Monday, February 21, 2011

Panerai Watches: A Brief Stroll Down History Lane

When it comes to luxury watches, we know all about the Rolexes and the Patek Philippes but not many people know about one Italian brand that has been making top quality and exclusive timepieces since 1860. The name is Panerai and their story begins more than a century ago in Florence, Italy with a man named Giovanni Panerai. The original Panerai office in Ponte alle Grazie was the first watch making shop in the city. In 1900, under his grandson’s leadership, the company became the official supplier to the Royal Italian Navy, supplying not only watches but other precision instruments as well. At about the same time, the company also moved to Piazza San Giovanni where the flagship store stands today. The Panerai Radiomir and Panerai Luminor were designed to meet the rigorous requirements of the Italian underwater elite team. Panerai timepieces are recognizable by their understated elegance—black, large and with luminous Arabic numerals and sticks. The luminescence is achieved through a mix of zinc sulphide and radium bromide which was given the name radiomir, from which the watch takes its name. In 1949, the company was granted a patent for luminor, which is the substance that eventually replaced radiomir, which is also the origin of the name of the other marquee Panerai watch.

The Panerai Radiomir was inadvertently put in the spotlight at the height of the Second World War as Italian divers carried out bold operations whilst wearing the timepiece. Until the end of 1980, Panerai watches were reserved for military clients. It began opening its doors to the public in the early nineties but it was not until an acquisition by a company that also manages other luxury brands did Panerai gain wide, international attention. The classic Radiomir and Luminor in manual forms were re-launched, together with a collection of new, automatic Panerai watches inspired by the classics. In 2005, Panerai teamed up with Ferrari to create Panerai watches with the Ferrari trademark. The collaboration resulted in two product lines: the Granturismo and the Scuderia. Today, Panerai continues to be lined up with other luxurious watches as one of the worlds’ most coveted and respected brands.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Panerai Luxury Watches for First Time Buyers

Previously, we gave you the first part of how to spot fake Panerai luxury watches. While there are distinct differences between authentic and replica Panerai watches, it helps to know what to look for when purchasing Panerai timepieces. If this is your first time purchasing a Panerai watch, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Visit authorized Panerai retailers and distributors. Panerai has many authorized retailers worldwide and it shouldn’t be a problem locating one near you. Check out Panerai’s official website to locate the nearest distributor. Ask trusted friends who have already purchased Panerai watches where to find good sellers.

2. Stay away from auctions and private dealers. The best source to purchase your first Panerai watch is through authorized sellers. While there are a few who sell authentic Panerai timepieces, it’s always best to begin with trusted distributors.

3. Touch and feel an original Panerai watch. Handling an original Panerai watch will teach you details about the watch. Pay special attention to the smallest details. Use a magnifying glass if you have to. Authentic Panerai timepieces have legible and luminescent numbers and markers, making it one of the distinct features of an authentic Panerai watch.

4. As Panerai watches are often manufactured in a limited number, you’ll find that there are models that have serial numbers engraved on them. Research the brand’s official website for model numbers. Watches should have serial numbers on the watch bracelet. Look for them when you go shopping for your first Panerai watch.

5. As mentioned, the smallest details should be examined. Replica Panerai watches often have shorter hands and sometimes feature a different design. The bezel of most Panerai watches feature a uni-directional rotating bezel so study the feel of how bezels from Panerai rotate to know the difference from the fakes to the real ones. Gaps should not be present in Panerai bracelets and the edges should be smooth while the links should be solid enough.

6. Wear it before purchasing. The feel of an authentic Panerai watch is incomparable. It should be light-weight and comfortable because of the high quality materials used in manufacturing the watch.

So now you are about ready to invest in your first Panerai watch. Chong Hing Jewelers, an esteemed luxury goods distributor, carries the Manifattura line of Panerai luxury watches which feature six to ten day power reserves.