Panerai Watch is a family owned company, founded in 1825, by Giovanni Panerai in Florence, Italy. They immediately partnered with the best Swiss watchmakers and began their journey. By the early 1900’s Panerai began experimenting with products to create luminescence in their watches and other instruments they supplied to the Royal Italian Navy. Mr. Panerai’s grandson invented and patented the Radiomir and Luminor watches that the company is famous for.
Much of the companies early efforts were directed in creations for the Navy. In 1943, Panerai released the first Chronograph prototype, this watch was water-proof up to 200 meters, an unheard of depth for this time. But, less than 40 years later the company showcased a titanium watch that could withstand depths of 1000 meters! They continued working closely with the Navy to provide valuable instruments.
By the mid 1990’s Panerai switched gears a bit and started offering more styles for the civilian market. The Panerai Sub-Mariner was one of the first watches from them for the general public.
Having said that, Panerai didn’t give up much when offering a watch to the average Joe. These watches are, definitely a piece of machinery. The L’Astromono Luminor 1950 Turbillon GMT is a beautifully designed watch. With a case made from titanium, a polished titanium bezel and see-through back made from sapphire crystal, this timepiece lacks nothing.
Granted, the Panerai watches have maintained much of their conservative features throughout the years, but the inner workings are phenomenal. The history behind Panerai watches is rich with innovation and design. I don’t believe you can find a more well-crafted watch in the world.
Just in case you have never heard of Panerai Watches, this Italian watchmaker has been making some of the world’s finest timepieces since 1860. Their most famous models are the Luminor and Radiomir watches, which were used by the Royal Italian Navy’s commando frogmen during the sinking of Allied naval ships during World War II.
It wasn’t until Sylvester Stallone “discovered” Panerai Watches in 1995 while shooting a movie in Rome that the watches became more widely known in the United States. Stallone was so taken by Panerai watches that he soon started giving them as gifts to his friends, like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Panerai watches now come in four collections – the Contemporary, Manifattura, Historic and Special editions, but most of these collections are made in limited quantities, and each of them includes a number of issue on the caseback. Prices range from $6,250 to over $25,000.
It wasn’t until a new agreement was signed between Girard-Perregaux and Ferrari, that Panerai watches became the official timekeeper for the Ferrari brand. As a result, a new collection of watches known as “Panerai Ferrari” is available, but these watches are also produced in limited quantities.
The limited production runs for all Panerai watches make them a valuable commodity among luxury watch collectors, and often causes them to increase in value over time.
Panerai is the king of oversized, cool watches and here comes another.
The Special Edition Radiomir Titanium 47mm. Based on a design from the 1930’s, the dial features what’s called a “California dial”, which is where the top half the numerals are Roman and the lower half are Arabic. It was in 1934 when the Radiomir collection, to which this particular model will belong, was crated. The dial itself, like many Panerai watches, is simple; there are no words, logos or partnership branding.
Panerai is only making twelve of these timepieces, which automatically means they will become collector’s items, especially among those that consider themselves Paneristi, cult-like fans and followers of Panerai watches.
This Italian luxury watch brand is pretty much solely responsible for creating and popularizing large, oversized watches and this limited edition Radiomir does not disappoint. At 47mm the case is made from titanium, which is the new, light-weight, cool material from which to craft a watch. The hands on the dial are made from rose gold and covered with lume, while the subsidiary hands are classic Panerai style. The lugs can be removed if the wearer wants to switch straps and on the turnip shaped crown you will notice a tiny bit of branding. The watch runs on a hand-wound the Panerai caliber OP XXVII that is visible through the caseback of the watch. With a grand price tag between $25,000 – $30,000 the watch will only be available at select Panerai boutiques; it can be assumed that the original store in Florence which was founded in 1900 and still stands will carry it.
For die-hard watch collectors, known as “Paneristi”, Panerai watches have always been some of the most sought after and most difficult to acquire. For years, these watches were simply not very available in the U.S. Their pricey price tags also put them in a category of their own.
Fans of Panerai watches include former President Bill Clinton and actor / director Sylvester Stallone, who is such a fan that the company made a watch for him called the “Slytech”.
Panerai’s allure is that what they produce is perfection and perfection doesn’t come in mass quantities. There are only five styles of Panerai watches to choose from: Luminor, Luminor 1950, Luminor Base, Luminor Marina, and Radiomir. A partnership with Ferrari has also resulted in a few very unique watches that feature the Ferrari horse logo on the watch face.
However, recently the Italian watch company whose timepieces are now produced in Switzerland, has come out with an automatic mechanical P.9001 calibre, with three day power reserve, that uses an in-house movement for a more affordable price (in the eyes of Panerai) of $9,800. This new watch, with its Luminor 1950 case, comes in two models: The all stainless steel GMT Automatic retains Panerai’s most significant look: the 44mm case and with its clean lines and minimalist look, it very chic and handsome. The other version of this GMT (which allows you to set the watch to two different time zones) comes with a brown alligator band. Both are water resistant up to 300 meters.
Any way you look at it, it’s good news; Panerai watches are now more available for any one who wants to add to a personal luxury watch collection or start one.