If you are a watch fan or collector you know about Panerai. If you own Panerai you know what they cost (and what they are worth --- plenty in both cases!) "The luxury of Panerai grew out of its heritage and the purposefulness of each detail," explains designer Ralph Lauren
, owner of a highly prized Radiomir model made for the Egyptian military. "These watches were not about the latest fashion—they were designed to work in specific conditions. Their form and beauty were secondary to their function; they're rugged, utilitarian, and handsome."
Panerai is the most famous of the Italian watch
companies, and as a watch workshop was commissioned by the Italian Navy to produce a watch that could be easily read underwater. This early prototype was actually fitted with Rolex parts. Currently Panerai produces a very limited number of pieces and therefore keeps demand high.
Panerai is one of fashion and quality icons that are all but impossible to find at a discount. You are lucky if you receive 5% – 10% at most. Panerai is very much in demand among those who can afford it, with preowned limited editions often selling for more than current, new Italian watches . . . Their oversized cases fall in line with the current trend in watches…. bigger is better. Celebrities wear them, new age businessmen wear them, and some very modern women even wear them. The market for preowned is also very strong for obvious reasons. Panerai is careful to maintain the interest of collectors who are passionate and fickle and, like many men, react poorly to abrupt change. Alter models too radically and purists balk; do it too slowly and there's little reason to purchase anew. To that end, the company produces only limited quantities in two distinct lines: historic (copies of classic designs with manual winding mechanisms) and contemporary (updated classic designs with automatic movements). New Panerai range in price from about US$4,000 to over US$20,000. But ask the man who wears one --- it's worth it!
Panerai watch cases are usually 40mm or 44mm. Most all models are available both on straps and on bracelets. The simplest version is called the “Marina”. In addition there are “Power Reserve” and “GMT” complications. Panerai also makes a “Chronograph” and a diving watch called the “Submersible”. Each piece is numbered on the back out of how many produced that year. Panerai has a substantial market share because of the large number of Panerai Collectors out there. Some are even “cult-like” in their appreciation for this massive watch.
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