Giovanni Panerai founded his first watch shop, Officine Panerai, in mid 19th century Florence, Italy. His watches were expertly made masterpieces in luxury, and the Panerai legacy would grow over the next century to be at the forefront of innovation and utility as well. In modern times, these watches are recognized globally as a signifier of taste in the world of luxury timepieces.
In 1916, Panerai patented a radium-based powder called Radiomir to give luminosity to their watch dials, and some years later released the first Radiomir watches. The Royal Italian Navy used these watches for their unparalleled readability and sturdiness.
In 1949, Radiomir was replaced by a new patented luminous material called Luminor, which superseded its predecessor using the hydrogen-based tritium instead of radium. Since then, both watch designs have been made available to the public in a continuation of the Panerai legacy.
Perhaps nothing personifies the modern Panerai mythos more than famous watch connoisseur Bruce Willis sporting a Radiomir in the 2018 movie Death Wish. Like Willis, Panerai watches are built for standout action performances, but they both also look really, really good with a suit.
Here are 5 Panerai watches that will make you feel like a star.
This piece is a classic look for the classy gentleman. “Acciaio” is Italian for steel, and you’ll certainly be steeled against any thoughts of boredom with this watch on your wrist. The luminous silver-tone hands are sharp against a black dial, and the black leather band says “I mean business.” The sub-dial ticks the seconds by so people know just how long they’ve been staring.
This Submersible is an incredible combination of classic looks and technological edge. It almost looks like an instrument that could be worn by a nautical time-traveller, visiting our era from the future to show off his spectacular watch. The sturdy build has a satisfying heft and feels as though it could withstand all the pressures of the deep sea invoked by the oceanic blue dial. With a Submersible like this on your wrist, you’ll never have to worry about being lost in the waves of life’s daily humdrum.
Speaking of time travelling, this Radiomir is a slice of 1940s Italian luxury that fits right on your wrist. And we do mean it fits right, because that brown calfskin leather strap will feel like it was made to be worn on your arm all along. The classic white dial is crisp and to the point, accented with black outlined hands on an everlasting journey to hit all their marks. Though the Radiomir evokes days past, it features the modern comfort of automatic self winding so you’ll never forget the time while you’re reminiscing about a bygone era.
Do you take this watch to be your companion through whatever the day might throw your way? One look at this beauty and you’ll say “I Due.” The interplay between the grey anthracite dial and the rose gold dials and case is a dance of light and dark, swirling together for a stunning display that reveals far more than just the time. The blue alligator leather strap is the final ingredient to a watch that is both enigmatic and alluring.
This variation on the Submersible’s design speaks of an ocean of a different sort. The textured dark grey dial is a cold night dotted with luminescent stars at the hour markers while glowing tips on black hands orbit the sky like satellites. This is a watch for the man who spends his quiet time pondering the infinite, searching for answers that he knows are out there somewhere beyond his earthbound grasp. It is an answer in itself, a reminder that you belong wherever it is you happen to be at the moment. Right here.
Feel like these Panerai masterworks just whet your appetite for more? Not to worry, we have a full collection of more than a hundred pieces ready for you to explore.