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Panerai History

Giovanni Panerai opens a watchmaking shop and workshop in Florence. The multi-purpose premises is the first official location of Officine Panerai.

The Royal Italian Navy has been requesting precision instruments from Officine Panerai for some years. In 1916, Panerai patents a luminous powder that will give its name to the brand’s first classic luxury watch. Radiomir is used to make instrument dials clearly legible in difficult conditions.

From the middle of one World War to another: Panerai’s first Radiomir watches are created for the Royal Italian Navy’s First Submarine Group Command. The large case, luminous numerals and wire lugs will remain on Radiomir watches to the present day.

Radiomir dials are redesigned to incorporate four large Arabic numerals: 12, 3, 6, and 9. This design will remain a staple of Panerai’s stable of luxury watches.

Officine Panerai unveils a new watch – the Mare Nostrum. This rare chronograph is designed for officers on deck, and will become all but lost to the watch-collecting public by the turn of the 21st century.

A newly patented luminous substance gives Panerai the name for its second historic luxury watch: the Luminor. Luminor is based on tritium, a hydrogen isotope.

The Luminor’s case is created. The Luminor case is an evolution of the Radiomir, with a wider bezel and a signature bridge to protect the crown.

Panerai’s Egiziano dive watch is developed for the Egyptian Navy. The Egiziano features a huge 60mm case, and is characterised by exceptional strength and water resistance. In the same year, Panerai patents the bridge that protects the crown on its signature watch models.

The name of the brand is changed from G. Panerai & Figlio, which it has used since almost its inception, to Officine Panerai, in celebration of the name it uses on its first watches.

Officine Panerai marks its transition from maker of precision marine instruments to creator of luxury watches. The premier Officine Panerai collection is unveiled. It comprises three watches: the Luminor, a new Mare Nostrum and the Luminor Marina.

Officine Panerai is bought by the Richemont Group. Luminor and Luminor Marina watches are presented to the luxury watch world, followed by another reimagined Mare Nostrum.

To celebrate the turn of a new century, Officine Panerai reopens its original location as a boutique store and workshop.

Panerai cements its standing as a creator of Swiss luxury watches with a manufacture in Neuchatel. In the same year, Panerai opens a luxury boutique in Hong Kong.

The brand unveils its first ever in-house movement. The Panerai P.2002 is hand wound, and has an eight-day power reserve.

Three new in-house calibres are presented by Officine Panerai. In particular, P.2005 will make a new impact on luxury watchmaking. P.2005 incorporates an in-house tourbillon, which has been designed with a completely novel function. The cage of the tourbillon rotates perpendicularly to the axis of the balance wheel, allowing the tourbillon to complete a cycle in 30 seconds instead of 60.

Two more calibres are released. P.9000 has a 72-hour power reserve. P.2006 is a two-button chronograph incorporating a split-seconds function.

Panerai re-releases its Egiziano naval model as a luxury watch.

Officine Panerai celebrate Galileo Galilei’s genius with three extremely special models. The star of the show, the Jupiterium, is a planetary clock capable of locating the Sun, the Moon, Jupiter and Jupiter’s Galilean Moons throughout their phases. In addition to the Jupiterium, Panerai’s Galilean triptych includes L’Astronomo and Lo Scienziato.

The brand premiers a bronze Luminor – the Luminor Submersible 1950.

Two Radiomirs are released to celebrate Panerai’s classic models. The original case designs are resurrected, including their Plexiglas crystals.

Panerai launches three further in-house movements. P.9100 and P.9100/R are both chronographs, the latter with a regatta complication. P.5000 is a hand wound movement featuring an eight-day power reserve.

Panerai opens a second manufacture in Neuchatel, and premieres its automatic P.4000 movement.

For our latest Panerai luxury watches currently in stock, see here.

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