A Panerai watch is the embodiment of perfectionist Italian design and craftsmanship with a strong emphasis on technological achievement. The brand dates back to the late 19th century when it was founded in Florence, Italy. Its story stands witness to Panerai’s commitment to quality and innovation.
Giovanni Panerai opened a watch shop, which also operated as a watchmaker’s school, at Ponte alle Grazie in 1860. His grandson Guido was working as a timekeeping instruments supplier to the Royal Italian Army and invented Radiomir, a radium-based powder that glows in the dark. As World War II progressed, the strategic importance of military equipment of course became crucial, and a good example is the diving watch with a display perfectly legible underwater. Radiomir was later replaced with the healthier Luminor patented by Panerai, and the brand’s first chronograph Mare Nostrum was introduced, designed for deck officers. It was not until 1993 that Panerai began manufacturing a commercial collection, but the marque always retained a sense of exclusive mystery by limiting the numbers of products made. Today, Panerai is owned by the Richemont Group, and it makes its unique watches at its Neuchatel factory in Switzerland. The brand combines the best of both worlds: immaculate Italian design and innovative Swiss watchmaking techniques.
This year at SIHH in Geneva, Panerai presented the Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Bronzo, developed by its Laboratory of Ideas. Alluding to the fascination of bronze equipment in vintage yachts and ships, this new special edition has a bronze case, highly resistant to the corrosive action of seawater and the atmosphere. It has a natural patina that reacts to air, humidity, heat and wear, taking on a unique tone, matching its owner's lifestyle. Another distinctive feature of the Bronzo is the three-day power reserve display, on an arc-shaped indicator positioned at four o’clock. Equipped with the P.9002 automatic calibre developed in-house at the brand’s manufacture in Neuchatel, this model of the Luminor Submersible, water-resistant to 300 metres, is made in a limited edition of 1,000 pieces.
Another Luminor was introduced at SIHH this winter, catching the attention of adrenaline-addicted regatta racers whom Panerai has been luring with the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge they have sponsored since 2005. The Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio 47mm makes it easy for the crew to prepare its approach to the start line, after which, with a single click of the button, the hands of the watch flick to zero and simultaneously start as a conventional chronograph. This classic regatta function, enabling a countdown followed instantaneously by chronograph timing, while also showing the time of day, is made possible by the advanced P.9100/R calibre movement developed and produced by Panerai.
Another new Panerai watch is an ode to innovation and authenticity. Their Pocket Watch Tourbillon GMT Ceramica 59mm is the first ever pocket watch launched by the brand. This exclusive timepiece is in a limited edition of 50, and so it is sold exclusively in Panerai stores, such as the latest boutique that will be opening in Nisantasi this fall. With its exquisitely-designed black ceramic case and chain, this tourbillon features the powerful P.2005/S calibre with a power reserve of six days. A superb expression of taste; a must-have for avid collectors.