Panerai: Italian roots
It all began in Florence, Italy in 1860: Giovanni Panerai opens his shop and watchmaker’s school on Ponte Alle Grazie. By the turn of the century, Panerai would have its most famed client, the Royal Italian Navy. This partnership led to Panerai developing Radiomir, a luminosity-enhancing material that was used for its dials - and which would serve the men well in battle. The Italian Navy connection would pique the interest of another royal navy too: in 1956, Panerai created the Egiziano Radiomir watch, for deep water immersion, for the Egyptian Navy. In its more modern history, Panerai continues to be linked to great men, such as Dino Zei, who in 1972 christented its current namesake - Officine Panerai. There has even been some Hollywood glamour, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone two very public, die-hard fans of the brand. Today a part of the Richemont Group and with boutiques around the world where its watches are for sale, the company has had its own manufacturing plant in Neuchâtel, Switzerland since 2002, for which its first in-house movement - a hand-wound calibre with GMT function and an eight-day power reserve – is named after.
Radiomir California 3 days
In polished stainless steel, this Panerai model, also known as PAM 0448, has a cool simplicity with its black luminous Arabic and Roman numerals set on a sleek black dial and brown strap. Water resistant to 10 bar, it is powered by the P.3000 calibre. A favourite with fans, you can find pre-owned models on sale at the likes of Watchfinder and Chrono24.
With such deep rooted naval history, it’s no surprise that GMT functions are part and parcel of the Panerai Luminor watches portfolio. Take for example the handsome PAM 00088 Luminor GMT Automatic Acciaio model (price £6,400), which comes with a stainless steel case and which will appeal to sporty men in particular. Or also on sale is the rugged PAM 01088 watch with a vintage-like brown calf assolutamente strap (price £6,400) and also available in stainless steel.
Further riffing off the Italian Royal Navy connection is the Panerai Marina watches collection (named so for Regia Marina) of which includes the sub-seconds display and in a range of materials from stainless steel to gold, which will appeal to men in particular. A host of styles are available for sale such as the vintage-like Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio model (price £6,800) in titanium that displays the hours, minutes, small seconds and date. Or a more bold, modern model is the Luminor Marina 1950 America’s Cup 3 Days Automatic Acciaio (price £6,900) in stainless steel.