In the world of watch collectors, you’ve likely heard of Panerai, a Swiss-made timepiece brand with Italian roots reaching back more than a century and a half. While the brand has an ancient legacy, its meteoric climb to prominence as a sought-after collector’s brand with a worldwide cult (a group termed the Paneristi) has only occurred in the last two decades.
From tool watches to watches for the Italian navy, they’ve done it all. A completely owned subsidiary of Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A., Panerai, manufactures a whole line of timepieces that draw inspiration from the brand’s past models to varying degrees. There are still two primary families of Panerai: Luminor and Radiomir, but Panerai has broadened the scope of its offerings to include precious metals, high-end complexities, and cases ranging in size from 38mm to 60mm.
Our Founder Karishma Karer, at The Hour Markers caught up with Jean Marc Pontroué, CEO of Panerai to discuss their new collection, environment-friendly initiatives and more.
THM: The new submerged experience at the Panerai booth at Watches & Wonders 2022 was fantastic. What is the thought behind the new 44mm QuarantaQuattro? It surely bridges a huge gap!
JMP: Thank you! Getting to know everyone in person was a huge plus, as it allowed us to fully flesh out the experience we intended to offer our customers. It is our goal to keep up with the ever-changing demands of our clients by finding and incorporating newer technology and making minor adjustments to our watches.
When designing the new 44mm case, the company kept this in mind so that everyone could get their hands on a Submersible. The all-new Submersible QuarantaQuattro is distinguished by a date window with better visibility, and this debuts a detail that will be used across the Submersible range.
THM: What is your interaction with the various watch communities including the Paneristi community? Do you consider their suggestions and requests on a brand level?
JMP: We value the Paneristi community greatly because of their apparent enthusiasm for the brand and the overall approach we are pursuing. Every time we introduce a new watch or form a new collaboration, we rely on their enthusiastic comments.
It was only a few years ago that the Radiomir Venti Pam02020 was introduced. The Paneristi provided us with a document outlining their ideal watch specifications, including the type of case, size, squares, strap, and buckle they like. Having read their brief, we came up with a watch design that was both in line with their desire and compatible with our brand’s values.
THM: Moving on, what makes the new perpetual calendar so different besides its new smoky dial?
JMP: Our third perpetual calendar complication is the Luminor GoldtechTM Calendario Perpetuo. In addition to presenting one of the most difficult high complexities, this 33-piece limited edition watch will transport customers to Florence, where they can get a first-hand look at Panerai’s rich history.
True mastery of the horological craft is demonstrated by the creation of a clock that can automatically change the day and date of each month, as well as correct for leap years, without the need for manual intervention. The Luminor GoldtechTM Calendario Perpetuo is animated by the P.4100 automated movement. The movement’s crown can be rotated in either way to change the day, date, month, and year without the use of a corrector or other instruments. The day-night indicator and tiny seconds are displayed on the subdial at 9 o’clock, which also serves as a GMT function. Two 22-karat micro-rotor barrels are used to wind and store energy. Timekeeping accuracy and regulation are assured by an array of 4Htz oscillators.
Further, each buyer of the Luminor Goldtech™ will be welcomed onboard Panerai’s signature brand experiences. If you are not familiar with Panerai’s experiences – these accompany certain limited edition watches wherein buyers are invited to join Panerai on an experiential that showcases the brand essence. Similarly, purchasers of the Calendario Perpetuo will be invited to an extraordinary journey to the seat of Panerai heritage, the city of Florence and the surrounding Tuscan countryside. It is also important to note that Panerai values legacy but is also equally focused on the future and innovative technologies. Buyers of the timepiece will receive access to an exclusive NFT created for the occasion.
THM: Talking about NFT’s, what are your thoughts on the NFT world amalgamating with the world of watches?
JMP: A forward-thinking company, Panerai has a deep respect for its history and is always looking to the future. Arianee, the leading end-to-end web3 solution for brands, and we partnered earlier this year to join Web3. This plan was made possible because of Arianee and Panerai’s web3 strategy. Brands are now able to tokenize, disseminate, and utilize their value in the decentralized internet.
The Radiomir Eilean Experience Edition, a 50-piece limited-edition watch, was introduced in March this year. As part of this launch, we’ve designed a set of digital-only NFTs just for you. Check them out below! One of the 50 Panerai Genesis NFTs linked with the Radiomir Eilean watch will be sent to each purchaser in a unique encrypted wallet, letting them to genuinely possess this non-fungible token. An NFT artist created an evolving, one-of-a-kind work of art exclusively for Panerai, which will be included in this collectible. In order to reveal the art work, the digital asset will unlock exclusive features relating to the Panerai Experience Edition timepieces.
THM: That’s lovely! In your opinion how do associations like Luna Rossa and Brabus bring added value to the watches and eventually to your customers?
JMP: There is a strong connection between Panerai and marine high-performance, which is shown in the brand’s long history. With the support of premium mobility brand BRABUS and the Luna Rossa, we are able to go forward in our common goal.
Submersible S BRABUS Blue Shadow, a limited-edition diving watch from Panerai, features the best of both brands in terms of appearance and functionality, reinforced by real Swiss watchmaking history, a characteristic bold design and assured dependability. As an evolution of its predecessor with a distinct personality of its own, it is designed to be worn on the waves and is a movement for adventurers and aficionados. Elegant and sporty are two words that come to mind when describing the Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa. As an ocean racing watch, the 44mm steel case is built to resist the demands of the sport, while the conservative design and neutral colour palette of blue and white may be worn in any setting. Both of these timepieces were created with adventure in mind.
THM: Talking about the Panerai watch movements, how do you deal with the innumerous trolls that come your way?
JMP: We like every other brand, have to deal with criticism and concerns about our methods of operation and our products. In the last few years, we’ve updated and modified some movements to better meet our demands, but we’ve always tested to make sure that this wouldn’t affect our quality before beginning this procedure.
THM: Could you shed some light on your latest partnership with Razer?
JMP: Throughout the years, Panerai has been actively involved in ocean conservation and literacy programmes that encourage the same. Aside from sharing Panerai’s concern for sustainability, Razer has also established its 10-year environmental conservation campaign, called #GoGreenWithRazer, back in 2021. In order to help fund marine species research, we’ve teamed up with the environmental non-profit Conservation International.
An important aspect of the relationship will be to use satellites to tag manta rays in order to collect data about the animals’ location, temperature, and depth. This data may be used in conjunction with other available data to help manage the species’ and their habitat’s conservation. The “Panerai Ocean Conservation Endeavor” project, developed in conjunction with IOC-UNESCO as part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development’s ocean literacy programme, will benefit from this initiative as well.
THM: It’s great to see brands moving towards an environment-friendly approach. Lastly, what is the direction for Panerai in 2022? After the perpetual calendar, do we see another complication in the pipeline?
JMP: To ensure that our timepieces are suited for all wearers, Panerai is always improving the design and quality of our timepieces. As a company, we’re always looking to improve, and this includes paying close attention to the smallest of features in each of our timepieces. With our cooperation with Web3, Panerai is now exploring the entire metaverse sector and is looking to build novel experiences for its clients.
Panerai’s strong brand identification makes it easy to identify the brand’s stance in a highly competitive market. Amongst its peers today, Panerai can most certainly be one to boast of it’s use of high-end materials and a their commitment to ongoing innovation in both R&D and watch designs.