The first 130 years of the now widely known Swiss luxury brand Officine Panerai consisted of a small Italian company that built military instruments for the Italian military power. Eqotime tells the story of the origin that sowed the seed for its great success in modern times, an origin that has a strong connection to the competitor brand Rolex.
Watchmaker Giovanni Panerai opened his watch workshop in Florence as early as 1860, a business that over time developed into a company focusing on research and development in mechanics and industrial design.
The largest customer was the Italian Navy, to which Swiss made Panerai replica watches supplied various precision instruments such as marine scopes. A radium-based powder was also developed that made instruments glow in the dark. The material was called “Radiomir” and was patented in 1916.
In 1935, the Navy embarked on a secret program of underwater operations and Panerai was commissioned to develop cheap Panerai fake watches suitable for the purpose.
The main requirements were good waterproofness, good luminescent properties and an easy-to-read dial. When Rolex in Switzerland had made a name for itself ten years ago with one of the world’s first waterproof wristwatches, the Rolex Oyster, they turned to it.
First Panerai watches: Ref. 2533 & 3646
Rolex enlarged the case of its Oyster and fitted a large movement from one of its pocket watches (Caliber 618). High quality replica Panerai‘s first wristwatches was given a case of 47mm in diameter and was manufactured by Rolex in Switzerland.
1:1 Panerai copy watches then designed its own, very clear dial with the now famous Panerai speciality “sandwich dial” in aluminum, which had also been treated with its famous Radiomir material.
This meant that the dial was made up of two plates placed on top of each other. The lower plate was treated with radium, while the upper plate had cut-out, distinctly large numbers, so that the legibility of the sea depth remained optimal.
A prototype with reference number 2533 was published in 1936, of which 35 copies were assembled. It was not until 1938 that the serial version was released in the form of the ref. 3646 with a further refined dial, of which about 1000 were produced during the following year.
1953: Ref. 6152
In 1953, luxury replica Panerai‘s first post-war watches was presented, the Ref. 6152, which developed the shape with, among other things, lugs integrated into the case as on modern watches (and today’s Panerai Luminor).
Inside sat a developed variant of the Caliber 618 from the pre-war bells. Incidentally, the movement was not made by Rolex itself, but by the watch manufacturer Cortébert, which has long since been dormant. It was a simple, hand-wound movement with 15-17 jewels depending on the design and probably a reliable and economical – and thus fitting – turnip to AAA replica Panerai’s rough-hewn watches.
Only 24 examples have reportedly been built, making them extremely rare – and valuable – when they turn up at auction on rare occasions.
1954: Ref. 6154
In 1954 a neater version of the 6152 from the previous year was released, with a slightly thinner case and more graceful lines. The origin and idea behind China super clone Panerai reference 6154 watches is somewhat shrouded in mystery and the facts presented by various subject matter experts are somewhat scattered.
The 6154 is distinguished by its crown from the Rolex (with a different shape than that of other contemporary Panerai) and is in some quarters nicknamed “Egiziano Piccolo”, i.e. “Egyptian small”. This is a consequence of the fact that this reference was intended for the Egyptian navy, information which is, however, denied by others.
According to an alternative story, Egyptian military personnel bought these Panerai replica watches online privately and the fact is that 6154 watches have been found in Egypt. Another theory is that the model originated on the initiative of Rolex, which wanted to provide a more portable watch to the Italian sailors.
That we will ever find out the absolute truth about the mythical 6154 is highly uncertain. In any case, only 36 Panerai fake watches for men are said to have been made.
1955: Ref. 6152/1
In 1955, the 6152 was updated, mainly with the brand’s characteristic crown cover, first of all Panerai replica watches wholesale. The design was patented by Panerai and has remained perhaps the strongest Panerai marker to this day.
Reportedly, the 6152/1 will also be the first Panerai watch to be offered with the new type of illumination technology, called “Luminor”, which was released in 1949 and patented Panerai. The new luminescent material was tritium, which was safer to handle than radium, which was radioactive.
Approximately 500 watches were assembled until the early 1960s, making it the second most common of the original Panerai fake watches shop.
1956: Ref. GPF-2/56 “Egiziano”
1952 skapades den egyptiska militärmaktens dykarenhet “Al ferka al sierra”. I sökandet efter ett lämpligt dykarinstrument fastnade man för de italienska attackdykarnas Panerai-klockor. Man hade nämligen nära relationer till den italienska militären då dess flotta hade hjälpt egyptierna att bygga upp deras egen militära dykarenhet.
Problemet var att avtalet mellan Panerai och Rolex, som ju tillverkade Panerai-klockorna, inte tillät att de såldes till andra länder än Italien. Detta ledde därför till att Panerai beslutade att tillverka Egyptens klockor på egen hand. Denna referens utgör alltså en milstolpe i märkeshistorien då den var den första att utvecklas och produceras inhouse i Florens, utan Rolex-delar.
And this is where the idea for the GPF-2/56 was born, or popularly known as Panerai Egiziano (Egyptian in Italian). The model was delivered in 1956 and was used by Egypt during the Suez Crisis. The Egiziano was a grotesquely large wristwatch with a diameter of 60mm. A classic swivel bezel as is customary in diver’s Swiss movements replica Panerai watches made it visually different from the brand’s previous Rolex-based watches, which lacked one.
Inside ticked a Swiss Angelus SF240, a simple movement intended for table and travel watches, but which fit in the voluminous 60mm case. A full eight days of power reserve was offered, a technical detail that has followed the brand to this day.
Egiziano also had the sandwich board that was unique to Panerai and the Radiomir illumination. 50 fake Panerai watches store are said to have been built, of which 15 are known to collectors today. A copy can cost several million kronor.
Panerai 1972 onwards
In 1972, the company’s name was changed to Officine Panerai, as a result of its sale by the Panerai family to engineer and former Italian officer Dino Zei. The business of developing and selling various instruments to the Italian state continued during the 70s and 80s.
Due to a dwindling demand for military equipment in the early 1990s, Zei chose to develop modern wristwatches for the civilian market. The first 1:1 quality replica Panerai watches were shown in 1993 and thanks to the sharp eyes of the actor Sylvester Stallone during a visit to Italy in the middle of the decade, the rest of the world also became aware of the uniquely shaped macho watches.
The success led to the French Vendome Group (today Richemont) buying the brand in 1997, which has since developed from a small company that builds a few hundred watches per year to remain a real major player in the global luxury watch segment. And that’s where we are today.
Panerai built around 1600 best quality Panerai fake watches between 1936 and the early 70’s with the help of Rolex. With that in mind, it’s remarkable what a significant impact the brand would eventually have on watch history – and the industry – thanks to these obscure, military diver’s watches that few, if any, knew about outside the Italian state.
Thanks to Dino Zei who opened the door to the civilian market, Sylvester Stallone who got the world to discover the brand and Vendome’s/Richemont’s development of the brand, a large number of enthusiasts and followers have arisen all over the world, as well as eager buyers of Panerai replica watches paypal.
The journey that the small company made, from producing a limited number of instruments for the Italian military so long ago, to turning into this idiosyncratic cult brand that is such a major player in the global market of luxury watches, is as incomparable as it is remarkable.