Previously we have mentioned the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore as one of the trendsetters when it became popular with large watches.Even more important was, until then, unknown Italian brand; Officine Panerai.
Panerai’s history begins in 1860 when Giovanni Panerai starts his clock shop Orologio Svizzera Officine Panerai on Ponte alle Grazie, Florence including sold Patek Philippe and Rolex. Under the leadership of his grandson Guido Panerai company came to specialize in precision engineering and instrument production to the Italian military. 1915 the company received a patent on the Radiomir, a solution to make the sieve and the instruments glow in the dark through a chemical mixture that shone brightly. A solution that later turned out to procure harmful doses of radioactivity.
In the mid-thirties the company received a request from the Italian Navy regarding a clock that could be used by the attack divers, and used the knowledge and technologies the company after more than a half-century as a provider of technological solutions. Together with Rolex (which supplied cases based on Oystermodellen 2533 and 618-watch movements that originally came from Cortebert) was developed in 1936 the first real dykarursprototypen; Panerai 2533. Two years later came produktionsvarianten 3646, that became the Foundation of the model we know today as Radiomir; 47 mm wide case in steel, fixed bandhorn as löddes firm, a large Crown that could be operated with gloves and a long band of oiled skins that could be used on the outside of the diving suit. The model was further developed during the forties with a case that had “real” bandhorn, a Crown protection who pushed the Crown and made it waterproof with a small lever, a Board with four clear figures and, not least, a new type of lysmassa which gave the model its name; Luminor. During the fifties continued Panerai to produce clocks and instrument, not only for the Italian Marina Militare, but also a small series of watches for the Egyptian Navy (ref 6154). After this company continued that in very small scale developing watches alongside the main instruments and targeting production for the military, before the next big change in 1993; step into the civilian market.
1993 Panerai decided to bet on the civil consumer market with a handful of models – mainly Luminorvarianter in 44 mm-size, but also the Mare Nostra, a reissue of a kronografprototyp from the 40’s. Mark passed under the radar for the first few years before Sylvester Stallone during the filming of Daylight 1995 took the opportunity to peep into a clock shop in Rome and then became enamored with the big, unique clocks. The interest for Panerai exploded thanks to Stallones enthusiasm. Stallone put an order on its own series, ‘Slytech’, which he gave away to their friends. Thanks to the sudden attention and popularity was bought in 1997 by Mark Vendôme (now Richemont) and was moved to Neuchâtel, which meant that many of the employees left off and instead started their own clock company in Florence where Ennebi and Anonimo is the most famous.
Today Panerai a very well-established brand with a strong profile and perhaps the world’s most loyal fans, known as the Paneristi. The company can be said to be the Foundation for all the storklockeboom that occurred from the late nineties onwards, and is clearly a philosophical father to the big, clear and masculine watches in militärstuk which many brands have. In addition to virtually create storklockesegmentet also succeeded, Panerai voluntarily or involuntarily, to create a niche to – for custom watch straps. Today there are several dozen minitillverkare of the bands, where the key words are usually rudimentary designs, so the old skins as possible and crafts.
The bells in the Luminor collection today remains in the variants vintage watches that looks very much like the original model in steel, with simple watch faces and watch movements. These can be found in Panerai’s “Historic” line, while the last few years (just like the rest of the industry) drawn in the inhouse-wave and has developed its own line of movement – which, among other things, see the model that ties together the bag; PAM372, a vintages tukad (plastic glasses, fifties style on the case and fejkpatinerad lysmassa) Luminor.