Panerai: History, Models and Prices. New & Vintage.

Panerai

Discover the world of Panerai watches online.

As an official supplier to the Italian Navy, the watch manufacturer Officine Panerai enjoys a fascinating history. The most famous models from the house are the Radiomir and the Luminor, which, for an extended period of time, belonged among the standard equipment of the Italian frogmen. Since the 1990s, the watches from Panerai have been made available to the market and delight with their striking aesthetics.

All Panerai watches
  • Giovanni Panerai founded his watchmaking shop in 1860 Florence, which would later develop into the legendary company Officine Panerai, as we know it today.
  • In 1938, Officine Panerai designed the famous Radiomir model for divers in the Italian Navy. The timepiece was characterised by high water resistance and optimal legibility.
  • Officine Panerai watches were established as suppliers for the Italian Navy before the company launched its collection for sale in the year 1993.
  • Sylvester Stallone assisted the then relatively unknown company Officine Panerai to world fame when he visibly wore a Panerai Luminor in the 1996 movie “Daylight”.

Panerai

Diving watches with Italian roots

The history of Officine Panerai dates back to 1860, when Giovanni Panerai opened a watchmaking shop at Ponte Alle Grazie in Florence. In 1890, his talented grandson Guido Panerai took over the business and relocated it to the Piazza San Giovanni.

Preceding the collaboration of the brand with the Italian Navy, Panerai produced mechanical instruments such as depth gauges and compasses. In 1936, the family received an order of a special kind and began to produce professional diver’s watches for the Marines. The Italian Marine Military placed the highest demands on the watch including the need to be waterproof but easily read in any situation. In the development of this pioneering timepiece, Panerai turned to the Swiss company Rolex, which at the time, was already known for its expertise in water resistance.

The cooperation with Rolex resulted in the Panerai Radiomir, which was a waterproof watch with a diameter of 47-millimeters that was considered to be of immense proportions in the 1930s. In order to ensure that the time would be legible in all environments, a patented phosphor based on radium was used in the manufacture of the Radiomir dial. At the time of Radiomir production, nobody was aware that the timepieces were being produced with the most radioactive substance in the world. However, the production of this Radiomir edition was very low since the timepieces were not being sold on the consumer market. Today, the Panerai timepieces constructed for the Italian Navy are some of the most wanted vintage rarities that yield a price range that exceeds the 100,000-euro mark.

From Radiomir to Luminor

Iconic models from Panerai

Thanks to its unique shape, eye-catching size, and clear dial, the Panerai Radiomir has gained cult status among connoisseurs and collectors. Evidently, the original Radiomir was eventually discontinued due to its radioactive elements. Panerai then developed a new timepiece – the Luminor. As early as 1949, the company filed a patent for the tritium-based compound that they used in their Luminor models. Later on, it was discovered that the compound was also radioactive, but thankfully, it turned out to be harmless in small quantities. Today, the Panerai Superluminova contains a completely safe fluorescent. A word of advice for collectors, however – the Panerai models that contain tritium or even radium increase in price with each passing year.

The greatest difference between the Radiomir and Luminor timepieces – aside from the elements used in production – is the crown protector. The striking crown protector ensures that the crown is pushed against the case of the watch, guaranteeing secure water resistance. This unique element also provides the Luminor with a distinctive character and has come to be one of the hallmarks of Panerai. Another outstanding feature of the timepiece is the case, which measures a spectacular 47-millimeters.

The Panerai Radiomir and the Panerai Luminor are highly recognised timepieces that have gained cult status among connoisseurs in the world of watches.

A true rarity

Royalty of the sea: Panerai Mare Nostrum

Nautical elements are an indispensable part of Officine Panerai identity. A great expression of the brand's connection to the seas is the Panerai Mare Nostrum. The watch is a chronograph that was launched in 1943 and was specially developed for deck officers. The spectacular model stood out from the watch crowd thanks to its two counters. The development of the Mare Nostrum fell into the same period in which the characteristic Panerai crown feature was introduced.

It is generally believed that no more than two or three copies of the Panerai Mare Nostrum were created and, until recently, only a few photos of the watch were available. In 2005, one of these exquisite men’s timepieces surfaced. As Panerai launched its first collection to the public market in 1993, the Mare Nostrum has been presented as a modern reinterpretation Faithful to the marine spirit.

A wristwatch for the Egyptian Navy

Officine Panerai established itself as more than just a supplier to the Italian Navy. In 1965, the Italian watch company developed a variant of the Panerai Radiomir for the Egyptian Navy – The Panerai Egiziana (Egiziana being the Italian word for Egyptian).

The human eye naturally jumps to the generous dimensions of the Panerai Egiziana, which is comprised of a case diameter that measures 60-millimeters. In addition, the clock is highly robust and of course, waterproof. The Panerai Egiziana is equipped with a bezel that calculates dive time and is also fitted with a characteristic Panerai feature – a crown protector that ensures water cannot enter the timepiece by way of the crown. This Crown Guard was patented in 1956 – the same year in which the Panerai Egiziana was developed.

A new chapter

From the Italian family to a Hollywood favourite

In 1993, Officine Panerai launched its first collection that was not catered towards the Italian Navy, but instead, was created for the general watch loving public. The Panerai collection was inspired by the distinctive designs of the classic Radiomir and Luminor. For some years following, the company remained in the shadows of major manufacturers, whose histories and traditions were widely famous worldwide. But before long, the magic of Panerai could no longer be overlooked.

In the 1996 movie “Daylight”, Sylvester Stallone, at his own request, wore the relatively unknown Panerai Luminor (Ref. 5218/201-A) around his wrist. The watch can distinctly be viewed in the movie, and so in large part, it’s thanks to Sylvester Stallone that the then relatively unknown brand Officine Panerai gained world fame. Following the silver screen debut of the timepiece, Hollywood could not get enough of the Panerai Luminor. As a kind of thanks, Officine Panerai eventually adorned some of their timepieces with the logo “Daylight” or “Slytech” – a reference to Stallone since his nickname is Sly. In the fourth part of the movie “Rambo”, Stallone also adorns a Panerai – namely the model utilised by the Italian Navy. Furthermore, in “The Expendables” Stallone wears the Panerai Luminor Regatta around his wrist while playing the role of Barney Ross.

But there are several films in which timepieces from Panerai make and appearance. Among many others, a Panerai Luminor Marina can be spotted around the wrist of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Eraser. Furthermore, the Panerai Luminor Marina can also be spotted around the wrist of DMX in the movie "Exit Wounds - The Copjäger” and a Panerai Luminor Daylight is featured around the wrist of Jason Statham in the movie “Transporter - The Mission”.

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This is guaranteed through our Certificate which you will receive with the purchase of any watch from CHRONEXT - new or pre-owned.

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We scan the market daily for the best offers and always keep our prices up to date. Most important however is that our competitive prices will never lead us to compromise security and quality.

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