On my latest excursion, the salesperson in the first boutique I walked into was pleasant enough, but as soon as I inquired about the movement of a particular timepiece with quite an impressive range of functions, he frowned and said,
"We are not the watchmakers, but you can take this instead," He handed me an exquisite catalog with a detailed description of every movement.
My immediate thought was, "How long would it take him to read his own catalog book?"
I left the Boutique with one of the nicest catalogs I have ever seen, but lacking any renewed excitement about the brand itself.
The next Boutique I walked into was a low to mid range watch boutique with a lovely bubbly salesperson who really was very sweet. The entire place was in bright pinks and purples with fine art depictions emblazoned beyond the showcases. She knew her watches quite well until I asked her if the dial hands were luminescent. She peered at me quizzically not knowing that particular watch term, so I asked her if the hands on the watch glowed in the dark,
"I don't know? I am never in the boutique after dark." she said
" but I will take it into a dark closet and see."
As I said, she was very sweet.
She handed me the catalog and as I left the store, I breezed through it with casual disinterest
|Luminor Marina 1950 3 days -2012|
It was the Officine Panerai Boutique and the Swiss Salesperson not only knew each and every model, he knew the history of the company from origination with intriguing stories to match. He knew the introductory date of each collection ; the models, the reason for production of the specific model with historical facts to match. He gave me a detailed "Equation of Time" explanation in response to my query about Panerai's most complicated watch. He knew the detailed history of luminescence, the story of the fate of the Radium girls. He taught me some intriguing history about watches and the military. He even pointed out which Panerai watches are highly collectible in today's market. He was passionate about the Panerai watches and he was transferring the passion to me.
With all the brands out there, will I take more notice of Panerai? Absolutely.
The funny thing was, I was only in the store for about 15 minutes or less, but the information I received was plentiful.
Some intriguing facts I learned about Officine Panerai which all need a separate blog each unto itself:
|Panerai Luminor Marina Left handed Limited Edition PVD- 2008|
- The current Panerai factory is housed in an old prison - intriguing.
- Panerai is building a new factory as their in house movement collection is expanding.
- Until 1993, the only Panerai available were those specifically manufactured for the Italian, Egyptian military.
- Panerai never ever manufactured a wristwatch with a quartz movement - and I though Blancpain was the only watch company to boast that feat.
- Panerai has a collection of watches to be worn on the right hand. Created for soldiers who had their left arm already occupied by gauges and such. This watch is quite useful for lefties.
- Panerai and Rolex's history are tightly interwoven.
- Highly collectible Panerai timepieces are those developed specifically for the Egyptian and Italian Navy prior to the time Panerai started selling to the public in 1993.The watch increases in collectivity if the army officers name is engraved on the case back.
- In 1916 Panerai was the first watch company to utilize the luminescence substance Radioactive Radium to coat the dial son the watch Panerai Radiomir.
- In 1949, growing awareness of the dangers of Radium prompted Panerai to switch to Tritium. Tritium is no longer used by Panerai today - but found in many watch brands. Currently Panarai only uses Superluminova as a luminescence.
- 2005 saw the release of Panerai's first in-house movement to the international market - the P.2002, which had an 8 day power reserve - inspired by the 1940's Angelus movement.
- Many of Panerai watches utilize modified ETA movements modified.
- In 1997 Panerai became part of Richmont Group.
- The name Panerai originates from the brands founder Giovanni Panerai and Officine means workshop.
- The most complicated watch is its Officine Panerai, Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon - See video below.
|Vintage Radiomir Panerai with Radium Dial|
Of course individual style weighs in on a person's decision to purchase a luxury timepiece as well as functionality to suit ones needs, but don't be fooled - emotions play a large part!
In this increasingly competitive horological market - Panerai is forging ahead in the right direction.