Panerai - the watches that accompanied Italian Navy divers on their secret underwater missions during World War II. The saga of these action-packed Italian luxury watches dates back to the 1860s. Ever since its debut, the Panerai watches have been successful in gripping its followers by surprising them with innovations year after year.
History of Panerai
The journey of Panerai watches began from a tiny watch shop opened by Giovanni Panerai in 1860 at Ponte Alle Grazie in Florence. This small venture later developed into the legendary company Officine Panerai, as we all know it today.
Later in 1890, Giovanni's talented grandson, Guido Panerai took over the possession of the business and relocated it to the Piazza San Giovanni. Tracing its roots back to Italian Navy, in the early 1900s, Panerai used to be a producer of mechanical instruments such as compasses, depth gauges. It was the Italian Navy's long-term supplier for various nautical, signal, and measurement instruments. In 1936 Panerai landed itself on another shore as it received a contract from the Italian Navy to develop professional diving watches. Since the Panerai was new to the arena of watches, it turned to the Swiss company Rolex, which was already at the forefront of the industry at that time.
And finally, By 1938, Panerai in cooperation with Rolex was successful in producing diving watches known as Panerai Radiomir. It was a waterproof watch with a diameter of 47-millimeters.
To make the watch compatible so that this Panerai dive watch can be accompanied on all stealth missions underwater, patented phosphor based on radium was used in the manufacturing of its Radiomir dial. While at the time of Radiomir production people were not aware of the use of the most active radioactive substance in their manufacturing. However, the production of this Radiomir watch series was very low since the timepieces were not meant for being sold in the consumer market. But Panerai was determined to target the civilian public as well, so in 1993 Officine Panerai took a historic step. It hit the market with its first collection meant for the civilian public. The models that were released consisted of three limited-edition watches: the Panerai Luminor, the Panerai Luminor Marina and the Panerai Mare Nostrum. Inspired by the historic models created for the commandos of the Italian Navy, these Panerai watches quickly became desirable objects for the common masses as well as for the ardent watch lovers.
The story of the Panerai Luminor
The first Panerai Luminor was launched in the 1950s, which was followed by the release of many other models as well. The early released model of Panerai Luminor 1950 guaranteed an eight-day power reserve and used a tritium-based luminous substance on the dial and hands. But the fate of Panerai Luminor had something very good waiting ahead. In the 1990s the actor Sylvester Stallone saw the Panerai Luminor Submersible in a shop window while filming on location in Rome and was drawn away by the imposing character of the military watch, which fit perfectly with his on-screen persona. In return for the unsolicited exposure, a solid friendship has developed between Sly and the brand. Shortly afterward, a new Panerai Luminor model made its debut, bearing the movie title and the actor’s nickname: the Luminor Daylight Slytech.
In 1997, Officine Panerai saw a new dawn - the Richemont Group (then known as the Vendôme Group) acquired it. Under the new leadership, the entire military production branch of the company was shut. A year later, Panerai presented the first collection of public watches. Large, functional, military watches coupled with pure Italian design sparked an overwhelming response from the Panerai fan club. The luxury of Panerai grew out of its heritage and the purposefulness of each feature. Panerai watches were not about the latest fashion, they were designed to work in specific conditions. Now they were no more a military watch, they were a blend of ruggedness and enchanting looks. The next coming years had something very different planned out for the Officine Panerai. In the year 2006, the brand's strong association with the sea took a more recreational turn. Officine Panerai bought and restored Eilean a 1936 Bermudan ketch sailing boat built in Scotland. Three years of restoration ensured to bring her back to her original splendor and she now competes in vintage yacht races around the world.
The headquarters of the company are still in Italy, but the production has now been shifted to Switzerland. Angelo Bonati, CEO since 1997, sees no conflict whatsoever in making luxury watches with a profound Italian soul and past, beating to a Swiss heart. Practically since the last two decades, Officine Panerai has continued to stay on course, true to the quintessential with the iconic designs of its star models - the Panerai Radiomir and the Panerai Luminor.
Without any doubts, Officine Panerai remains among one of the most recognizable and appreciated sports watches with its distinctive designs and an enthralling history. The Officine Panerai in its full range of models offers advanced functions with the elegant look which makes it a must to add choice to everyone's wishlist. And hence living up to their motto they have definitely made ideas come to life with their exquisite range of collection.