Panerai is a watch brand deep in heritage and history. Panerai was originally commissioned by the Italian Navy to develop watches for their specific use in 1935, but as the orders slowed in the eighties, it was time to move on. Richemont Group bought the brand in 1997, who then turned Panerai into a consumer brand. Reborn yet not entirely reimagined, the new Panerai models held on to its unique look with its bold indices at 3, 6 and 9 especially. With an iconic and easily distinguishable appearance, Panerai is ever growing in popularity. But, what powers a Panerai?
Prior to 2005, most Panerai models housed ETA movements which were supplemented by calibres from Frederic Piguet, Zenith, Jaquet (now La Joux-Perret) and Soprod. This excellent portfolio of calibres expedited Panerai’s success. Using the wide range of rare calibers, Panerai launched many limited editions of their two primary models - the Radiomir and Luminor. Panerai introduced more than 60 limited edition models before 2008 which testifies to the brand’s inventiveness.
In 2002, Panerai began the developmental process to create calibres of its own. Richemont bought a small factory in 2005 to produce Panerai calibres. Moving into developing its own calibres, Panerai was able to join the ranks of the manufacture brands - a term defined as a firm that has developed and produced at least one of its movements entirely in-house.
Panerai’s first in-house movement was the P.2002 with an eight day power reserve as indicated on the dial. it also featured a GMT function.
Following this, Panerai released the calibre P.2003 which holds a 10 day power reserve and is a self-winding version of the P.2002. Then, Panerai released the calibre P.2004, which is a hand-wound chronograph with eight days of autonomous running and chronograph functionality. The hand-wound calibre P.2005 appeared in 2007.
In 2008, the new P.2006 was introduced, which is a more sophisticated version of the P.2004. It is a hand-wound, split-seconds chronograph movement which has the push-piece at the 8 o’clock to regulate the start/stop/reset functions, but it also has a push-piece at the 10 o’clock to start the split-second function. The P.9000 was also introduced in 2008 with a 72-hour power reserve and was used in a series of Luminor 1950 and Radiomir models.
In 2013, Panerai released three new in-house movements. The first Panerai automatic movement with chronograph flyback function was the P.9100. Following this, the P.9100/R was a sophisticated calibre with a regatta countdown. Also, Panerai released the hand-wound P.5000 which featured an eight day power reserve.
Panerai introduced the P.4000 calibre in 2014. This in-house automatic movement is distinguished by its off-centered oscillating weight; a perfect synthesis of design and highly sophisticated watchmaking technology.
In 2015, the P.1000 joined the ranks. With a thickness of only 3.85mm, this movement revealed Panerai’s extraordinary expertise in developing a masterpiece both technically and aesthetically. And then, in 2016, Panerai released the P1000/10 and P.4000/10 in-house movements, the thinnest automatic calibres developed by the Panerai Manufacture.
Working with multiple calibres prior to its own manufacturer, Panerai released many limited editions. But, since becoming a manufacture, releasing limited edition models is not something that has been left behind as these special series gained a lot of attraction and attention. Panerai continues to release special editions as we explored with the PAM01662 here and the PAM1663 here. Panerai has announced to release quite a few limited editions this year, and we look forward to seeing what else is to come.