Panerai, the pursuit for watchmaking perfection Featured

When Italian charm meets Swiss quality and innovation, the results cannot fail to be exceptional.
by 01 June 2009

It all started in Italy when Giuseppe Panerai decided to open his first watchmaker’s shop in the heart of Florence. Designer, artisan and avant-gardist, he didn’t want to design just a simple time instrument, but a watch which was a creation in its own right in terms of performance and innovation. He quickly learned that he should work with professionals who were capable of mastering watchmaking techniques and who could ultimately help him produce exceptional Italian design timepieces. He opened a boutique workshop, at the heart of which was a watchmaker’s school, the first of its kind. He then involved himself with the Italian Navy which allowed him to take his innovations to the next level. This was in 1916. During this year he filed his first patent for Radiomir, allowing him to illuminate the watch dial. This and pursuit for perfection fuelled his work throughout his life.

Just before World War II he produced the first water-resistant watches for the first submarine missions. He had thought of everything: luminescent hands and numbers, a robust, hermetic case and a large, waterproof bracelet which could be worn on top of overalls. This Radiomir watch continued to evolve, gaining popularity all over the world. Elsewhere, the Egyptian army requested that Panerai produce watches for their troops. Following the death of Giuseppe, the Italian Navy entrusted one of their engineers with their precious Panerai watches until the label was bought by the Richemont group in 1997.

Since then, Panerai has continued to excel in both ingenuity and quality as demonstrated at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva which took place last January. It was a perfect occasion to present a new movement called P 9000, which is constructed, along with all of the other parts, in the same workshop, something that is rare in today’s watchmaking industry. The Luminor 1950 Marina, part of the Manifattura collection, with the special edition Luminor 1950 casing, designed with the same proportions as the original casing, but with the sapphire glass transparent and slightly less curve. This watch has a three-day power reserve and is waterresistant to up to 300 metres. The alligator skin strap comes with a large, brushed titanium buckle, a unique Panerai touch, and is accompanied in its case by an interchangeable strap and a small screwdriver, allowing you to change according to your preference. Aestheticism and finesse are the buzzwords of this new watch. The success of Panerai is reflected in the many new shops that have been opened worldwide to satisfy their ever growing clientele.
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