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PANERAI watches: history, innovations and models

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.

panerai-sandwich-dialThe 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 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 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. The brand has consistently invested in the production of high-end calibers like, for example, the one that equips the Panerai Luminor 1950 Lo Scienziato Tourbillon. Horbiter® offers the most extensive list of hands-on reviews, in Italy, related to Panerai watches.

Panerai at the SIHH 2017: The "Laboratorio di Idee" introduces the so-called "PamTron".

In 2017, Panerai launched, at SIHH 2017, an extraordinary watch, resulting from years of research and development. The Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days PAM 700 sports a case crafted in Carbotech™, and offers a series of new and ground-breaking features. Nicknamed the "PamTron" (its sandwich dial's colors remind the legendary film "Tron"), it comes with a fifty years warranty.

panerai-lab-id-luminor-1950-carbotech-3-days-pam-700-pamtronThe caliber needs no maintenance since it adopts a tantalum-based ceramic with a high percentage of carbon in it. The same material is also used on the main bridges and the plate, thus reducing friction on the axes to a minimum and eliminating the rubies and the usual lubrication. Lubrication was also eliminated on the escapement thanks to the use of silicon used on the main components and also thanks to the DLC coating on the wheel and on the movement's four rubies.

Here is a list of the latest articles regarding Panerai watches, on Horbiter®:


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