Italian watchmaker Panerai combines homegrown aesthetics with the principles of Swiss watchmaking. The brand made itself known for its selection of cushion-shaped cases as well as large crown guards. Well-known within the industry, Officine Panerai’s in-house calibers possess great complexity in design and functionality.
Officine Panerai, better known to many as simplyPanerai, is an Italian luxury watch brand. The brand started out by supplying watches for big names in the watch industry. Moreover, Panerai also supplied watches for the Royal Italian Navy; thus, the secrecy revolving its products. Finally, more than 130 years later — in 1993 — it transitioned into producing its own timepieces.
We know Panerai today as one of the most established brands in the industry. Despite its Italian roots, Panerai champions Swiss watchmaking in its creations. However, we know Panerai better for its iconic cushion-shaped cases sized at 47mm or beyond. The timepieces that the brand produces lean more on the masculine market, such as thePanerai Submersible, making Panerai watches for men a staple in most collections. With its history of providing watches for the Royal Italian Navy, it only makes sense that it also produces extremely legible watches with generous lume on hands and indexes.
Panerai’s collections have various key features as well as inspirations they take from. For instance, thePanerai Radiomir andPanerai Luminor — the brand’s most popular models — take from Panerai’s historical models. Watches from this collection carry the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s aesthetics. Meanwhile, the Submersible collection has more modern designs with a touch of retro on the details. This collection is more popular among younger consumers.
How much is a Panerai Watch?
Depending on the model, a Panerai watch can be an affordable luxury or downright expensive. Understandably so, as this mid-range brand produces some of the best watches you can find in the market. They’re reliable, durable, and robust enough to even take to the battlefield. Some of its watches can also have more complications, such as thePanerai Radiomir 1940 models, which in turn add a few grand to the base price of the model. Here are 15 of the best Panerai watches you should look out for.
Panerai Luminor L'Astronomo Tourbillon Moon Phase Equation of Time GMT
Tourbillon Moon Phase GMT Equation of Time 4-Day Power Reserve
Panerai Lo Scienziato – Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT
Power Reserve Indicator 6-Day Power Reserve
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Bronzo
Bronze Case Rotating Bezel Small Seconds Date Window 3-Day Power Reserve
Panerai Submersible GoldtechTM OroCarbo
Goldtech Case OroCarbo Bezel Small Seconds
300 M Water Resistance 3-Day Power Reserve
Panerai Luminor Due
Small Seconds 3-Day Power Reserve
Goldtech Case Small Seconds Date Window 3-Day Power Reserve
Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Automatic Oro Rosso
Rose Gold Case Small Seconds 3-Day Power Reserve
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech 3 Days Automatic
Carbon Case Rotating Bezel Small Seconds Date Window 3-Day Power Reserve
Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Titanio
Flyback Chronograph Regatta Countdown 3-Day Power Reserve
Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Acciaio
3-Day Power Reserve
Panerai Luminor Submersible Automatic
Automatic Small Seconds Date Rotatable Bezel
Panerai Luminor Marina Logo Acciaio
Small Seconds 56-Hour Power Reserve
Panerai Radiomir Black Seal Logo Acciaio
Small Seconds 56-Hour Power Reserve
Panerai Radiomir Base Logo
3-Day Power Reserve
Prices for the Panerai Radiomir: Ode to Early Military Watches
ThePanerai Radiomir is the quintessential Panerai watch for more reasons than one. Firstly, the model is the first-ever watch design the brand ever produced. The Radiomir takes inspiration from the 1936 prototype watch supplied by Panerai to the Italian Navy back. It also possesses the look that many people associate with the brand — the cushion case. Launched in 1997, the Radiomir has been the brand’s bestseller since.
As mentioned, the Radiomir carried the aesthetic Panerai is known for today. When it was launched, it already had a cushion-shaped case and a well-balanced dial. It also had two hands and very luminous indexes. The markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock are also in Arabic numerals for easier reading.
Radiomir watches usually come in stainless steel cases. However, Panerai produced rose gold cases for the watch as well, particularly for the Radiomir 1940 3 Days Oro Rosso. This model has a California dial — a design that features half Roman numerals (from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock) and half Arabic numerals (from 4 o'clock to 8 o'clock). Indexes for 3 and 9 o’clock come in dashes.
Cases for the Radiomir range from 42 mm to 49 mm in diameter, so you have a lot of size options. Moreover, modern-day Panerai Radiomir watches also come with various complications you can choose from. For instance, you can get a small second, a GMT function, and even a power reserve indicator.
How much is a Panerai Radiomir watch? Radiomir watches are some of the cheapest Panerai watches you can find. Therefore, you can expect iterations like the Panerai Radiomir Base Logo and Panerai Radiomir Black Seal Logo to cost around $3,400 USD to $4,000 USD. Complications such as a second time zone can rack up the value of the watch from $9,000 USD to $13,000 USD. Moreover, if your watch comes with precious metal for a case such as a gold case, it hikes the cost of the watch up to $14,000 USD to $18,000 USD.
One of the most expensive Radiomir iterations is the 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon GMT. The watch comes in a 49mm rose gold case and displays two time zones at once. It’s not easy to acquire this timepiece since it’s made to order. Moreover, it comes with a chime that lets you hear the time from either of the displayed time zones by simply pushing a button at 8 o’clock. This model comes with sapphire crystal on either side. The exhibition caseback gives you a great view of the skeletonized Panerai in-house caliber P.2500/MR. The watch usually costs more or less $400,000 USD. However, you must expect to spend more depending on the customization applied to the watch.
Prices for the Panerai Radiomir 1940: Radiomir’s Younger Sibling
ThePanerai Radiomir 1940 is Radiomir’s younger sibling launched in 2012. You can differentiate it through the thicker lugs as well as its conical crown. Everything else, however, is basically the original Radiomir in the flesh. The most popular Radiomir 1940 watches come in gold cases with a 10-day power reserve.
Unlike the Radiomir, the Panerai Radiomir 1940 may come not only in stainless steel or gold but also in titanium and ceramic. Among the complications you can avail include a GMT function. Moreover, the lugs of the Radiomir 1940 crafts from the same block of metal as the case. This gives 1940 a distinct look from its predecessor.
With sizes that range from 42mm to 49mm cases, it’s not hard to find a watch that would suit you. Many collectors prefer the Panerai Radiomir 1940 Ref. PAM00399 and Ref. PAM00398 limited-edition models that only have 100 pieces each. Another notable reference is the 1940 Ref. PAM00657 with a GMT function as well as a 3-day power reserve.
Generally, the price of the Panerai Radiomir 1940 doesn’t differ much from the Radiomir series. The most basic 1940 you can is the Ref. PAM00514. It features a 47mm stainless steel case with a water resistance of 10 bar (100 meters or 328 feet). The caliber P.3000 that powers the watch comes only with a central hour and minute hands plus a small seconds at 9 o’clock. It also includes a date window at 3 o’clock. At 3 Hz or 21,600 beats per hour, it’s a high-frequency watch that boasts its accuracy. It comes with 21 jewels and the watch has a sapphire glass caseback to view all this. Its price comes up at around $6,300 USD, brand new. A pre-owned Ref. PAM00514 comes more affordable at $5,200 USD or less.
Meanwhile, one of the most expensive Panerai Radiomir 1940 is the aforementioned Ref. PAM00399. Because it only has 100 editions in total, it costs around $22,500 for a brand new piece. However, pre-owned versions can save you around $4,500 USD. Its more expensive counterpart is the Ref. PAM00398 with an 18K rose gold case. It costs around 41,0000 brand new. You can expect its price to appreciate over time due to the rose gold case and its rarity.
Prices for the Panerai Luminor: The Most Luminous Watch
Also inspired by the Radiomir, thePanerai Luminor takes its inspiration and improves it in a few areas. By the late 1940s, like most manufacturers, Panerai replaced the Radiomir lume with a tritium-based mixture. They patented it as Luminor. In the 1950s, Panerai introduced a crown lock that keeps the crown in place against the dial. Taking both these improvements, the Luminor was launched.
The Luminor carried the Bettarini Case that most enthusiasts know the brand for. Named after machinist Alessandro Bettarini, the case had a solid caseback. This is different from the Radiomir that had an exhibition caseback for both the Radiomir and the Radiomir 1940. Generally, the idea of both Radiomir and Luminor watches are similar. For instance, both have cushion-shaped cases as well as a very utilitarian dial. However, the Luminor looks more outstanding due to its huge crown-protecting bridge. This protects the crown from any impact it may encounter. It also helps keep the crown stay pressed against the case, improving its overall water resistance.
Just like the Radiomir, the Luminor is also a bestseller from the brand. The most popular iteration comes in a stainless steel case. However, just like the Radiomir 1940, it may also come in gold, titanium, or even ceramic. Its complications also vary from a second time zone and tourbillon to a flyback chronograph and even an equation of time. The Luminor also boasts its accessibility with designs available for lefties. This puts the crown on the left-hand side for easier access.
How much should you spend for a Panerai Luminor watch? The Luminor Base Logo, for instance, costs around $4,200 USD. This is the cheapest Panerai Luminor watch you can get. However, if you want more complications, expect to pay more than that. The Panerai Luminor GMT Power Reserve as well as the Luminor 8 Days GMT can cost between $7,100 USD and $9,700 USD. It’s all worth it, however, since you get 8 days of power reserve.
Meanwhile, the Panerai Luminor Equation of Time 8 Days GMT costs about $17,000 USD. This will get you exactly what you’re paying for — the equation of time, GMT, and 8 days of power reserve. If you’re into Regatta or sports in general, you can get the Luminor Regatta Chrono Flyback for $20,300 USD.
As expected, more complications mean a more expensive price point. For instance, the Luminor L'Astronomo Tourbillon Moon Phase Equation of Time GMT costs around $219,000 USD. By the mouth-full of a name it carries, you probably already know what it features. A tourbillon, moon phase indicator, sunrise and sunset times, equation of time, and of course GMT.
Prices for the Panerai Luminor 1950: A Cross Between Radiomir and Luminor
In 2002, thePanerai Luminor 1950 — the love child of the Radiomir and the Luminor — was born. Firstly, the Luminor 1950 also had the crown-protecting bridge that keeps the crown from anything that could damage it. Leaning more on the “Marina Militare” divers of the 1950s, this watch also comes with an exhibition sapphire caseback.
The Luminor 1950 carries cases with diameters between 42mm and 50mm. The difference between the Luminor 1950 and the Luminor is the inscription “REG. T.M.” engraved on the crown bridge. It stands for “registered trademark.”
So, how much is a Panerai Luminor 1950 watch, you ask? Just like the Panerai Luminor, the Luminor 1950 also has a range of prices to choose from. For one, the Panerai Luminor 1950 Marina 3 Days come with 3 days of power reserve. It comes, as expected, in the Marina Militare case and has the iconic crown bridge. This Panerai watch costs around $6,000 USD at 42mm. It aligns with the cheapest Panerai watches in the catalog.
You can also get a Luminor 1950 with a GMT function. This is the Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Automatic Acciaio. At 47mm, the dial of this watch is better known as a “sandwich” dial. It combines two overlapping discs with the lower disc covered in SuperLuminova. It costs around $7,200 USD.
On the opposite side of the price spectrum is the Panerai Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT. This watch comes in a 47mm titanium case. Powered by the Panerai caliber P.2005/T, it has 6 days of power reserve. The watch comes with a skeletonized design to display the view of the dial and match the tourbillon. With a limited 100 pieces in circulation, it costs about $143,000 USD.
Prices for the Panerai Luminor Due: Elegant Dress Watches
The Luminor can be quite bulky due to the size of its cushion case plus the crown-protecting bridge. Panerai found a way to turn this timepiece into a dress watch with a few changes. Launched in 2016, thePanerai Luminor Due exudes more elegance than the other Luminor watches. It comes with a flatter case with sizes between 38mm and 45mm in diameter. This lets the watch become accessible for those with more delicate wrists.
The Luminor Due watches come in either stainless steel, rose gold, titanium, as well as Goldtech cases. Every model, however, only comes up at 30 meters of water resistance. That reaches only about 98 feet that give the watch ample protection during rains. As expected from Panerai watches, the Luminor Due watches can have up to 10 days of power reserve as well.
But unlike the other Luminor watches, the Luminor Due doesn’t have as wide of a range for a collection. The most basic Panerai Luminor Due model costs about $5,100 USD, which is a good entry-level price for a dress watch. You can also find a Luminor Due in Stainless Steel at $8,300 USD. Meanwhile, if you’re looking into a gold watch, it can cost between $12,000 to $20,500 USD.
The Differences Among the Panerai Luminor, Luminor 1950, and Luminor Due
In 1993, the Panerai Luminor launched as one of the first watches available to the public. By 2012, the follow-up Luminor 1950 was introduced with some changes from the first watch. Then, in 2016, the Luminor Due was launched to cater to the audience looking for a dress watch.
You easily find the differences between the first two. Firstly, the Luminor comes with shorter lugs. Its crystal also looks flat with its case straighter compared to the Luminor 1950. The Luminor 1950 comes with longer lugs and a domed crystal. However, the most distinct feature is its U-shaped case and the “R.E.G. T.M” on the crown guard. The 1950 also comes with a sapphire caseback to provide a view of the movement. You can easily spot the Luminor with its Bettarini case that features a solid case back.
On the other hand, the Luminor Due looks way different particularly because of its slimmer case. It also carries the smallest case for any Panerai watch ever at 38mm. It also carries the least water resistance at 30 meters.
Prices for the Panerai Submersible: A Great Dive Watch
ThePanerai Submersible can easily be categorized with Luminor watches and collections. It comes with the iconic crown guard from the Panerai Luminor, but with some improvements. Luminor watches also come with at most 100 meters of water resistance. The Submersible, as its name suggests, can be taken 300 meters deep with 30 bar or 984 feet of water resistance. Indeed, the Panerai Submersible is the ultimate diver from the brand.
Its dial also appears different with applied dot-and-line indexes. With that, aside from the stainless steel or bronze case, it also works for sportier occasions with titanium, ceramic, and carbon cases. To improve the watch’s sporty features, it also comes with a rotating bezel.
When it comes to prices, the cheapest Panerai Submersible watches cost around $8,200 USD — a stainless steel case with three-hand functions. You can have the same function on different cases, from titanium to ceramic, at $14,000 USD. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a flyback chronograph, you need to spend about $13,000 USD to $28,000 USD, depending on the case material it comes in.
One of the most expensive models is the Panerai Submersible Bronzo with a 47mm bronze case. It develops a patina over time, making it an instant classic. It costs around $23,000 USD for a brand new piece. Another pricey option is the Panerai Submersible Goldtech OroCarbo. It’s a 44 mm Goldtech case watch with a bezel made from Goldtech with Carbotech. It costs around $30,000 USD.
Prices for the Panerai Table Clock: A Panerai Classic
ThePanerai Table Clock has various designs available with very identical constructions. The overall design of the watch refers to a pocket watch. However, it carries a spherical design; thanks to its huge domed crystals.
For the clock’s dial, you can get either a California design dial, a dot-and-dash S.L.C. dial, or even one with Arabic numerals for 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock. On the dial, you can also find the words “Radiomir Panerai” in reference to the Radiomir design. The movement of the clock carries 8 days of power reserve. The Panerai Table Clock costs about $3,000 USD to $5,200 USD.
Prices for the Panerai Special-Edition Watches
Just like other brands, the brand also has a fewPanerai Special Edition watches that many collectors vie for to this day. One of the very first special-edition watches from the brand is the Slytech Special Edition Luminor watch for a Sylvester Stallone film. Launched in 1996, the watch (Ref. PAM 5218-207A) is inspired by a watch worn by Sylvester Stalone in the movie Daylight. With this, the watch earned the name Luminor Daylight. The watch only had 104 pieces available. This Panerai watch cost about $31,495 USD brand new.
Another Special Edition watch is the Panerai Luminor 1950 8 Day Chrono Monopulsante GMT, Ref. PAM00277. The case is made from 18K Rose Gold with 8 days of power reserve. This watch comes with a small seconds hand, power reserve indicator, as well as a GMT function. Its price comes up at about $38,800 USD in retail. However, with it only having 250 pieces, you can expect it to be more expensive today.
Why Should You Buy a Panerai Watch?
There are many reasons why Panerai should be part of your watch collection. Aside from the excellence the company portrays through its designs and calibers, Panerai watches are already iconic in their own rights. Here are a few more reasons why you should own a Panerai watch today.
1. Panerai in-house calibers are desired in and out of the watch industry.
2. You can get up to 10 days or 240 hours of power reserve with its movements.
3. The cushion-shaped cases are distinct details from Panerai watches.
4. In particular, the Luminor features large crown guards.
5. Assured quality and performance due to the brand’s history of developing the watches for the Royal Italian Navy.
History of Officine Panerai
Panerai’s story began in Florence, Italy, in 1860. Giovanni Panerai started a small business creating watches. While the brand’s overall history can’t be fully recovered during a 1966 flood, it’s clear why the brand remains a prominent name to this day. In the early 20th century, the company’s sign carried the words Orologeria Svizzera, which means Swiss watchmaking.
When the company opened, they sold watches from Swiss manufacturers likeJaeger-LeCoultre,Rolex,Ulysse Nardin, andVacheron Constantin. However, taxes can be astronomical when imported. That’s why the brand imported the watches disassembled. Panerai then reassembles the watches for selling. The brand’s clientele includes rich Florentines and even the Italian royal family.
Panerai and the Military
Starting 1910, Panerai has been supplying watches to the Italian military. At the time, Panerai provided pocket chronographs to the troop.
The company also developed glow-in-the-dark devices alongside Lieutenant Carlo Ronconi from 1910 to 1914. Panerai and Lt. Ronconi came up with a radium-based luminous material. Officially, the Radiomir first appeared in 1916. Upon debut, the Radiomir was under French patent.
Panerai continued to develop instruments for the Italian military such as compasses, barometers, underwater lamps, and bathometers. They also developed the crown guard that made the Luminor known in the market. In the late 1940s, Panerai replaced the radioactive Radiomir with the Luminor as a luminous material. It’s made from tritium.
The Panerai Trademarks
Panerai is synonymous with large cushion-shaped watches. Its designs remain consistent throughout the years. The brand also produced iconic features that any watch enthusiast can recognize, including the crown-protecting bridge.
The company also stands out for its masculine designs. With the large cases, Panerai men’s watches are prominent everywhere in the world. With such a design, these watches come with very legible dials. They’re functional and work perfectly for both sporty and dressy needs.
As a part of the Richemont Group since 1997, Panerai had a lot of room for research and innovations. With that, Panerai led on to develop their in-house calibers. Its most impressive calibers carry various complications or a 10-day power reserve. Today, thePanerai Radiomir andPanerai Luminor — despite their roots — now thrive as an everyday watch for professionals in the city.
These were designed to meet military standards and demands; more recently, action stars like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have helped these watches achieve cult status.
Vintage Panerai Watches
Just like most historical brands, Panerai also has its fair share of vintage watches that many collectors look forward to owning. For instance, the Panerai GPF 2/56 Radiomir 8 Giorni Brevettato,also known as the “Egiziano”, is the first serially-produced Panerai watch developed and manufactured in-house in Florence by G. Panerai & Figlio. Prior to this watch, Panerai watches are Rolex Oyster watches with Panerai dials.
Another iconic Vintage watch with only eight pieces known to the market is the Panerai Luminor Marina Militare No. 31. The watch has been on the Marina Militare inventory list since 1988. It’s one of the first Luminor watches known to exist.
Famous People and Panerai Watches
We all already know that Panerai has been known as the timepiece of choice by Sylvester Stallone. He wore Panerai watches in his projects and behind the scenes, such as with the 1995 movie Daylight , 2008’s Rambo IV , and The Expendables from 2013.
Stallone’s friend, actor, and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger also often sports a Panerai watch. People often spot him with a Luminor watch on.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also sports a Panerai watch in his movies, such as 2011’s heist film Fast and Furious Five and 2015’s disaster film San Andreas.
Panerai: Watches to Last Generations
Panerai is a brand that doesn’t rely on grandeur for it to thrive. It has a steady following and it continues to attract many new patrons due to its unique design and features. The company produces watches that would last you generations. They’re robust, reliable, and iconic enough to turn heads along the way.
Italian watch manufacturer Panerai was founded in Florence back in 1860. Not only was Panerai a shop and workshop, but it was also Florence’s first watchmaking school. One of their most popular collections is the Radiomir, they made the prototype in 1936. Even the Royal Italian Navy teamed up with the trustworthy watches. Other popular models include the Luminor and Luminor Due.