Panerai is one of the most highly coveted and well regarded makers of watches in the world. With a fascinating and complicated history dating back to the 1800’s, the brand has built a relationship on breathtaking design, reliable and consistent craftsmanship, and unmistakable cool-factor. 

If you’re looking to buy your first Panerai watch but aren’t sure what makes the brand so revered, or are unclear on the history of the company and how it has shaped this Swiss watchmaker into one of the most prestigious in all the world, find out in our latest blog.

The History of Panerai Watches 

The company known today as Officine Panerai was established by Italian businessman Giovanni Panerai in 1860 in the city of Florence. At the time of its founding, Panerai acted as a watchmaking school, a repair workshop, and as a sales showroom, quickly becoming a key player in the sale of luxury Swiss watches. 

In the early 20th Century, Giovanni with the help of his son Leon Francesco, helped to revolutionise the watch industry when he saw the potential to use the recently discovered Radium and patent a new compound to be used for practical, everyday purposes. Radiomir.

Radiomir’s strong low light visibility and underwater adhesive qualities made it perfect for military instrumentation. The Italian company struck a deal with Rolex to produce a waterproof wristwatch suited to the needs of the Italian Navy. 

In 1936 the first ever Panerai watch was produced. Designed for Royal Italian Navy officers, the 47mm watch was powered by a Rolex caliber with a glowing indices that could be read in low light, on underwater missions. 

After decades of producing the best watches in the world for specialist navy operations Panerai’s partnership with Rolex ended in 1956, and for nearly 20 years Panerai appeared to lose its place in the watchmaking world. 

But nearing the end of the 20th century, under the stewardship of former Italian naval officer and engineer Dino Zei, Panerai began to refind old glories producing upscale mechanical watches. 

This era of Panerai watches was defined by its popularity within the Hollywood elite, most notably action mega stars such as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were regularly spotted wearing Panerai in pictures, and in their movies.

Panerai continued to go from strength to strength off the back of this popularity boom, and in 2000 the Panerai collector community group, Paneristi formed. One of the largest groups of its kind in the world, cementing Panerai’s legacy as one of the largest watchmakers in the world. 

Why Buy Your First Panerai Watch

When you buy your first Panerai watch you are buying into over a hundred years of rich history and tradition. You are buying a product with an undoubted cool factor, one that will make watch lovers drool. But why? 


Historically, Panerai was built on two designs; the Radiomir and the Luminor. These two iconic designs are what helped push Panerai into the stratosphere. Today the company has moved past these originals, but the foundations of these iconic and historic watches remain today. 

Modern Panerai is built on the marrying of the expertise of swiss watchmakers based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and the beauty of Italian designers in Milan.  

The design elements of a Panerai watch are highly distinctive. With unusually large crowns, a minimalist style of its dials, and a large case, Panerai watches are made to stand out while remaining understated and fashionable.

Going out for a meal wearing a Panerai watch will be sure to turn heads. People in the know will immediately understand and appreciate what’s on your wrist, while those not aware of Panerai will still appreciate the timeless and simplistic design. Cool doesn’t need to be complicated. 


Panerai has taken great strides to highlight the environmental issues that are being caused by the watchmaking industry. In 2021 the Swiss company revealed a brand new concept watch, the Submersible eLAB-ID. It was created to show that the industry can and has to do better to limit the effect it is having on the world and environment around it. 

The timepiece boasts a new industry standard of recycled materials at around 99% of all materials used having previously been used for a different purpose all-together. 

In an effort to further improve the industry as a whole Panerai released a list of suppliers and materials used in an effort to help other watch brands to follow suit and implement more recycled materials in their own upcoming collections. Panerai is a symbol within the watchmaking industry that becoming more sustainable and eco conscious is not a competition, it is a joint effort and more important than profits.

Hollywood Cool 

Have you ever fantasised about living the life of one of your favourite action stars but don’t want to go through years of hard military training and hand-to-hand combat practice? Owning a Panerai watch could be the next best thing. 

While it’s very easy for a company to pay celebrities to promote and wear their product in order to influence others, the true barometer of the quality of a product like a luxury watch is in whether these people wear it without an endorsement deal, and Panerai watches are hugely popular in very famous circles.

Rappers, Presidents, CEOs and athletes have all been known to wear a Panerai watch. Fittingly, given the company’s history of producing timepieces for the armed forces, for decades the Panerai brand has been intertwined with the Hollywood action movie genre. 

After coming across them by chance while visiting Rome, Hollywood royalty Sylvester Stallone became enamoured with the Italian brand. Frequently wearing them in public and in his movies; including in entries to the mega-popular Rambo and Expendables series. 

The distinctive Panerai watch has also been seen on the wrist of Arnold Schwarzenneger, Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson.

Buying Your First Panerai Watch from Blowers Jewellers

If you are considering adding a Panerai watch to your collection, or looking for something to wear with a bit of cool factor, Blowers Jewellers can help. 

We have decades of experience and expertise in luxury watches and are best placed to help match you with the luxury watch of your dreams. 

Dedicated and passionate about all things luxury watches and jewellery, we are perfectly placed to find you the perfect timepiece to compliment you. 

For more information about how Blowers Jewellers can assist you in finding the perfect Panerai watch, or for assistance guiding you through the rest of our stunning collection of second hand luxury timepieces, contact us today.