Renowned for the exceptional quality of its precision mechanical engineering, Officine Panerai began as a manufacturer of precision instruments and watches for the Royal Italian Navy. Now it has established itself as one of the world’s most celebrated haute horlogerie technical sports watches brand.
1860 Giovanni Panerai, founder of the family business, opens the first watchmaker’s shop in Florence.
1890/1900 Guido Panerai, grandson of the founder, expands his grandfather’s business and gives it new impetus, specializing in high precision mechanisms and becoming official supplier to the Royal Italian Navy.
1900 At the turn of the century, the shop moves to the Piazza San Giovanni site in Florence, where the Panerai boutique can be found today.
1938 Production of Radiomir watches begins for the Italian Navy, with a large (47 mm in diameter) cushion-shaped case, wire loop strap attachments welded to the case, a screw-down crown, a luminous dial easy to read underwater in the dark, and a hand-wound mechanical movement supplied by Rolex
1940s Creation of the Luminor watch. Its water-resistance is guaranteed by a locking lever device fixed to the case, enabling the watches to descend to a depth of 200 metres, a remarkable achievement for the time. This device would be patented in Italy in 1956 and in the USA in 1960.
1956 At the request of the Egyptian Navy, Panerai creates a large Radiomir watch with an Angelus movement with 8-day power reserve and a scale with 5-minute intervals for calculating immersion times.
1980 Production of a prototype titanium watch designed to survive a pressure equivalent to a depth of 1000 metres.
1997 Richemont acquires Officine Panerai and the company’s range of watches, compasses, torches and depth gauges.
2001 Opening of the first Panerai boutique at the historic site in Piazza San Giovanni in Florence.
2002 Opening of a manufacturing base in Neuchâtel and the first boutique in Asia, in the Prince’s Building in Hong Kong.
2003 Opening of the Panerai boutique in Portofino.
2004 The Radiomir collection is enhanced by the 8 Days model. This is a return to the past, with the re-presentation in a modern key of a mechanism which Officine Panerai had already experimented with, the hand-wound 8-day autonomy movement.
2005 Opening of the Panerai boutiques in Shanghai and Los Angeles. Presentation of the first Panerai in-house movement: the calibre P.2002. This is a hand-wound mechanical movement of the latest technical conception with 8 days autonomy.
For the future: Panerai is increasingly orienting itself towards a consistent product range characteristic of the manufacture of technical haute horlogerie.