excuse to get one for yourself…