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Distinctive Italian machismo, an exciting history as a Navy supplier and the endorsement of many Hollywood stars have made Panerai to the ultimate iconic brand. Their fans, who are known as "Paneristi", love to collect classic models and to discuss the fascinating history of the brand.

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Popular among combat divers and movie stars - The story of Panerai

The success story of Officine Panerai began in 1860, when Giovanni Panerai opened a watchmaking studio in Florence. He initially sold high-quality pocket watches, but after a few years began to specialize his company in naval equipment. In addition to clocks Panerai delivered devices such as compasses, depth gauges and flashlights to the Marina Militare, which at that time had one of the largest naval fleets in the world.

The business flourished and Panerai expanded. In the early 20th century, the house was so well-established that it already united the manufactory, shop, repair shop and Florence's first watchmaking school under one roof. It had watches of all established Swiss brands in its assortment and was more extensive than any other worldwide. In 1915, Guido Panerai, who had now taken over the company, developed a world novelty for the Italian Navy: from the highly radioactive element radium he won a fluorescent material visible in the dark, which he christened "Radiomir". Applied to the dials of clocks and gauges, Radiomir made them easy to read even at night.

On the eve of the Second World War, the Italian Navy approached Panerai with a special request: For their combat diving units, they needed watches that could be read even at night and under water. They had to be big, waterproof and extremely sturdy to cope with the dangerous missions of frogmen. Since Panerai was not able to produce such a watch himself, the company turned to the best possible partner: Rolex. The legendary Swiss company agreed to cooperate by supplying oversized Oyster watch movements, which Panerai supplemented with in-house dials. As one of the first watches ever, the models were equipped with acrylic glass, as it was much more resistant to breakage than the then usual used mineral glass. The diver's watch was named after the luminous "Radiomir", which had helped Panerai to his success. Due to the high radioactivity of "Radiomir" Panerai developed a new phosphor "Luminor" based on tritium which is much less harmful. After this new fluorescent, the Panerai Luminor was named. Today, however, Panerai uses completely harmless phosphors for his distinctive dials for all his watches.

In 1956, Panerai ended its partnership with Rolex and began to make its own watches. By 1970, watch production nearly came to a standstill as Panerai focused more on other pieces of high precision equipment. When, in the 1990s, the partnership with the Italian Navy gradually lost its appeal, the company resumed its watch production and finally made its range available to the open market.

Officine Panerai - Movement

What is the Price of an Officine Panerai watch?

Luminor Marina/ PAM00523
7.200 € (2017)
Material: Stainless steel
Key feautures: Stainless steel bezel, white dial, leather strap

Radiomir Manual/ PAM0029
8.300€ (2011)
Material: Ceramic
Key feautures: Ceramic-casing, black bezel, black dial, manual wound

Luminor 1950/ PAM00233
12.000 € (2007)
Material: Stainless steel
Key feautures: Silver bezel, black dial, leather strap

Luminor Submersible PAM00024
7.000 € (2007)
Material: Stainless steel
Key feautures: Silver colored bezel, black dial with glow in the dark indexes

Luminor Base/ PAM00116
4.750 € (2002)
Material: Titanium
Key feautures: Silver casing, black dial, hand wound

Radiomir/ PAM00337
7.000 € (2012)
Material: Stainless steel
Key feautures: Stainless steel case, black dial, glowing indexes, manual wound

How Panerai conquered the world

The first few years on the open market caused Panerai economic difficulties; The company produced no more than 1828 watches from 1993-1997. It was therefore no more than a lucky coincidence that the famous Hollywood icon Sylvester Stallone came across the Panerai boutique on a visit to Florence. Inspired by the masculine style of watches, he immediately bought several copies and gave them to his friends, including Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both actors wore the watches on their own initiative in their films, making the Panerai brand known around the world. In addition, Stallone asked the company for a special edition for its film "Daylight" and proposed the name Luminor Submersible, which Panerai took over. A series of limited edition special models were created, which were affectionately called "Slytech".

Today, Panerai has become an iconic brand that gathers an enthusiastic audience. Known as "Paneristi," fans engage in online forums and hold meetings around the world to showcase their collections and discuss the history of the brand. Last but not least, it is the myth of the divers' watches of Italian frogmen that makes the brand so exciting. The classic diving watches of the Marina Militare have therefore become real collector's items, which are traded on the market for used watches at six-figure prices.

Officine Panerai - Luminor Marina

Swiss quality and Italian style: what the brand Panerai stands for

Panerai watches owe their great popularity to the unmistakable style formed by Panerai's position as a marine supplier. The company's dive watches had to be sturdy and big to make them as easy to read as possible. Panerai chose pillow-shaped, 47-50mm wide casings that are extremely imposing and masculine on the wrist. For decades, this style has been inspiring men, in particular, who like to perform prominently. In addition, the watches from Panerai stood nothing in behind in regards of quality to other other established manufacturers. The production of the timepieces has meanwhile been relocated to Switzerland in order to be able to build on the local watchmaking tradition.
Panerais are real luxury watches made to the highest standards, giving their owners a lifetime of enjoyment. The history of the now Swiss manufacturer is so closely associated with its prominent admirers as no other brand. Without Hollywood stars like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who adored their Panerai watches, the brand would probably have remained an unknown Italian business from the past. Meanwhile, Panerai has a tremendous popularity among actors, as only a few other watch brands have. In addition to Schwarzenegger and Stallone also Adrien Brody (Luminor GMT), Brad Pitt (Luminor Marina), Pierce Brosnan (Luminor Marina), Robin Williams (Luminor Chronograph) and Orlando Bloom (Luminor 1950) were spotted with a Panerai on her wrist. But even beyond Hollywood, celebrities are spotted with brand watches on a regular base. For example, Heidi Klum and Bill Clinton each have a Luminor, while the artist Damien Hirst has a complete Panerai collection.

Good reasons to buy a watch from Officine Panerai:

  • Strikingly masculine design
  • Often good investment thanks to constant increase in value
  • Strong recognition by massive housing

The philosophy

In regards of its watches, Panerai stands for quality that you can rely on even in extreme situations. At the same time, the company is involved in various environmental and social projects in Italy and abroad. The Fondazione De Marchi and Magica Cleme Onlus (Italy), Les Enfants de Frankie (France), Action for Children (UK), Sailing Heals (USA) are just some of the projects supported by Panerai. Panerai is also committed to responsibility in the production of its watches. Some steps have already been taken over the past years to guarantee greater sustainability. In 2014, a zero-impact manufacturing facility was set up to reduce the company's CO2 emissions in the long term. In addition, sustainability certificates have been obtained for the metals used and Panerai refrains from processing exotic types of leather that endanger wildlife populations.

Officine Panerai - Radiomir Blackseal

The 3 most popular Panerai models

  • The Radiomir-Serie is named after the first diver's watch that Panerai made for the Italian Navy. Most models take on the classic design of their predecessor and have a minimalist dial, which is very easy to read. From the Radiomir versions are available with automatic movements and with the manual windup, which the original Radiomirs where equipped with.
  • The Luminor Marina is a model that Panerai developed in the 1950s. It has the cushion shape of the Radiomir, but has a higher water resistancy due to the characteristic crown protection. The model also features Panerai's exclusive in-house movement.
  • The Mare Nostrum was designed at the beginning of the 1940s at the request of the Italian Navy as a prototype, which, however, was never produced in bigger numbers. In 1993, a selection of watches that were not intended for military use launched, including a model of the Mare Nostrum. 24 years later, it came to a strictly limited to 1,000 copies new edition.

Panerai - Submersible

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