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Panerai’s Brand Story
Panerai is one of the most luxurious Italian watch manufacturer brands. Ever since its debut in 1860, the Panerai watches have been surprising the industry with new innovations and successfully gained worldwide popularity.
The watchmaking journey of Panerai watches began from a watch workshop and school established by young watchmaker Giovanni Panerai in 1860 in Florence. Later in 1890, Giovanni's talented grandson, Guido Panerai took over the lead of this family business and moved the company to the Piazza San Giovanni.
Since the early 1900s, Panerai had been providing signal and measurement instruments to the Italian Navy, such as compasses and depth gauges.
In 1916, the company unveiled its new invention of high luminous powder Panerai that surpassed other similar materials on the market. Incorporating the radium-based powder Radiomir to illuminate the dials, the high visibility of this radium-based paint underwater had brought a great use for the military.
In 1936 Panerai started to develop professional diving watches due to the request from the Italian Navy. Finally in 1938, in cooperation with Rolex, Panerai successfully produced a diving watch prototype known as Panerai Radiomir. It was a 47mm watch with water resistance.
To make the watch compatible and functional on all stealth missions underwater, the patented self-luminous compound based on radium was used on Radiomir prototype’s dial. The high self-luminescent compound with radium paste has become a key element of Panerai watches.
However, at the time, the material produced was radioactive and toxic that people were not aware of. In 1949, Panerai invented a new and safe material of luminosity Panerai Luminor and replaced the previous one.
After a few decades of focus on the military market, Panerai started to explore new opportunities and targeted the civilian public after the wars. In 1993 Officine Panerai took a historic step. It made its debut in the market with its first watches meant for the civilian public. Its first models in the public debut include three limited-edition watches: the Panerai Luminor, the Panerai Luminor Marina and the Panerai Mare Nostrum. Inspired by the historic Panerai models produced for the Italian Navy, these Panerai watches had quickly become desirable for watch lovers and collectors.
In 1997, the huge Richemont Group acquired Officine Panerai and re-branded it as a luxury watch manufacturer. The entire military watch production of the company was shut down. The luxury of new Panerai watches grew out of its heritage of rich history and the reliability that was trusted by navy units. Its large and functional watches with pure Italian design have received overwhelming responses from military watch lovers all over the world. Panerai watches were not only just being stylish, they were designed to function well in specific conditions. They were not merely a military watch, they were a blend of robustness and luxury.
The headquarters of the company remains stationed in Italy, while the watch production has been processed in Switzerland. The CEO of the company who took charge in 1997, Angelo Bonati, explained that it is a perfect way to make Panerai watches with a profound Italian soul and Swiss craftsmanship.
Panerai has been producing the Panerai watches with a blend of its traditional artistry and advanced technological innovations. Its most popular collections, Panerai Luminor and Panerai Radiomir, are considered as the signature models for the brand.
Let’s take a deeper look on both of the two significant collections:
The story of Panerai Radiomir
The current Panerai Radiomir watch originated from the prototype created in the 1930s. In 1936, Panerai developed a prototype of Radiomir due to the request of the Italian Navy. They needed the watch to be highly fluminous, easy to read and water-resistant.
With the cooperation of Rolex, the prototype was completed and put on production in 1938. This was the first Panerai military marine watch that featured luminescent indexes, a robust case and screw-down crown that made the watch water-resistant.
The Panerai sandwich dial the watch featured with overlapping plates is one signature characteristic that we can see on the Radiomir watch today. Incorporating the coating of a luminous zinc sulphate and radium based substance, the watch performed high visibility under extreme conditions. The launch of this watch immediately grabbed the attention of military watch enthusiasts at the time.
In 1997, the reformed Panerai company launched a new generation of Radiomir watches. Tribute to its original models from the 1930s, the new Panerai Radiomir PAM 210 resembles the main features of its ancendsor. The watch featured a case of 47mm as well as the iconic sandwich dial. The first revived Radiomir model was produced in a limited edition of only 60 pieces as the platinum version. Following positive responses for the first model, Panerai continued to produce new updated versions and grew the Panerai Radiomir collection in the next few years. The newer Radiomir models offered smaller case sizes to meet the needs of wearers with small wrists. With the distinctive shape and iconic designs, Panerai Radiomir has grown to become the signature of a Panerai watch.
The story of the Panerai Luminor
The original Panerai Luminor was launched in the 1950s, which followed the invention of its exclusive luminous material Luminor.
In 1993 the public debut of Panerai, Panerai Luminor was one of the first models that the company introduced. The watch has quickly developed as the mainstay collection that is highly admired by watch collectors. The Panerai Luminor watches have perfectly combined modern Italian design aesthetics with the tactical marine watches elements. These Panerai watches have defined the brand in the minds of the watch enthusiasts over the world.
Panerai Luminor is deeply loved by collectors as well as celebrities. In the 1990s the actor Sylvester Stallone was attracted by the imposing character of theLuminor Submersible and personally wore it in his movie. This unexpected exposure had further built the name of the brand as well as a solid friendship between Sly and the brand. Soon later, a new Panerai Luminor model was released and was named from the actor’s nickname and the title of his movie: Luminor Daylight Slytech.
Undoubtedly, Officine Panerai is one of the most recognizable and appreciated luxury sports watches. The Officine Panerai offers a wide range of models offering advanced functions with distinctive designs and an enthralling history. A Panerai watch is a must to add choice to everyone's collection.