In 1860 Giovanni Panerai opened a small watchmaking shop at Ponte Alle
Grazie in Florence. Later in 1890 the talented grandson, Guido Panerai took over and relocated the business to Piazza San Giovanni. The brand produced mechanical instruments, depth gauges, and compasses and did collaboration with the Italian Navy. In 1936 the brand was requested to create divers watches. The Italian Marine Military had very great demands for the timepiece and besides needing it to be waterproof they needed easy readability, and other details that were unfamiliar to the brand. The brand turned to the Swiss company Rolex for assistance because of their expertise in the timepiece market.
The collaboration with Rolex in 1930 brought about the release of the Panerai Radiomir, a waterproof timepiece, 47mm that gave way to a patented phosphor based on radium that was used on the dial so it would be legible in every environment. Launching the brand to real fame came when Sylvester Stallone wore the Luminor in the 1996 movie “Daylight”. This was the first volume orders the brand had seen and really propelled the consumer demand.
The brand timepieces are sought after by some of the most discerning collectors around the globe. By 1997 the company had enough market demand and growth they were on the radar and the Vendome Group partnered allowing further growth in distribution, marketing, and product development. The years 1997 to 2014 provided the emergence of Panerai from every aspect, allowing new product lines to be introduced and also they were the first brand to really benefit from on-line presence. The internet development provided another surge for the brand and the adventure continued.
Richemont stepped in and took over the brand focus and drove a strategy that promoted innovation, limited editions and great models. Offering a full line of timepieces based on some of the historical models, capturing the greatest core of the brand, and expanding the scope of the offerings. Introducing precious metals, extreme horological complications and case sizes of varying ranges.
The appeal of the Panerai brand increased on-line as well as in store and some of the artistic elements they brought to life worked to build their client base to unprecedented levels. The brand continues to develop an exquisite line of timepieces that capture collectors’ hearts, and those of us who dare to dream as we are able to grasp one of those timepieces that started it all. History can repeat itself when it offers such fabulous designs.