Giovanni Panerai opened up his first watch shop in Florence, Italy in 1860. Giovanni's grandson Guido Panerai expanded the watch shop "Orologeria Svizzera" and took over his wife's family business, a mechanical workshop. In 1915, Guido Panerai invented gun sights that were illuminated by a radium-226/zinc sulfide powder enclosed in small, hermetically sealed vessels. Radiomir, the name for the radium-based luminous mixture is derived from "radio mire", which is Italian for "radium sights". Panerai became an official supplier to the Regia Marina (the Royal Italian Navy), supplying a variety of technical equipment and precision instruments. All early Panerai watches, except for the GPF 2/56 were designed and manufactured by Rolex SA using pocket watch movements made by Swiss manufacturer Cortébert and are extremely rare and collectable today.
A new self-luminous substance, Luminor, supersedes the radium-based paste. Tritium (hydrogen isotope) based, this compound is protected by the patent filed on 11 January 1949 under the "Luminor" trademark. Officine Panerai draws inspiration from the name of its newly patented substance for its other historical model that follows the Radiomir watch - the Luminor. With the Second World War having drawn to a close, the Florentine company continues the technical research begun at the start of the war, culminating in the development of the Luminor, characterized by the crown-protecting bridge, with reinforced wire lugs created from the same block of steel as the case, the cushion-shaped case as in the Radiomir 1940 and the flat, wider bezel. Nowadays the models with this case are known as Luminor.
What's on offer
The watch on offer here, from 1998, is a Luminor Submersible in stainless steel with a water resistance of 300m featuring the 7750 P1 (OP III) calibre Panerai movement which is based on the ETA 7750 base movement then supplied by Omega Swatch Group to Panerai. This model (but updated) is still in production today due to its popularity within the Panerai range but also its timeless look, but for the real collector this earlier reference with the Tritium dial is the one to have! The protected crown is a key defining feature of Panerai watches and due to the brands historical roots, these watches have gained a huge following with vintage examples of Panerai dive watches commanding serious money at the top auction houses and dealers across the world, particularly those with early Rolex movements. The condition of the present watch is excellent with only minor signs of wear and it comes complete with box and papers with an undated card!
Case: Solid stainless steel
Dial: Black Tritium dial, warm creamy hour plots, sub-seconds at 9 and date at 3.
Crystal: Reinforced sapphire crystal.
Bracelet: Brown vintage looking leather band.
Winding: Automatic and Manual wind
Movement type: Mechanical Automatic
Calibre: OP III (ETA 7750 base)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Condition: Excellent condition. The watch has recently been serviced.
Model Reference: PAM00024
Date of issue: c.1998
Supplied with a 12-month Vintage Watch Specialist guarantee
Width without crown: 44mm
Lug width: 24mm
Height (lug to lug): 53mm
Wrist size: Adjustable