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Welcome to the official PANERAI watches brand page on Horbiter®

History, facts and anecdotes of the iconic Italian brand from Florence

It was 1860 when Panerai watches was founded.

Panerai watches was founded in 1860, when Giovanni Panerai opened a shop and workshop, named called "Orologeria Svizzera," in the center of Florence. The shop was also a Rolex watch authorized retailer at the time, and it's the close relationship between the Geneva-based brand and Giovanni that allowed him to use Rolex movements for his timepieces.

orologi-panerai-stand-sihhToday, Panerai is a vertically integrated manufacturer whose factory is located in Neuchâtel. The name Panerai watches (formerly Officine Panerai watches) is strictly linked to two patents that currently identify two primary collections: the Panerai Radiomir and the Panerai Luminor. The Orologeria Svizzera boutique was fully restored a few years ago and transformed into a mono-brand boutique, and is with no doubt the most iconic Panerai brand boutique around the world, given its great historical value.

A successful Italian story: Panerai Watches patents the Radiomir and launches the Panerai Radiomir.

In 1916, Giovanni Panerai patented a luminous substance created to ensure strong luminescence under conditions of poor visibility, such as those faced by the men of the Royal Italian Navy, with whom he has collaborated for a long time. Panerai introduced the Radiomir, a radio-based paint that strongly glows in the dark.

panerai-radiomir-3-days-acciaio-pam-720The first Radiomir watch prototype was built in 1936 for the 1st Divers Group of the Royal Italian Navy. In 1938 the brand turned to full production and introduced the so-called "sandwich dial", consisting of two layers, with the underlying one filled with Radiomir. The sandwich dial is an unmistakable feature of a Panerai watch and allowed the brand to further improve a dial's legibility in the dark. After several product updates, that include the introduction of a new case featuring sharp edges in replacement of the original cushion shaped case, i.e. the launch of a new Radiomir collection in 1940, and the Panerai Mare Nostrum chronograph in 1943, the Radiomir paint was finally replaced by a new one, the Luminor.

The transition from Radiomir to Luminor and the launch of the Panerai Luminor collection.

The spirit of innovation of Giovanni Panerai is unstoppable, and his close relationship with the Italian army helps him introduce new technical solutions. In 1949 he patented the Luminor, a tritium-based paint. Panerai watches debuts a second wristwatch, the Panerai Luminor.

panerai-luminor-black-seal-left-handed-8-Days-Acciaio-DLC-PAM786-44mmThe Panerai Luminor watch's case is more rugged than a Radiomir's and, in its early version, identified today as the Panerai Luminor 1950 collection, features a bridge and a lever to protect the crown from accidental shocks. The lugs are bigger and integrated into the case, instead of being thin and welded, like on a Radiomir. That collection turns over the years into the modern Panerai Luminor, whose thick, squared case sets the new design apart from the 1950's original one.

Panerai watches today: a historic Italian brand acquired by the Richemont Group.

The history of Panerai watches continued with the supply of the Radiomir Egiziano, a 60mm wide watch featuring an Angelus mechanical movement, to the Egyptian army in 1956 (re-issued some years ago as a limited edition watch, coded as PAM 243) and with other watches, until the Richemont Group finally acquired the brand in 1997.

orologio-panerai-radiomir-egiziano-calibro-sf-angelus-240-otto-giorni-caricaNowadays, Panerai watches produces all its mechanical movements, either manually-wound or self-winding and with a long power reserve (three days rather than eight days) inside the Neuchâtel-based manufacture, and has consistently invested in the production of high-end calibers like, for example, the one that equips the Luminor 1950 Lo Scienziato Tourbillon. Horbiter® offers the most extensive list of hands-on reviews, in Italy, related to Panerai watches.

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