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Panerai - Back in Time: Panerai « Submersible »

Panerai Back in Time: Panerai « Submersible »

Half a century, and still at the top. Or rather, at the bottom. Panerai’s Submersible is one monster of the deep that has surfed the waves of modernity. We take a dive into a story with no unnecessary froth, told with unwavering rigour.

The Submersible by Officine Panerai is the Porsche 911 of watchmaking: it’s constantly evolving, and yet remains immediately recognisable at first glance. 

The watch takes its name from the luminescent material that replaced radium on watch dials: Luminor. It is made from tritium, an isotope of hydrogen, and was patented on 11 January 1949. Officine Panerai drew inspiration from this innovation to launch another historic collection: the Luminor range.

Back in Time: Panerai « Submersible »

© Panerai

It was added to Panerai’s collections in 1950, following on from the Radiomir. The distinguishing features of this Luminor were its crown protector, its lugs constructed from the same block of steel as the cushion-shaped case (similar to that of the 1940 Radiomir) and its broad, flat bezel. In fact, the current models that feature this style of case belong to the “Luminor 1950” collection. This original model was intended mainly for professional divers.

Back in Time: Panerai « Submersible »

© Panerai

A new era

The Luminor’s case was revised in 1993. This is the model familiar to the general public today, because it was the first Panerai watch collection designed with a wider audience in mind, not just professional divers. 

Its simple, gentle but powerful shapes form the basis of the modern-day success of Officine Panerai, which extends beyond the select circle of collectors who had spotted this unique horological UFO before 1993. 

Between 1993 and 1997, only 1828 watches were made. Then, in 1997, Panerai joined the Vendome Luxury Group, which was in turn bought by the Richemont group. And that’s when the Luminor took off internationally.

Back in Time: Panerai « Submersible »

© Panerai

What about today?

Inspired by the historic case of the Luminor 1950, created for Italian navy commandos, the new Submersible 44 mm retains all the features of its ancestor, while making the most of its updated proportions. The lugs are still fashioned from the same block of metal as the case, ensuring that they are perfectly integrated into the overall shape of the watch. As with the original Luminor from the 1950s, the crown protector, which guarantees that the case stays waterproof, is immediately recognisable. In that regard, Panerai has largely preserved the aesthetics of the original creation. 

In terms of the movement, however, things have definitely moved on! The original timepiece was an automatic chronometer, created in 1956 for the Egyptian navy. It was equipped with an Angelus movement with an eight-day power reserve, a small seconds counter at 9 o’clock, a generously sized case and a graduated rotating bezel that was easy to read underwater. In the 2000s, this historic movement was replaced by a Valjoux 7750-P1, known as the OPIII.  

Back in Time: Panerai « Submersible »

Luminor Submersible PAM00024 © Panerai

Today, the new 44 mm Submersible is fitted with an automatic mechanical movement that offers more functions than its predecessor. The movement bears witness to Officine Panerai’s relentless pursuit of technical development, with the aim of offering peerless quality and optimum reliability. Today, the famous P9010, a 100% manufacture movement designed in 2015, offering a three-day power reserve, can be found inside every Submersible. 

Back in Time: Panerai « Submersible »

Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech © Panerai



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Every Panerai watch is as unique as the story it tells. Since 1860 Panerai has produced high-precision instruments and watches, developed and created to meet the most rigorous military standards. Today the very essence of Panerai remains the creation of technological innovations and remarkable instruments, that draw inspiration from the epic exploits of past and, at the same time, explore new disruptive paths.

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