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History
 
All starts, in the October 1935, with the supply from Rolex of a watch ref. 2533 with the 9 carat yellow gold case! In 1936 the first prototype of the Radiomir (ref. 2533, issued in 35 + 20 units), was realized. It was characterized by the cushion case, the wire loops and the Rolex movement cal. 618 on a Cortebert ebauche. Only in 1940 another prototype was realized. It had a twelve sided bezel with the name of the producer engraved on it. In this model we see for the first time the Panerai dial as it is it appreciated and loved today (ref. 3646, issued in 1,280 units). Afterwards other modifications were made: the loops were changed, the wires were abandoned, the case was redisegned into its actual aspect, while during the 1955 the special bridge protecting the crown was introduced (ref. 6152-1, issued in 500 + 80/100 units). It will be patented in 1956 in Bern; thanks to it the waterproof was guaranteed to 200 metres in depth (instead of 100 metres). Another modification concerned the movement. Beside the already mentioned hand wound Rolex movement, also the Angelus hand wound movement cal. 240 was used. It had an 8-days of power reserve and it was recognizable thanks to the small seconds dial at nine o’clock. Finally the last modification concerning the dial, which was due to the radioactivity it emitted, abandoned the radium to use the safer tritium for index and hands (Look at the luminescence in the "glossary" page); just this was the cause of the change of the name from “Radiomir” to “Luminor”.

Radiomir, prototype, ref. 2533, Rolex-Cortebert mov., 1936
Courtesy by V. Wiegmann

Radiomir, black dial with roman and baton index or arabic and roman numerals, ref. 3646, Rolex-Cortebert mov., 1940's
Courtesy by V. Wiegmann
California Dial. Grimoldi Collection

Mare Nostrum Prototype, with Radiomir Panerai black dial and Angelus mov. cal. 215 14 lignes, 1943
Bought by the Panerai's Museum, for about 85,000.00 Euro, at the Christie's auction in Geneva, of the November, 14th 2005
The only one model known, of the two manufactured!

Luminor, black sandwich dial with luminous arabic numerals and baton index, ref. 6152-1, Rolex-Cortebert mov., half of 1950's, L bridge
Grimoldi Collection

Luminor Destro/Left Handed-Marina Militare, black sandwich dial with luminous arabic numerals and baton index, ref. 6152-1, Rolex-Cortebert mov., half of 1950's, L bridge
Grimoldi's Collection, Milan, but bought by the Panerai's Museum, for about 80,000 USD, at the Antiquorum's auction in New York, of the September, 28th 2005
Grimoldi Collection. The only one model known, of the two manufactured!

Radiomir, black sandwich dial with luminous arabic numerals and baton index, ref. 6152-6154, Rolex-Cortebert mov., 1952 and 1954
Courtesy by V. Wiegmann
Egypthian, 1954. Courtesy by V. Wiegmann

Radiomir, black sandwich dial with luminous arabic numerals and baton index with the written -8 giorni brevettato- (8 days patented), GPF 2/56 ref. (Guido Panerai e Figlio/& Son, 1956), Angelus mov., 1956, L bridge, produced in 50 units for the Commandos of the Egypthian Navy
Big Egypthian, 1956. Grimoldi Collection

The triple combination, nicknamed -Trittico-, i. e. Panerai's watch, compass and depth-gauge.
Grimoldi Collection


See also an interesting article, about the differences among the two versions (Luminor and Mare Nostrum models) Replica Firenze and Richemont Panerai, written by Maurits Bollen and published on Paneristi.

In 1993/4 by Officine Panerai of Florence, Replica version, see also the history of the Logo OP, was realized in 1,229 units (+ 20 prototypes) the first serial, followed in 1995 by the 200 units (+ 12 prototypes) of the "Slytech" S. Stallone ed. and in 1996 by the 14 (12 + 2) units of the second serial, the first re-edition of the “Luminor”, with the Unitas-Eta cal. 6497 hand wound movement (21,600 a/h, 16 1/2 lignes, 17 jewels and 41 (now Richemont OP I-II) - 56 (now Richemont OP X-XI) hours power reserve).
(Look at, in the "Certif. + Photos" Section, the certificate No. 00092/ETA and the "Movements" page).
Luminor Marina Militare, ref. 5218/202-a, 1993, mov. Unitas-Eta 6497 cal., manufactured in 140 + 10 units.


Then Officine Panerai of Florence (now Panerai Sistemi-Calzoni Srl) in 1997 passed their brand and watches branch (+ compassess, depth-gauges and torches) to the Vendome-Richemont Group (Cartier), who has realized the second re-edition, that is at present on the market, which their waterproof is now guaranteed until 300 metres even if it is tested until 400 metres in depth, even with the AISI 316L steel case.

More details on the official site, www.panerai.com

(See also the page "Curiosity").


We must remember that during and after the second world war, Officine Panerai (now brand Panerai Sistemi-Calzoni of Bologna-I, member of the L3 Group (Usa)) produced also the compasses, the depth gauges and the torches (also these passed in 1997 to the Vendome-Richemont Group (Cartier)), for the scuba divers and the assault section of the (Royal) Italian Navy, today called -Com. Sub. In.- "Teseo Tesei" , while today continue to produce various technical instruments for the same Navy and also other instruments for civilian use.
(Look at, in the "Certif. + Photos" Section, the certificates No. 000059/, 96/ and 102/M.Eq.)
Finally, in the two world wars the (Royal) Italian Navy used, the "Slow Speed Torpedo", then nicknamed "Maiale"/Pig and the "Radiomir Autobright Path".
(Look at, in the "Certif. + Photos" Section, the certificates No. 000/S.L.C. and /M.A.S.)
In 2001 the Richemont group (the owner of the O. Panerai) has bought in Neuchatel (Switzerland) a building, in Rue de la Balance no. 4, in the past office of the local cantonal police headquarter, then utilized, from September 2002, like exclusive factory (O. Panerai Manufacture) (See the photos at the "Sihh 2003", Events and Meetings Section) of the movements for all the O. Panerai production, while from January 2014 the factory is located in Route de Pierre-à-Bot no. 87, ever in Neuchatel.
In Italy, instead, in Florence, from October 2001, has been reopened the "Bottega d'Arte", the first of the Officine Panerai's shops (boutiques) in the world, already existing in 1900, with at the first floor the Historic Archives of the Officine Panerai, in which, until 2010, was possible to see all of the actual and of the period production like, i. e., watches, compasses, depth gauges and torches. The first of the Boutiques Panerai in the world, the "Bottega d'Arte", with commercial area enlarged from fall 2014, is located in Florence-Italy, in Piazza San Giovanni no. 16/r, Tel. 0039-055/215795 and Fax 0039-055/210868 (Gmt +1), in the rooms of the ex "Orologeria Svizzera", Palazzo Arcivescovile, just in front of the Baptistery.

 

 

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