Officine Panerai is a fully owned subsidiary of Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A., an Italian luxury watchmaker. Officine Panerai is a watch company that creates, designs, and sells watches through reputable retailers and business stores all over the world. Panerai provides over 20 in-house movements plus a handful of movements built on third-party bases, which are divided into four catalogs. These calibers can be found in more than 200 different watch models. Steel, bronze, titanium, gold, platinum, and BMG-TECH, Carbotech, and Panerai Composite are among the case materials available.
Although the difference between designs can sometimes be as simple as dial color or case material, it’s common to become frustrated while shopping for a Panerai. This is because one’s favored look and match don’t always come with the movement/functions one chooses, or vice versa. Here is a quick Panerai buying guide to avoid being stressed when purchasing from the Italian brand.
History of Panerai
In 1860, Giovani Panerai launched his first watch store in Florence, Italy, which quickly grew to incorporate Florence’s first horological training center and a bustling workshop. Panerai had taken on agreements for the Royal Italian Navy by the early twentieth century. In 1916, the company received a vital patent for Radiomir, a radium-based glistening paint.
Like so many other companies stuck in fascist nations, the Panerai watch brand used to be designed for the bad side during WWII, but Mussolini’s deep pockets and dictatorial directives pushed Panerai to innovate quickly. In 1936, they created the Perspex crystal, and in 1938, they created massive luminous sandwich dials. To reduce crown seal wear, the brand developed integrated lugs with spring bars and an 8-day power reserve movement in 1940. Panerai established their Luminor tritium-based lume in 1949, and their signature lever-activated crown lock in 1950, after the fascists were defeated.
Panerai’s timepieces didn’t reach more people until 1993 when they released a civilian catalog and received Sylvester Stallone’s support. Panerai had grown to such prominence by 1997 that the Vendome Group, afterward the Richemont Group, purchased the business, relocated production to Switzerland, and changed Panerai into the luxury sports watch brand recognized today.
Panerai took a bit of time to release Sly’s Rocky/Rambo bravado and tell its tale more immediately, but once it did, the company offered a more specific form of badassery focused on the oceangoing journey. Italy is almost surrounded by water, and its navy is known for its cutting-edge maritime methods and applications. Panerai was right there, producing dive watches, compasses, and gauges for these deep-sea pioneers. In the meantime, the company has retained a good presence in yacht racing, such as on classic wooden yachts.
Despite the move of production to Switzerland, Panerai’s style remains faithful to the original Italian prototypes from the early to mid-twentieth century, and the latest set is far more diversified than ever.
Panerai watches are divided into four categories namely Luminor, Luminor Due, Radiomir, and Submersible.
1. Panerai Luminor
Panerai switched from Radiomir lume to Luminor, a tritium-based mixture perfected in the late 1940s. Panerai’s signature crown lock was first launched in 1950. The Luminor collection has a cushion case shape, integrated lugs, and a crown lock that has historical roots but was revamped for the first civilian catalog in 1993. Today, this is without a doubt the most identifiable Panerai look.
2. Panerai Luminor Due
The Due (“two” in Italian) sounds like a subcollection of the Luminor section and attributes the acquainted design and crown guard locking mechanism, despite being thinner, smaller, and appearing a little “fancier.” This model has only a slimmer profile and a dress-watch level of water resistance at 30m, so it’s understandable that the brand wanted to differentiate it from the notably sturdy Luminor with its dive watch beginnings. The Due collection, which debuted in 2018, is Panerai’s response to consumer demand for tinier, more ladylike timepieces.
3. Panerai Radiomir
Radiomir models, which are based on Panerai’s first military watches from the 1930s, highlight the strengths of the collection for a bunch of things. For starters, they are missing the predominant crown guard and locking mechanism that almost describes the brand and is present in every other compilation. They also have a pair of case styles, including the Radiomir 1940 models with wire lugs that detach for strap changes, and integrated lugs and spring bars. Radiomir watches may appear to be practical and traditional-feeling, but keep in mind that they are typically sized to have a large presence, with diameters of 45 mm or 47 mm.
4. Panerai Submersible
Panerai segregated its specialized dive watches into this new genre in 2019, greatly simplifying the company’s catalog. While other Panerai watches may technically qualify as dive watches due to their beginnings and waterproofing, these have characteristics such as rotating bezels that contemporary divers identify with them. Aspects such as the skeletonized hands and dial design set it apart from other catalogs.
Each watch is given a unique reference number, or PAM number: PAMxxxxx. The reference numbers are commonly known without the zeros between the PAM and the figures at the end in casual conversation. The caliber numbers on Panerai’s in-house movements are in the following format: P.xxxx. Its Roman numeral caliber numbers for the brand’s movements are constructed on a Unitas/ETA foundation initiated with OP, like for example, OPXXII.
Panerai reworks and polishes the movements to a high level of perfection. The plain dials are beautiful and made of high-quality materials. Of course, high-end quality comes with a price, and Panerai timepieces are exorbitant. Panerai watches are status symbols and “grails” for many watch connoisseurs because of their high rates.
Panerai timepieces are made to last and are regarded as a wise investment. Only high-quality materials are used by the watchmaker, and it demonstrates in their product lines, making them a must-have for watch aficionados. The brand’s vintage dials, for instance, appeal to a broad age group and have helped it become a highly sought-after investment option. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dwayne Johnson, and Bill Clinton are some of the famous people who have been seen sporting watches from the Italian brand.