Back in 1860, Giovanni Panerai opened his first shop/workshop/watchmaking school in Florence and that’s where it all began. Guido Panerai started catering to the military requirements of the Italian Royal Navy by manufacturing a radium-based powder was developed to make the dials of instruments and sights brighter and hence the Radiomir was born. The Radiomir patent was the first of the many patents filed to celebrate Panerai’s history of innovation.
Given that the link with radioactivity had to be handled with caution, considering the new reality created by the expansion of impressive military and civil atomic technologies, in 1949 he decided that the luminescent substances should be given a new and more neutral name and were thus gradually identified by the name Luminor. After more than a decade, the Luminor was recognised with a new luminescent tritium-based substance (a hydrogen isotope), with very low and harmless emissions. This was the result of many studies and experiments, and Luminor gradually became, by convention of use, the common identifier of the Panerai diving timepiece, characterized by the patented crown-protection bridge.
From the Italian Navy to the Egyptian Navy to the wrist of collectors today, Panerai has come a long way. As of 1997, the Richemont Group (then the Vendôme Group) acquired Officine Panerai Srl, immediately opening a pilot-selective distribution network in Italy, to fine-tune the industrial and commercial strategy and to make use of the synergies present in the Group’s structures. Today Panerai is not just looked upon as a tool watch but one that adorns the wrist of women alike.