PANERAI ONLY - Why Paneristis will become crazy on December 8?

PANERAI ONLY – Why Paneristis will become crazy on December 8?

by Olivier Müller
Auctions, Panerai

On 29 September 2011, the « Jaeger-LeCoultre Unique Auction », Artcurial’s first solo marque watch sale, realized close to 2 million euros and recorded no less than 10 world records. Following this success, Artcurial is delighted to announce its second themed sale, PANERAI ONLY, on the evening of 8 December 2014. Why Paneristis will become crazy this day ? Because we had the opportunity to see, live, some of the pieces that will be proposed for auction. And they will probably reach high scores.

Around one hundred lots from the 1930s through to the present day, catering for all budgets (estimates between 2 000 et 80 000 €), can be found in the catalogue for this prestige sale, dedicated exclusively to Panerai. However, experts think that some pieces could reach up to 150 000 euros minimum, or even 200 000 euros.

A bit of history on Panerai

The house of Panerai was founded in 1860 in Florence, combining shop, workshop and watchmaking school. For many years it supplied precision instruments to the Italian Navy, originally equipping the frogmen commandos during WW2 – yes, on thew rong nazi side of the war.

The projects conceived during this period, such as the Luminor and Radiomir watches, were concealed for years, regulated by military secrecy, until the brand was acquired by the Richemont Group in 1997, and was subsequently launched on the international market. Today, Panerai develops and produces its own movements and watches – combining Italian design and the accuracy of Swiss watchmaking

PANERAI Only – On sale, three periods

The sale, divided into three sections, « Vintage » watches (1930-1950), « pré-Vendôme » (1993-1997), and « Vendôme » (1997 to present day), pays homage to both the history and the contemporaneity of Panerai.

Panerai Only - Panerai Radiomir Egyptienne

Panerai Only – Panerai Radiomir Egyptienne

It took more than a year for our experts to bring together these legendary models that retrace 80 years of watchmaking history. Exceptionally, 15 models from a private collection of a French vendor will be included in the sale. In advance of this evening, Artcurial will show highlight pieces of the PANERAI ONLY auction in three previews, in Geneva, followed by Milan at the start of November, and in Paris from 4 to 7 December.

Asked about the house of Panerai, Marie Sanna-Legrand and Romain Réa, from Artcurial’s Watches department explained : « It was in 1936 that the first Panerai prototype appeared, the Radiomir, for use by the Italian navy on diving missions. Subsequently, Panerai went on to create some of the most unusual diving watches on the market. It is natural, therefore, that almost 80 years after the first Panerai watch appeared, Artcurial should dedicate an exclusive sale to the brand. More than a simple wristwatch, some of these pieces have become incredible works of art. A perfect example is the 1956 Egyptian Radiomir with its 60mm diameter, micro-blasted rotating bezel and crown-protecting bridge : a genuine horological sculpture. »

PANERAI Only – RADIOMIR, EGYPTIAN, circa 1956, from a private collector

Exceptional, rare and large diving wristwatch in steel. Round case, screw back. Crown guard. Rotating steel bezel. Black sandwich dial with luminous index and Arabic numerals. 8-day mechanical movement period Angelus calibre. Period leather strap with steel pin buckle. Dial, case and movement signed. Diameter 59 mm. Fifty examples made.

Estimate: 100 000 – 150 000 € / 120 000 – 170 000 $

This model, the « Egiziano », was supplied to the Egyptian navy in 1956. It is recognised by its large size and exceptional robustness, as well as its special rotating bezel, which, for the first time, could calculate the length of time spent under water. That same year, the patent for the « crown guard» bridge was registered, and this became the distinctive feature of future LUMINOR models and the signature of an exclusive design for Panerai. Over the last 12 years, just 5 of these models have come up for sale at auction.

PANERAI Only – MARINA MILITARE, ref 6152-1, circa 1950

Rare and beautiful steel diving watch. Cushion case, screw back. Crown guard. Black sandwich dial with luminous index and Arabic numerals. Mechanical movement signed Rolex. Leather strap with steel pin buckle. Diam. 47 mm. With a Panerai compass in its case.

Estimate: 80 000 – 150 000 € / 100 000 – 170 000 $

The original case and excellent contition of this vintage model make this an extremely rare Panerai piece. It is a perfect example of the Radiomir’s evolution towards the Luminor, characterised by its bridge with crown guard, and the strap attachments made from the same block of steel, replacing the wire lugs that were welded onto the case. Moreover the bezel had evolved towards a flatter, wider bezel that was stronger. In the last ten years, less than fifteen such pieces reference 6152 have sold at auction.

    Author Bio

    Articles by Olivier Müller


    Olivier Müller is a professional journalist specialising in horology. He divides his time between Geneva and Paris, covering horology-related topics for a dozen or so magazines and specialist websites in Europe. He is also a regular speaker at various events. In 2008, Olivier Müller set up Delos Communications to manage the writing side of his business, spanning five European countries. Delos Communications also provides consultancy services for horological communication, helping brands as they define and implement their strategy in terms of positioning, messages and audience. In addition to the world’s two largest watchmaking groups, Delos Communications’ clients include a broad range of emerging independent brands, as well as public-sector bodies keen to promote their local watchmaking heritage. Five people work for the agency, including a journalist, a photographer, a community manager and a translator, all with expertise in the world of watchmaking.