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Officine Panerai is an Italianmarker brand of watches owned by Richemont International SA. Its watches are currently manufactured in Neuchâtel, Switzerland with some movements designed and manufactured in-house. Otherwise they use decorated ETA movements.


Stallone in 2009, wearing a limited edition Panerai Egiziano, the largest Panerai wristwatch at 60mm diameter.
Panerai was founded in 1860 in Florencemarker by Giovanni Panerai (1825–1897). It later became the official supplier of the Royal Italian Navy and expanded to building precision instruments. The company is famous for its Radiomir and Luminor watches, notable for their use by Italian commando frogmen, who relied upon their Panerai wristwatches to execute the sinking of Allied naval vessels in WWII.

The Florence-based watchmaker produced wrist worn diving instruments and about 300 watches, all for the Italian Marina Militare, between 1938 and 1993. By that time, the company ceased to provide watches to the Marina Militare, as they were no longer cost-effective nor did they meet the naval specifications. It then moved to launch its products to the civilian market, but remained relatively obscure until the actor Sylvester Stallone spotted and bought a Panerai Luminor in a jewelry store in Rome in 1995 to wear during shooting of the film Daylight. Stallone ordered a small batch of such watches with his signature on the case back, called Slytech. He offered them as gifts to friends, including Arnold Schwarzenegger. The watch gained rapid popularity, and Officine Panerai was eventually taken over by Richemont in 1997. It should however be noted that the original Panerai were fitted with Rolex movements as worn by the Italian command frogmen.

Recent fashion changes and Panerai's success marketing large watches has also led other companies to introduce larger watches.

Panerai has four major lines of watches, Historic, Contemporary, Manifattura and Special Editions. Most watches are produced in a limited run (normally of 500, 1000, 2000 or 4000 units) and carry an issue number on the case back. Panerai issues Special Editions every year. In 2006 it issued the 1936 California Dial Radiomir special edition, a reissue of the first Panerai model ever presented to the Italian Marina Militare. This model was limited to a run of 1936 units. As of September 2008, the price variation within the Contemporary collection varied from $6,200 to up to $25,500 for the solid gold Marina. (All prices in USD).

When the contract between Girard-Perregaux and Ferrarimarker expired a new partnership was signed with Panerai to develop, manufacture and distribute watches under the Ferrari trademark. A New York representative for the watch company has called Panerai the official timekeeper to Ferrari. These wristwatches, available in the US from early August 2006, have 11 models and cost between $5,300 and $26,500. Panerai Ferrari watches are divided into two collections: Granturismo and Scuderia.

Panerai issue many watches as either limited or special editions producing fewer watches than the market demands. Retailers may only receive a few limited edition pieces each per year and long waiting lists for popular models are not uncommon. Hence this brand has become a popular investment piece with resale values of used Panerai often matching list prices of a new watch.
A vintage Panerai Marina Militare wrist watch.


  • "'I immediately felt when I saw the watch that it had star power' Stallone said. . . . 'Besides, it's perfect for people who are over 45 years old,' he added in reference to the ease of reading large-format watches."


  1. Panerai in-house movements
  2. David Prince, " Monster Watches: How a movie muscleman spawned a trend that bulked up the wristwatch", Cigar Aficionado.
  3. Panerai and Ferrari
  4. Watch Retailer Report, 2006.


  • Men's Vogue, Fall 2005

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