Officine Panerai Creating New Style
Giovanni Panerai (1825－1897) was the founder of the Panerai company. In 1860, he set up a watchmaker's shop ‘Officine Panerai’, in Ponte alle Grazie in Florence, Italy. With the help of his grandson : Guido Panerai, the Panerais’ business expanded to design and manufacture precise marine equipment. As such Panerais’ became the supplier for the Royal Italian Navy. In 1900, Officine Panerai moved to San Giovanni in Florence and this has been the main office since then - the “Orologeria Svizzera” on the signboard is still clearly shown. Officine Panerai was also the first authorized dealer of Rolex and Patek Philippe watches in Italy. The first Panerai watch was sold to Royal Italian Navy in 1867.
In 1934, official tests of the quality of different watches were carried out, but the test results did not satisfy the Royal Italian Navy. So, they turned to Officine Panerai, who were so famous for designing and manufacturing the precise marine equipments, and asked them to carry out the project of designing the highly confidential watches for special purposes. The sound experience and extremely professional techniques of manufacturing the special underwater instruments, torches, wrist compasses and wrist depth measuring instruments meant Officine Panerai could manufacture watches that were highly resistant to extremely unfavourable conditions.
Officine Panerai sent the first prototype watch of Panerai Radiomir to the army for tests in 1936. The army was extremely satisfied with the test results. In 1938, the first batch of 47mm-diameter cushion-shaped Panerai watches with numbers on the dial plate but without calibrations was officially supplied to Royal Italian Navy. It was said that the commando divers of Italian navies such as Durand De La Penne also wore this type of watch. The movement and the watch case used for this batch of watches were exclusively provided by Omega Watches in Geneva. The specifications of unique technologies were based on the contracts signed between Officine Panerai and Omega Watches, not letting other factory owners use them but Officine Panerai. The sturdy and durable structures, the extraordinary waterproofness and the high legibility withstanding all severe conditions have made Panerai Radiomir a superior military watch. In the middle of its cushion-shaped watch case, there are linear-ringed lugs welded, screw-in bottom cover and hand-wound movement attached. The size of the movement is 16 lignes, which is slightly bigger than 36mm and is commonly adopted as the diameter for pocket watches. The logo of Rolex can be found on the movement, the bottom cover and the crown, which indicates Radiomir is the masterpiece by Panerai and Rolex. Besides being an expert in marine equipments, Officine Panerai have also demonstrated their wisdom in other aspects such as wisely chose the cutting-edge materials of highly transparent Perspex plexiglass to make the watch cover. The Arabic and Roman numeric calibrations in fluorescent materials on the dial plate perfectly enhance the legibility of Radiomir. Such a special watch matches a water-proof and long strap which can be directly attached to commando divers’ uniforms.
**no guarantee about story is completely accurate and existed difference**