Italian watch brand Officine Panerai became widely known as watch for Italian underwater saboteurs «X Flotilla MAS».
The company was founded in 1860. Giovanni Panerai (1825-1897), founder of the family business, opens the first watchmaker's shop in Florence on the Ponte alle Grazie. Where, now, is a shop, and a museum of company.
Since 1890 Panerai specializes in high precision mechanisms and became official supplier to the Royal Italian Navy. Since then, over the decades, the brand Panerai has been a symbol of high-precision mechanisms that are needed for sailors.
In 1936, the company, renamed the Officine Panerai, presented Radiomir - a prototype of watches for the divers, created exclusively for secret torpedo group. Watches have a high water resistance and durability. In the watch they used special construction of the crown, which provides sealing at depth. Also Panerai used a manual winding mechanism, produced by Rolex.
Dial was chosen to be black, illuminated markers and hands. The final version of the dial had a multilayered structure. The main plate was completely covered with radium, and the top is a layer of black metal with cut in it hour markers and numerals. The glow was so bright that often had to be covered the face in precaution. On dials the first Panerai watches virtually were no inscriptions, except digits. This was done in order to make the determination of the nationality of their owner impossible during covert operations.
After many hard tests for durability and reliability, in March 1936, Radiomir was included in the list of required equipment of the Division of special weapons. Now, they are collector's watches.
1949. The patent on the composition of the "Luminor", on the basis of tritium, which replaced the previous one, developed between 1910 and 1915 of the "Radiomir". Watches Radiomir and Luminor, take their names from these two fluorescent substances.
1997. Officine Panerai brand was bought by Vendome Luxury Group, (now RICHEMONT) - one of the best known names in international watchmaking.
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The company Guido Panerai & Figlio («Guido Panerai and Sons"), founded in 1860 in Florence, initially engaged in the manufacture of optics and various measuring instruments, including chronometers. First Panerai supplied his watch to Italian railways, and then only after was able to become an official supplier of the Royal Navy of Italy.