A few years ago, I spent some time learning about one of the most interesting watch manufacturers in the world when I was in Las Vegas. Panerai has been making the highest quality watches now for over 150 years and was primarily concerned with making precision timekeeping pieces for the Italian military. In recent years, Panerai has become synonymous with all things that are high quality in the business of watch making with some their products going for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
While Panerai watches are not fetching the kinds of dollar values that the most expensive Rolexes are raking in, the fact that the name remains a little less known makes the product a little more exclusive and that much more interesting for those lucky people who have just about everything. Because of this exclusivity, the name Panerai has attracted several celebrities including Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, and even former President Bill Clinton who have all been seen sporting their Panerais in public. Like any brand name, there are always certain products in the line that are more sought after than others, and this usually corresponds to the price of those particular pieces. With Panerai however, and their PAM00etc serial numbers, the most exclusive and sought after watches are not always the most expensive in the lineup.
This is a collection of the top 5 most exclusive and interesting Panerai watches.
5 Luminor Sealand Jules Verne PAM00216 – Original Retail Price Approx $14,000
The price for the Jules Verne Panerai is likely going to be a lot higher than retail value. The Luminor Sealand Jules Verne tribute was produced in 2005 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death and there were only 100 of the watches made. While, unlike most Panerais, this watch is not the most pleasing to look at beneath the cuff of a sharp suit, it will always be a piece that is highly sought after by collectors.
What is more, the craftsmanship on the Luminor Sealand is true to Panerais standards of excellence. It boasts a brushed stainless steel bezel and case, with the tribute to Jules Verne cap featuring a commemorative engraving over the beautifully crafted face. This piece might not be the one to wear with the James Bond tux, but it is certainly a Panerai worth talking about and will always be hard to find with just 100 having been made.
4 Radiomir Composite 3 Days PAM00504 – Approx $10,000
As always, Panerai have opted for understated simplicity that boasts quality without shouting about it. At about ten grand, this watch is hardly expensive compared to the big names on the market, but the story behind the manufacturing of the watch is enough to make it stand out all by itself. The brown leather strap, brown patented Panerai composite case for the face and the bridge, combined with the brown face makes this watch beautifully sleek and stylish in true Panerai form. What is more, the hand wound mechanism brings back the history of the manufacturing of these watches in the 1930’s.
3 Radiomir Tourbillon GMT Ceramica PAM00350 – Approx $165,000
The ‘Lo Scienzaito’ Radiomir from the Panerai collection really is something special to look at. The skeleton face with three handcrafted dials all set over the brushed steel, black ceramic, and see-through sapphire crystal bezel is enough to take the price out of your mind, even if just for a moment. At 165 grand the Ceramica Skeleton is one of the more expensive watches in the Panerai range as it comes from their special editions collection from 2010 and is one of just 150 units produced. This kind of exclusivity in production with Panerai is what makes the brand fly so well under the radar and remain one of the more sought after accessories for those who know what they are looking for when it comes to quality timepieces.
2 Radiomir 47mm PAM00021 – Price Unknown
This Panerai would make just about anyone’s 21st birthday perfect if they were able to get their hands on it. There were just 60 of the PAM21’s made way back in 1997 and Panerai made sure that this watch was of the highest possible quality. The bezel and case are both made of platinum with the back remaining clear to see the craftsmanship of the mechanism inside the watch. The Radiomir 47mm was the first re-edition of the original 1938 Radiomir Panerai. The simplicity in the face, the strap, and the case is enough to tell you how great Panerai are without the need for extravagance. This hand wound mechanism mounted behind the tobacco watch face is enough to attract the attention of anyone interested in a high quality watch. With just 60 in production, this kind of Panerai is one of the reasons why Panerai watches are so commonly made by knock-off companies for several hundred dollars instead of the price tag which would likely fetch more than 100 thousand dollars. With the real thing standing next to the replica however, it would likely be easy to see the difference in the craftsmanship and materials.
1 Luminor Base Logo PAM00000 – Approx $5000
The serial number for this watch alone is enough to make it the most exclusive timepiece in the Panerai collection. The Luminor series of watches was first introduced in the 1950s after the Second World War had come to a close and the Radiomir watch series was brought to an end by Panerai. The original style of the Luminor can still be purchased and is named after the year as it is called the Luminor 1950.
The Base Logo is the standard to which the Luminors are measured. The simplicity of the Luminor with the single piece of steel that makes up the bridge and the case of the face makes it incredibly durable. What is more, the polished and brushed steel surrounding the face accented with a sapphire makes this simple watch beautiful to look at without being in-your-face. The black face and black strap denotes the serial number for the Luminor. The exclusivity of the 5 zeros in the serial number combined with the history of the watch makes it incredibly surprising that it only costs around 5 thousand dollars. The PAM00000 tops this list until Panerai choose to make the PAM007 for Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan to duel it out over in the future.