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Panerai watches boast a very long and important tradition; their history began in 1860 when Giovanni Panerai opens a watchmaker's shop in Florence. The shop, formerly known as Orologeria G. Panerai & C., had been renamed Orologeria Svizzera and was moved in its present location in the Archbishop’s Palace in the Piazza San Giovanni.
Giovanni was succeeded by his son Leon Francesco (1851-1918) and the latter by his son Guido (1873-1934). He had two children, Maria (1897-1993) and Giuseppe (1903-1972). In 1925, with his son Giuseppe, he set up Guido Panerai e figlio, a de facto partnership which replaced the existing firm.
The Orologeria Svizzera became a dealer for major Swiss watch brands, and notably for Rolex, with which it would subsequently establish a privileged and exclusive relationship that would allow the first Panerai watches to gain a foothold in the market.
In 1916, in order to meet Royal Italian Navy’s needs, Officine Panerai creates Radiomir, a radium-based powder that gives luminosity to the dials of sighting instruments and devices. The Radiomir patent will be the first of the many patents that characterized Panerai's history.
In 1938, after a few prototypical consignments, Panerai produced the first run of wristwatches designed for the Italian Navy Commandos. What was needed was a watch that was water- tight to 100 meters and had a clearly visible and easy-to-read dial in both daylight and darkness.
This is the start of the very well known Radiomir Panerai, which later became the Luminor, a watch still unsurpassed in terms of the legibility of its dial and of its compressive strength.
The Luminor is characterized by the crown-protecting bridge, with reinforced wire lugs created from the same block of steel as the case, the cushion-shaped case as in the Radiomir 1940 and the flat bezel. Today these models are called Luminor 1950.
Panerai improved the watch and produced it for the Navy on an exclusive basis and in very limited numbers in the 1940s and 1950s
During World War II, Panerai designed and realized not only watches but also other types of tools and devices for the Navy (for example wrist compasses and depth meters, lighting divers torches, graduators for torpedoes and more).
In the 1950s and 1960s, when the Italian Navy started building new ships and improving its structure, Panerai designed and produced, among other things: three different types of signal lights, a system of remote level indicators for submarine trimming and ballast tanks, a bilge water alarm system and more.
Panerai also presents the Mare Nostrum, a watch designed for deck officers, and the “Egiziano”, for the Egyptian Navy.
In 1972 Giuseppe Panerai passed away the management went to Dino Zei. The name of the company became Officine Panerai srl.
(Source “Panerai Watches” books)
The 1990’s production of the Luminor is inspired by those historical models created during the war. At the end of the 90’s The Richemont Group (at the time Vendôme Group) acquires Officine Panerai, with the consequent debut on the international fine watchmaking market. After the opening of the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, (2002), Officine Panerai launches three years later its first in-house movement, the P.2002. After that, are calibers came in 2007 and 2008.
In the latest years, Panerai presented the Bronzo edition, the Galileo Galilei, the re-proposal of the special edition Radiomir 1940, and opened a new manufacture.
Panerai watches represent today the ideal timepieces for history lovers. Find more Panerai for sale at our marketplace