Brand Directory: Panerai

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In 1860 Giovanni Panerai opened his watchmaker's shop in Florence, it wasn't only a shop and workshop but also served as the city's first watchmaking school, Officine Panerai's was born. The shop later moved to its current location in the Palazzo Arcivescovile in Piazza San Giovanni, Italy, changing its name to "Orologeria Svizzera" at the beginning of the twentieth century.

In 1916 Stemming from Marie and Pierre Curie’s 1898 discovery, to meet the military needs of the Royal Italian Navy, Officine Panerai created Radiomir, a radium-based powder that gives luminosity to the dials of sighting instruments. Reference to the name "Radiomir" is documented in the patent filed in France on 23 March 1916. The substance's properties are perfect for military applications with high visibility and the paint's excellent underwater adhesive qualities. 

In 1936 Panerai created the first prototypes of the model now known as "Radiomir" for the frogman commandos of the First Submarine Group Command of the Royal Italian Navy. The Navy's historical archives record that just ten prototypes were produced in 1936. It was during this time that a very unusual relationship between Rolex and Panerai was forged with the production of the Ref: 2533. The design comes from a 47mm Rolex Oyster pocket watch. That was turned on its side so that the crown would be now located at 3 o’clock. In 1949 Panerai introduced a new luminescence substance called Luminor that was not only safer than radium-based Radiomir but also much more luminous. In 1955 Panerai launched the Luminor, a watch created for the Royal Italian Navy with its characteristic crown guard designed in the 1950s, invented by brother and sister Giuseppe and Maria Giuseppe Panerai. It wasn’t until 1993 that Panerai finally released the Luminor and Luminor Marina to the public. Today Officine Panerai is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Richemont S.A Group that includes Cartier, IWC, Montblanc, and Vacheron Constantin.