- HISTORY OF THE MANUFACTURING
1860 – 1935 Origins. Opening of the first Officine Panerai store and the first Radiomir prototype.
In the year 1860, Giovanni Panerai opens his first shop, workshop and watchmaking school in Ponte alle Grazie, Florence. In this wonderful place the history of Panerai begins.
Years later, the company already supplied precision instruments to the Royal Italian Navy. In order to satisfy their needs, in 1916 Panerai developed a radium-based powder to enhance the brightness of the spheres of these instruments: thus Radiomir was born. The high self-luminescence of the compound quickly made radium paste a key element of Panerai’s production.
In 1935, Panerai participated in the development of useful technical tools for a new military activity launched by the Royal Italian Navy. In order to comply with the parameters required by it, several high-resistance diving watches were tested. Giuseppe Panerai commissioned some properly elaborated prototypes for technical tests: the best result was the reference 2533, made on a base provided by Rolex Geneva modified by Panerai.
1940 – 1956 Birth of reference 3646. Luminor patent. Mare Nostrum chronograph. L’Egipziano and the protector of the crown.
The reference 3646 is the predecessor of the instrument that we currently know as the Radiomir watch. For the first time, Panerai modifies the structure of the sphere and introduces the use of superimposed discs, the so-called “sandwich” type, and perforated numbers and indices to make the radio paste more readable and luminescent. In order to improve the legibility of the dial, its composition was redesigned with only 4 large Arabic numerals at the cardinal points and 8 hourly indices.
In 1949, Panerai patented the name Luminor due to the model’s luminescent and self-luminescent materials. With the development of technology, it was decided to replace the radioactive radium with a more innocuous substance, so luminor was linked to a new tritium-based substance with very low emissions. Little by little, Luminor became the common denominator of the Panerai diving watch (characterized by the protective cam on the crown).
In the 1950s, Panerai created the chronograph with two Mare Nostrum counters. It is thought that only two or three watches were made and all that remains of them are some photographic plates and a single prototype. In line with the innovative spirit of the brand, Panerai creates a diving watch popularly known as the Egyptian, since it was provided to the Egyptian Navy. The innovations that characterize this model are notable: a 60 m diameter case, great resistance, high water-resistance, a graduated rotating bezel to calculate the immersion time and the 8-day Swiss-made Angelus caliber as movement. In this watch, Panerai first introduced the crown guard device. L’Egipziano is the model from which the current Submersible watches are inspired.
1957 – 1985 Evolution of the Luminor Clock. A year of transition for the company. Millimeter clock prototype.
In the 1960s, Panerai definitively replaced the radius of its “sandwich” dials with the luminor substance, thus also changing the way the model was named. The brand also incorporates the crown protector bridge into its cases and adds the Swiss-made Angelus SF240 mechanical caliber and 8-day power reserve. The power reserve thus became an identifying element of the Florentine brand. Panerai were pioneers in the production of watches with a visible back, since they replaced the closed case back with one made of transparent Plexiglas. Another fundamental chapter in the history of Panerai in this period was the increase in the resistance of its instruments to great depths.
The year 1972 was a year of transition for the company. Guiseppe Panerai died and Dino Zei became the new CEO of the company, which was renamed Officine Panerai.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the company’s technical department designed a new diving watch that incorporated all the technological advances in watchmaking and diving. It was an innovative 47mm diameter titanium watch, with a lever crown guard, rotating bezel and indices made up of microscopic cylindrical containers that housed the luminescent material. Tests have confirmed that this special Panerai watch can easily withstand over one hundred atmospheres of pressure, hence the name Millemetri.
1993 – 2002 Prevendôme and International Launch
In 1992, Panerai launched 3 limited and numbered collections: Luminor Marina, Luminor Marina 44 and the Mare Nostrum chronograph for the civilian market. They quickly became highly sought after by collectors and fans.
During filming in Florence, actor Sylvester Stallone fell in love with Officine Panerai watches and ordered a model exclusively for him. This was followed by a custom series of watches known as the Luminor Slytech (Sly is the actor’s nickname).
The Richemont Group (formerly the Vendôme Group) acquired Office Panerai Srl. in 1997, immediately opening a selective distribution network in Italy to take advantage of the synergies of the group’s structures and refine the commercial and industrial strategy.
In April 1998, the company achieved great international prestige in the luxury watchmaking sector by presenting the Luminor, Luminor Marina and the Mare Nostrum chronograph models at the Geneva Fine Watchmaking Show (SIHH). In addition, in this same year, a commemorative edition of the first Panerai watch was presented in a limited edition of 60 units.
After careful restoration, the historic Panerai store reopens. This craft workshop becomes a meeting point for collectors and enthusiasts of the brand. In 2002, the Panerai Manufacture was inaugurated in Neuchâtel. In this same year, Panerai expands to the Asian market.
2005 – 2015 First Panerai Calibers
The manufacture launches its first in-house caliber, the P.2000, a manually wound caliber with a GMT function and an 8-day power reserve. Next, 3 new calibers designed and developed internally in the manufacture are presented: P.3000, P.4000 and P5000. The latter has a tourbillon adapted by the Florentine brand. Later came the P.9000 and P.2006 calibres, which are characterized respectively by their 72-hour power reserve and a one-push-button chronograph caliber with split-seconds function controlled by a second button.
In 2011, Panerai presents the Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Bronzo, the first watch with a bronze case. A material closely linked to the sea and which owes its charm to the appearance it acquires over time. This same year the P.3000 caliber is also launched, an expression of the brand’s watchmaking art.
In 2013, three new movements were presented: the P.9100, the first automatic movement with a flyback chronograph function, the sophisticated P9100/12 with regatta winding, and the P.5000, a new manual-winding caliber with 8 days. power reserve. This same year, the brand presents the GMT Ceramica Tourbillon Pocket Watch at the International Fine Watchmaking Show in Geneva. A year later, the P.4000 caliber is launched, a movement distinguished by its eccentric oscillating weight.
For the year 2015, the P.1000 movement is marketed, a caliber only 3.85 mm thick. Subsequently, Panerai launches the Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon. At this same time, the Luminor Due collection is launched for the first time. A new case inspired by the classic luminor but with the thinnest automatic calibres ever developed by the manufacture.
2016 – 2023 Innovation and news
The innovative capacity of the brand’s Laboratorio Di Idee is projected through the use of new and innovative materials used in the boxes. In this way, Panerai launches the Submersible BMG-Tech 47 mm, with a completely new carbon case and black dial. During 2028, the company presents two new innovations: the Scienziato-Luminor Tourbillon GMT with a 3D-printed titanium case and the L’Astronomo-Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT.
Likewise, Panerai is committed to collaboration by offering fascinating experiences to its most loyal customers. One of the brand’s most significant collaborations is the sponsorship of Luna Rossa, for which a series of watches with an exceptionally avant-garde character were made. In parallel in 2019, Submersible separates from Luminor and becomes a completely independent collection.
In 2020, the manufacturing continues to evolve and redefine the expressive dimensions of the epic Luminor Marina. His new style claims to be simpler, more functional and modern, for which he creates the Luminor Marina 4 mm (PAM01117) model.
Panerai is a brand that is faithfully sensitive to the oceans, so much so that it creates the Submersible eLAB-ID. This watch is made with the highest percentage of material based on recycling in history. However, it is designed to increasingly promote the use of recycled materials and for the development of a circular economy to reduce the environmental impact of the watch industry. Subsequently, the brand also develops Luminor Marina eSteel, which represents a great advance in its commitment to reduce the extraction of virgin materials and its high environmental impact.
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