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Reviews Panerai Watches and Story

The Panerai was founded in Italy as Officine Panerai in 1860, but it would take almost a century for them to reach the international prominence that it enjoys today. The watches are best known for their unique, oversized design and superior craftsmanship. The Swiss brand has developed some of the finest timepieces on the market.


The story begin with Giovanni Panerai (1825-1897) other than the fact he gave his name to Italy’s most famous brand. As well as opening the premier watch store in Florence, they also established the city’s first watchmaking school, conducting lessons within his little store.

The brand venture quickly gained status within Florence and his company’s reputation grew. As such, an expansion was required. To oversee this, Giovanni Panerai handed the reigns of his company to his grandson Guido in 1890. Guido, who seems to have been blessed with a high degree of business acumen, relocated the school/store to its current location (on the Piazza San Giovanni).

Following the turn of the 20th century, he renamed the store “Orologeria Svizzera” and started a second company called G. Panerai e Figlio, bringing the mechanical workshop of his wife’s family into the fold. G. Panerai e Figlio became the official supplier to the Regia Marina (the Royal Italian Navy). This agreement began the long and lauded relationship between the two institutions.

In 1916 Guido Panerai invented Radiomir – a radium-based luminant that enabled his brand’s products to be used in low-light conditions, and, ultimately, underwater. This was a useful development for the diving tools already made by the company, but when applied to watches it would become one of the most significant developments in the brand’s long history.

Twenty years later, in 1936, they received a special commission from the Italian Navy. What followed was the delivery of the very first models bearing the Radiomir name to the Frogmen of the Italian army. It was a massive timepiece, measuring 47mm across. Its enormous size meant it was incredibly robust, and thus, boasted excellent water resistance for the day, as well as a wide, clear, and uncluttered dial treated with Radiomir compound so that it could be read at night. With the advent of the sandwich dial, the Radiomir began to resemble the model that is still part of the brand’s core collection to this day.

Some of the many watches featured in this collection include the Radiomir 1940, Radiomir Base, Black Seal, California, Venti, etc. The watches were of excellent quality, thanks in large part to the majority of the brand’s collection being manufactured by Rolex SA and fitted with pocket watch movements made by Cortébert, which was one of the best-regarded movement makers at the time.

The brand continued to innovate throughout the 20th century, filing a patent for a new, tritium-based luminant known as Luminor in 1949. Cases were slowly improved, with increased water and shock resistance being the brand’s primary concern. With the addition of the now-iconic “crown-protecting bridge” (crown guards), launching with the first Luminor model in 1950, the brand’s overarching DNA was set. However, many years would pass before these models we now take for granted would be made available to the public.

Following the death of Guido Panerai in 1972, the company was passed down to Dino Zei. Zei continued the brand’s relationship with the Italian Navy but instead focused production on diving instruments such as underwater flashlights, depth gauges, and compasses. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that Panerai would return to watchmaking in force.

1993 saw the launch of three models based on the brand’s glory days from WWII. The Luminor, the Luminor Marina, and the Mare Nostrum were so well received that the Vendôme group (later Richemont) decided to buy the brand in 1997 and propel it to international prominence.

In 1998 Richemont took complete control of the Vendôme Luxury Group, placing the repositioning of the company as a serious luxury brand at the forefront of its plans. Three years later in 2001, a meticulously renovated boutique was opened on the Piazza San Giovanni – the site of Guido’s famous store – and the brand was presented anew to the world. What followed was a decade of intense internalization.

A vertical production plant was established in Neuchatel in 2002 to create the brand’s first in-house movement, and this dream was realized in 2005. Panerai named its very first self-made caliber the P.2002 to commemorate the year the production facility responsible for its creation first opened its doors.

What is special about Panerai?

Panerai watches have become very popular in the past 20 years mostly because of celebrities like Sylvester Stallone, John Mayer, and Arnold Schwarzenegger who started wearing the brand mostly because of their oversized look.

The brand has a very unique style as well and has a historical military connection that always seems to resonate with watch enthusiasts. Early on, the Company relied on other watch and movement manufacturers to build their watches. In fact, some vintage models have a Rolex movement. But it was only in 1993 that the Company started making its own watches for the consumer market with the launch of three limited edition styles: the Luminor, Luminor Marina, and the Mare Nostrum. They are highly sought-after timepieces among collectors.

Four Categorize of Panerai collections as:

1. Luminor – The Luminor reinterprets classic proportions in a contemporary manner, preserving all the characteristics which over the years have made this watch an icon of luxury sports watchmaking.

2. Submersible– Solid and strong, with unrivaled visibility even at great depths and a uniquely distinctive appearance: Submersible watches are professional diver watches presenting innovative technical solutions.

3. Luminor Due – Luminor Due originates from a redesign of Panerai historic elements, realized to emphasize the versatility of a watch which is a synthesis of the sporting spirit and the ability to wear it for more elegant occasions.

4. Radiomir – The Radiomir is the first watch designed by Panerai as a prototype in 1936 at the request of the Royal Italian Navy, which wanted to be supplied with “a special luminous watch for divers”.

Price information about Panerai

The price of these watches has risen steadily over the last 20 years in line with the brand’s popularity and increasing mainstream appeal. An active network of global fans has driven up interest accordingly, and the palpable passion of the Paneristi gives the brand excellent representation on the ground floor.

While the average retail cost of a simple Radiomir model is now in the region of $10,000 (with most models running between $8-12k), the entry point is a very appealing $4,200 for the Radiomir Base Logo 45mm, which has the added bonus of being one of the cleanest and most wearable designs.

The Luminor collection has a similar average price, and entry point, with the Luminor Base Logo being the least expensive option, with a retail price of $4,900. The rose gold Luminor 8 Days GMT 44mm tops out the core collection at $28,800, while the limited edition Luminor Tourbillon GMT 47mm represents the brand’s most premium offering with a stunning retail price of $149,000.

The smallest range in the catalog (in terms of pieces and size) is the Luminor Due collection. Utilizing the brand’s slimline movement technology comes at a cost, with the retail point of entry being $6,000. With fewer complications to choose from within this family, the top-end price only reaches $25,500 because the case is made from solid rose gold. The most expensive steel model in the Luminor Due series is a surprisingly accessible $14,300.

The Submersible models start at $8,700 and run up to $26,700 for references in the core collection, with the limited edition models reaching as high as $41,000.

Is Panerai more expensive than Rolex?

Rolex watches are more expensive than Panerai’s offerings, yet both companies have created cult watches that are highly sought-after and desirable within the watch collecting universe.

Do Panerai watches hold value and are worth buying?

Created in true Italian style, a Panerai watch retains value thanks to its larger-than-life look that truly captivates. The classic dials, for example, appeal to a large demographic and have helped the brand become an extremely popular investment option.

There is no doubt that Panerai watches can be extremely expensive. But, as with most things, you are definitely getting what you pay for. The brand is synonymous with quality and is steeped in history and tradition. With this in mind, here is why we believe that Panerai watches are worth the money.

Is Panerai a luxury brand?

Panerai and Hublot are two paragons of luxury watch brands. Both brands have attained great things in terms of style, build, and overall quality. An intriguing reality about these two notable brands is that they are both associated with Italy.

Are Panerai movements in-house?

TL;DR answer, no. First, Panerai is moving away from using Unitas (ETA) movements towards in-house movements. The Unitas movements are generally still used in their base models (PAM 000, 005, 111, 112, 183, etc).

Why is Panerai called Pam?

PAM, probably an acronym in Italia, is the predator Panerai reference number. I.E. this is a PAM 321 or officially the PAM 00321. PAM, probably an acronym in Italia, is the predator Panerai reference number.

Is Panerai watches good?

Panerai watches are big and there are people that prefer a high-quality watch that also commands a presence on the wrist. Because of the oversized design, the watch has great visibility especially the numerals on the dial. Luckily the new trend in style is larger watches.

In the PAMn matrix represents the number of mutations per 100 amino acids, which can be likened to a percentage of mutations, the term percentage accepted mutation is sometimes used.

What is the Most Popular Model of Panerai?

The most popular Panerai model is the Panerai Luminor Marina. The Luminor Marinas usually feature a 44-mm wide case and the recognizable trademark crown guard that makes Panerais stand out in the horological crowd.

Panerai Buying Guide

When it comes to buying your first Panerai, the choice is all about personal preference. The Submersible collection is attractive for its modern, sporty design and increased dive functionality (thanks to the presence of a unidirectional rotating bezel). The Luminor Due collection has sympathetic diameters and thicknesses making it an exceptional option for a more dress-oriented timepiece. And for those looking for something more traditional, both the Radiomir and Luminor offer classic and historic designs with a wide assortment of different options and complications.

Many people lust over Panerai watches for years; however, often such passion is seldom attached to a particular model or reference. The brand occupies unusual territory within the luxury watch industry in that its aesthetic is entirely it’s own. A watch from the brand does not look like anything else, and so the passion of many collectors and enthusiasts is not for one specific model, but rather it is for the brand itself and that immediately identifiable aesthetic.

source: bobswatches

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