Back in 1860 in Florence, Italy, the Officine Panerai was established by Giovanni Panerai. His grandson, Guido Panerai, eventually became the head of the company. In 1900, the company became the provider of the Royal Italian Navy’s official precision instruments and watches. The watches’ movements were made by companies such as Rolex S.A. while Panerai would design and manufacture the cases.
Approximately 300 watches were produced by Panerai between 1938, when Benito Mussolini’s fascist government was in power, all the way up to 1993. Every one of them was made for the Italian Navy. But, that partnership came to an end once the naval specifications changed. So, at that point, Panerai started creating timepieces to sell in the civilian marketplace.
Then, in 1997, the company was bought out by The Compagnie Financiere Richemont S.A. Since then, the creative designers there have been responsible for designing and manufacturing some of the most stunning watches worldwide. Panerai watches have become known for being stylish, as well as quite strong and solid, while constantly appreciating with time.
So, here’s a short list of the ten finest Panerai watches of all-time:
10. The Panerai Luminor 1950 Tourbillon- GMT Watch – Price $127,200
This watch comes with both a brown bracelet strap made of alligator skin with a tang type clasp and a brown dial. It has a manual movement and is considered to be an extra large sized watch. The case has a diameter of 47 millimeters plus its thickness is 16 millimeters. Its water resistance is 100 meters in distance and the power reserve lasts up to six days. It also features a second-time-zone, anti-glare sapphire crystal, and a crown-lock mechanism that is fully protected tourbillon. In addition, this watch offers 31 jewels, Arabic index hour markers and numerals plus luminescent hands.
9. The Panerai Specialties Radiomir Tourbillon- GMT Titanium Watch – Price $127,200
This watch also offers a brown strap and face, as well as a dial that is extra large. In addition, it has a titanium case that is 15 millimeters thick and 48 millimeters in diameter. Additional features include a six-day power reserve, water-resistance up to 100 meters, anti-glare sapphire crystal, a transparent case back, and a second-time-zone like the 1950 Luminor Tourbillon.
8. The Panerai Specialties Luminor 1950 Tourbillon- GMT Ceramic Watch – Price $133,600
This Panerai watch sports a bracelet strap made of brown antique calfskin with a tang type clasp and black dial. It features a manual-winding movement and the case is made of ceramic, measuring 15 millimeters thick and 48 in diameter. Additional features are a six-day power reserve, water-resistance to 100 meters, a 24-hour indicator at 3:00, and an anti-glare sapphire crystal.
7. The Panerai Specialties Radiomir Tourbillon- GMT Pink Gold Watch – Price $136,800
This watch also offers the same bracelet strap, clasp, and dial as the other Tourbillions, but with an 18-karat pink gold case at 15 millimeters thick and 48 millimeters in diameter. With a six-day reserve and water resistance up to 100m, it basically offers all of the same features as the others, except for the very distinctive case.
6. The Panerai PVD Destro Watch – $170,000
This very rare watch was originally sold for $20,000 in 1998 and Panerai only made 200 of them. One of them received bids recently that are as high as $170,000. This watch has a 44 mm in diameter case, a 3.5mm Sapphire crystal, 56-hour power reserve, and a black leather strap, as well as a black dial. Both the case and bezel are made of PVD steel. It offers water resistance up to 300m, making it suitable for diving.
5. The Panerai Limited Edition L’ Astronomo Luminor Tourbillon 1950 Equation of Time Watch – $235,000
Only 30 of these limited edition watches were ever made and they are a tribute to Galileo Galilei. Each one is customizable and the back of the watch can be engraved with the hometown of the buyer along with a sky chart of that town that actually rotates. In addition, the design of the dial reveals sunrise and sunset times in that hometown.
4. The Panerai Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Equation of Time Watch – $248,400
This watch sports the Panerai signature bracelet strap in brown gator with a tang clasp and a black dial. With a 50 mm in diameter titanium case that is 17 mm thick, it has a water resistance up to 100 meters in distance. The watch’s power reserve lasts as much as four days. Additional features include a sapphire crystal with anti-glare capabilities, a crown-lock mechanism that is both fully protected and tourbillon.
3. The Panerai Marina Militare Black Seal Watch – $400,000
This limited edition timepiece has a 44mm sapphire PVD case, a leather bracelet strap, and a closed case back. Only 140 were ever made and they were produced prior to the Richemont buyout of the company. In 1997, the price for this watch was a mere $15,000, but they are now going for as high as $400,000.
2. The Panerai Slytech Watch – $400,000
This stylish watch was worn in a movie called “Daylight” by superstar actor/writer/director Sylvester Stallone in 1997. Perhaps that where the name came from since his nickname is “Sly”. There were only 95 of them made and they originally sold at $14,000 retail price. Currently, buyers are paying up to $400,000 for them, but perhaps if he had won the Oscar, they would be selling for as much as this next watch.
1. The Panerai Kampfschwimmer Watch – $1 million
The Panerai Watch is the ultimate watch for the avid Panerai follower. Only a few dozen of this model were ever made. The watch features a case designed and made by Panerai but with a movement from Rolex. These watches were originally only available as military-issue. They also came with a Trittico depth gauge and a compass at the time. Although the Italians had originally commissioned these timepieces, a few of them ended up in the hands of the German Kriegsmarine where they were issued to their combat swimmers known as “Kampfschwimmers”, which is where the name came from.