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The History

Founded in 1860 as a tiny shop on Ponte alle Grazie in Florence, Mr Giovanni Panerai’s “Orolegeria Svizzera” supplied equipment for the Royal Italian Navy in the early 20th century, including Rolex-engineered dive watches with its patented “Radiomir” luminescent coating. Now part of the Richemont Group, Panerai is a luxury brand in its own right, with a top-flight Swiss manufacture. The iconic “cushion” case shape remains, but today’s watches are more rigorously engineered than ever.


Pioneering Luminescence

As far back as 1916, Panerai pioneered dial luminescence with a patented radium-based powder called Radiomir, the excellent underwater adhesive qualities of which made it the obvious marking paste for its watch dials. A new, rather less radioactive substance, Luminor, superseded Radiomir in 1949 based on tritium, a hydrogen isotope; this too was replaced by safer alternatives in the 1990s.

The P.2005 Tourbillon

Panerai produced its first tourbillon movement, the P.2005, in 2007. Where the tourbillon’s ticking escapement assembly would usually rotate 360º every minute on an axis parallel to that of the balance wheel, the so-called P.2005 spins its tourbillon cage perpendicular to it, every 30 seconds.

Carbon Fibre 2.0

Panerai’s recent Carbotech models have pioneered a first for watchmaking: a case made from a composite of carbon fibre sheets compressed with a high-end polymer, PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone), which is even stronger and more durable than carbon alone.

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