The Officine Panerai Saga

The Officine Panerai Saga

A passion with no limits
If there is a brand that sparks off enthusiasm on a planetary scale these days, it has to be OFFICINE PANERAI. How, from a watch making brand known only by collectors of military watches, the VENDÔME/RICHEMONT Group and fashion have turned it into an absolute Must.

How PANERAI succeeded in awakening the envy of everyone


Everyone under the same banner: lovers of old or vintage watches, lovers of divers’ watches, fashion-lovers who see in PANERAI watches that are instantly recognizable everywhere, a number of ROLEX lovers, who can at last wear and even collect watches of another brand, women (ah, yes! Our gentler halves have gone crazy about the brand, so watch out for your watches, gentlemen!) And while on the subject, PANERAI OFFICINE jewelry is produces their dreams to order! (Editor’s note), in short, anyone on two legs with a head and a wrist to dress is falling for OFFICINE PANERAI.

And obviously, even the Jet Set only has eyes for this Florentine brand.
Johnny and David Halliday, as well as Henri Leconte wear PANERAI every day, while on the cinema screen, you can see it on the wrists of, among others, Jean-Paul Belmondo, in “Itinerary of a Spoilt Child” and “L’Aîné des Ferchaux”(The Eldest Ferchaux) Sylvester Stallone in “Daylight” and Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Eraser.” In fact, in this last case, the watch in question was a gift from his friend and associate, Sly.
Every brand dreams of success like this, but it doesn’t come overnight. We have to go back to the brand’s origins to understand how the legend was born. In 1936, the company delivered a prototype of the RADOMIR WATCH to the Italian Navy, made using a luminescent radium-based material, which was later replaced by tritium, and more recently by Luminova. This was part of an ultra-confidential military project, held to the strictest secrecy.These are the roots of the high-technology military brand that are still now being researched by watch lovers.

The limited supply of OFFICINE PANERAI models should also be taken into account. Collectors the world over have always, and still do, invest in PANERAI, thus making them better permanent ambassadors better than any marketing service ever could.

In the space of a few years, OFFICINE PANERAI has also changed our behaviour towards watches. The LUMINOR models have imposed on fashion their XXL cases, and ever since then, the average diameter of our watches has gone from 38 to 42 cm. (So when do we get the shirt cuffs to match?)

The myth that surrounds the brand and the quality of the OFFICINE PANERAI products has attracted the lasting interest of the public.

The Watch Quote™ -

A short history to help you understand the myth a little better.

In 1850, Giovanni Panerai opened a watch-making store, G. PANERAI & C. in Florence, at that time the capital of Italy. He was succeeded by his son, Leon Francesco, and then by his grandson Guido.
In 1914, Guido Panerai went into partnership with Carlo Ronconi, a Naval officer, and this was the start of close collaboration between PAZNERAI and the Italian navy.

In 1920, Guido Panerai and his son Giuseppi (great-grandson of Giovanni Panerai) came up with the chronograph MARE NOSTRUM.

In 1936, the company delivered a prototype of the RADOMIR WATCH to the Italian Navy, made using a luminescent radium-based material, which was later replaced by tritium, and more recently by Luminova. This was part of an ultra-confidential military project, held to the strictest secrecy.
The lever-system winding crown, known as the “Déclic” did not appear until 1942. This system made it possible to go to a depth of 200 meters, which was an outright record for the time.

During the 1950s, PANERAI OFFICINE supplied 50 special models to the Egyptian army.

The firm prospered from one generation to another for a century and a half, always in the hands of a member of the Panerai family.
In 1993, two limited editions of the LUMINOR and the MARE NOSTRUM were for the first time sold on the civilian market, and PANERAI OFFICINE entered into the period known as “PRE-VENDÔME.”
In 1995, at the request of the American actor Sylvester Stallone, a lover of the brand, PANERAI OFFICINE brought out three series of MARE NOSTRUM and LUMINOR SUBMERSIBLE, marked “SLYTECH” AND SIGNED ON THE CASE-BACK.
These watches were in part sold to the public and also given to the actor, who presented several as gifts to his Hollywood friends, including Arnold Schwartzenegger, who, though known for his attachment to the AUDEMARS PIGUET OFFSHORE, is also a lover of PANERAI.
In 1996, the series SLYTECH DAYLIGHT came out to coincide with the film of the same name.

Between 1993 and 1997, PANERAI produced 1828 watches. (See PANERAI OFFICINE production /Pre-Vendôme Period.)


PANERAI was bought up by the VENDÔME LUXURY GROUP in 1997.
Backed by its exclusive image, Vendôme launched into production of limited editions that were snapped up by collectors.

The LUMINOR Base and LUMINOR Marina models were introduced at the Geneva International Salon of Master Watch making in 1998, to great public acclaim.

In 1999, the group went in search of new customers, especially those who though they dreamt of owning a PANERAI, were not keen on its outsize 44mm. diameter, and the result was the PANERAI OFFICINE LUMINOR 40mm.
Once again, whatever purists had to say, the model was a huge success, and sales of LUMINOR 40 mm. in all models now account for around 50% of PANERAI OFFICINE sales in this range of products.

In 2002, the firm inaugurated the PANERAI MANUFACTURE, at Neuchâtel, in Switzerland.

From 1993 to 2002, PANERAI OFFICINE has produced almost 93,000 watches, with only 1,828 dating from the 5-year “Pre-Vendôme” Period, a 50-fold increase in production since the family firm was bought up.

Let’s bet that the industrial era into which the RICHEMONT group has introduced the PANERAI OFFICINE won’t kill off the legendary and fabulous watch of the Italian commandos.

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