The company history of Panerai dates back to the 1850s when Giovanni Panerai opened his watch shop in Florence. Guido Panerai, the grandson of the company founder, made a move, which earned the brand its cult status today around 1910. He contacted the navy and in the years that followed, together with an officer, he developed devices with fluorescent luminescent material, which was patented under the name Radiomir, The first wristwatch – of course with a luminous dial – was made in 1936 and provided the design basis for today’s Radiomir models. The first Luminor, which was equipped with the newly developed tritium-based luminescent material and the now legendary crown guard, followed in the late 1940s.
Over sixty years later, watch enthusiasts are thrilled with the design of the former military timepieces, though every detail evolved from functional necessities. So the large housing of 47 millimeters and the extremely bright displays were the best possible readability in the dark or underwater. And the screwed crown of the Radiomir as well as the striking protective strap of the Luminor, which presses the crown firmly against the case, ensured the water tightness and thus the functional safety. In addition to the unique design, the factory development plays a vital role for Panerai: since 2005, the brand has been continuously introducing exclusive movements and steadily reducing the proportion of models with large-scale calibres. The focus is on minor complications such as second time zones or – mostly linear – power reserve indicators. But there are also chronographs or astronomical clocks. The cult factor of the beefy timepieces is very big. Within a few years, a huge fan base has grown up, whose members are named after the brand name “Paneristi”. They run websites in different languages, exchange meetings and Internet forums, and organize watch and accessory exchanges.
Fact #1 on Panerai: From the Radiomir to the Luminor model
The transition from the Radiomir to the Luminor model was by no means in one go. Instead, around 1940, the small wire lugs of the Radiomir housing were first replaced by the Luminor system and the crown increased in diameter. This “transition housing” can be found today at the Radiomir 1940th Today Panerai counts nine different housing forms. They are all further developments from the two original types Radiomir and Luminor. Find out more about the Panerai Luminor in this article.
Fact #2 about Panerai: In-house caliber
In 2002, the brand opened its own factory in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. At the same time began the development of the first in-house movement. Three years later it was time: Panerai presented the caliber P.2002. It is a manual wind movement with second-time-zone, eight days power reserve and small seconds. In addition, a second reset is installed. It was inspired by the Angelus work that ticked in the Panerai models of the 1940s.
Fact #3 about Panerai: 50 year warranty
Panerai is offering a 50-year warranty for the Lab-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days 49 mm presented in 2017. The watch is made of modern materials and does not require any liquid lubricants. The 49-millimeter Luminor housing is made of Carbotech, a non-corrosive composite material based on carbon fibers. For the manual caliber P.3001/C, Panerai uses self-lubricating or dry lubrication or special coatings that eliminate the need for oiling the movement. 50 copies of the two-hand watch with a 50-year warranty are available at a price of 50,000 euros.
Fact #4 about Panerai: watch plus exclusive experience
For the Geneva Watch Salon 2019 Panerai launched two limited Submersible models, with the purchase of the watch fan additionally receives an exclusive experience. For example, the Submersible Mike Horn Edition includes a multi-day intensive training session with Mike Horn in the Arctic ice and Submersible Militare Carbotech a multi-day training session with the legendary diving specialist COMSUBIN of the Italian Navy. Diver’s watch plus action adventures cost 39,900 euros each. Both models are limited to 19 or 33 copies.
Fact #5 about Panerai: Strict limitation
In the 20th century, until the 1993 brand was not allowed to sell exclusively to the Italian Navy, only about 600 watches were built. This tradition of limitation continues the brand until today. Although there are also indefinitely available timepieces, most of the collection is only offered in small numbers.