About Jake's Panerai World
Years ago, I wrote The Complete History Of Panerai, as the third chapter in my series named, The Complete History Of The Rolex Sumbariner & SEA-DWELLER: Rolex’s Conquest Of The Ocean, which was published on Jake’s Rolex World.
Since originally published, this amazing story has consistently remained very popular, so when I created Jake’s Panerai World, I decided to include a copy here. In the future, as time permits, I plan to continue updating this amazing story.
My name is Jake Ehrlich, and I am the editor and publisher of Jake's Panerai World, as well as Jake's Rolex World and Jake's Patek Philippe World. You can explore and visit all of my blogs by scrolling to the bottom of this page.
I really like Panerai watches, and in particular, I love the original Panerai vintage watches which were made by Rolex. Rolex actually made all vintage Panerai watches, from 1936 through 1956.
The original vintage Panerai watches made by Rolex were the very first Tool Watches, and Diving Watches ever made. In other words, 18 years before the advent of the Rolex Submariner diving watch in 1953, the very first Rolex diving watch ever made, was a Panerai.
I am particularly fascinated with exploring the design nexus between the iconic Rolex Submariner and the original Rolex made Panerai models. It is very subtle, but if dig deep enough you discover a great deal of similarity, hidden in design language.
The original Panerai watches are all worth a fortune today since they are so rare. There are likely less than 1000 vintage Panerai watches in existence. They were originally made exclusively by Rolex for the Italian Royal Navy, and were never available for purchase by the public.
As a designer, I really appreciate the timeless Art Deco design and simplicity of the original Panerai watches.
All the original Panerai watches made by Rolex from the 1930s through the 1950s were 47mm, and at the time they were considered to be enormous. Since then, humans beings have grown considerably in scale, and it is profoundly ironic to consider that our generation and the next are becoming comfortable with the larger size watches. This makes wearing an original 47mm Panerai today, a super cool looking experience. In other words, Panerai watches have transcended time more than any other brand, in a back-to-the future kind of way.
Panerai watches remained dormant from the mid 1950s until they were resurrected in Italy in 1993. In 1996-1997 the Panerai watch brand was purchased by the Vendôme Group, thus making all watches made between 1993 and 1996-1997 "Pre-Vendôme."
The "Pre-Vendôme" watches ranged in size between 42mm and 44mm and primarily featured the classic trademark design "Luminor" case which is distinguished by the half-crescent shaped crown guard. These "Pre-Vendôme" watches were scaled-down versions of the original Rolex made Panerai watches, and paid homage to the earlier Panerai models.
Academy Award winning actor, Sylvester Stallone had typically worn sport Rolex watches, and while shooting a movie named Daylight in Italy in 1995, happened to walk into the Panerai boutique in Florence and discovered the recently resurrected Panerai watch brand. He instantly fell in love with the brand and developed a relationship whereby Panerai made special edition Panerai watches for Stallone to give to his friends, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and these limited edition watches carried the "Slytech" moniker designation. Stallone also wore Panerai watches in the Daylight movie.
All the "Pre-Vendôme" Panerai watches were considered to be very masculine and macho, and they all came with the similar designed "bottle opener" buckle which most of the original Rolex made Panerai watches came with.
After the Vendôme group took over in 1997, they started making all kinds of fascinating new variants based upon the original Rolex cushion case design language, and added all kinds of options like chronographs.
Today Panerai is owned by the Richmont Group which owns and controls The Vendôme Luxury Group. The Richmont Group, known formally as Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A., is a Swiss luxury goods holding company which was founded in 1986-1988 by Johann Rupert, who is a South African businessman.
The Richmont Group owns many luxury goods brands including, A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, James Purdey and Sons, Montblanc, Vacheron Constantin, and Van Cleef & Arpels. The Richmont Group also makes Ralph Lauren watches as part of a joint venture with the Polo Ralph Lauren Company.
Since The Richmont Group acquired Panerai, Panerai watches have grown tremendously in popularity. Since then, Panerai has experimented like crazy, and even made special Ferrari models.
The reason I created Jake's Panerai World is to share all the knowledge and insight I have gained over my years as the world's leading Rolex historian. As a designer, I am absolutely fascinated with the original design language of Panerai watches, and invite you to explore the entire fascinating history of Panerai with me.