The Panerai Luminor is a landmark model from Panerai, the Italian-Swiss Manufacturer. It’s a brand that is slightly less known, so if you own a Panerai then it’s likely that you know a bit about watches.
A Panerai Luminor is a great choice if you are looking for a high-quality Swiss watch that scores high on style & quality. The Panerai is also an accessible luxury watch brand, watches start at around $3,500 in the pre-owned market.
History of Panerai Luminor
The Luminor is one of the most successful models created by Panerai. The brand, Panerai started very humbly, as a watchmaker’s shop in Florence in 1860. Giovanni Panerai opened that first shop which was a dealer of luxury watch brands including Rolex, Vacheron, and Patek Philippe.
Panerai has strong links with the army which makes for an interesting history. They supplied the Royal Italian Navy with high precision instruments & also designed a robust, hardy watch resistant to harsh conditions & visible underwater, The Radiomir.
Radium was used to illuminate the watch hands a material that was widely used at the time. We now know this to be a highly dangerous material and it is a consideration to take into account if you decide to buy a pre-owned Radiomir.
The Luminor is an updated model that uses tritium based material which is safe to use. This was introduced in the 1950s. The luminescent material is a distinctive feature of the Paneriai Luminor, as we have mentioned it was used to give visibility to the dial underwater. When diving in deeper waters it is paramount that the diver can still access the time & track oxygen stores.
As you might have guessed, water resistance is another key feature of this group of watches. Most models can withstand depths of 100 meters and some even more than that.
This is a surprising fact for most people who have just been introduced to the model since they don’t look like tool watches. They don’t carry the same weight & robustness of many of the diving watches on the market.
But that’s the strength of these watches & why they are so popular. They are both stylish & highly practical.
The appearance of Panerai Luminor
All of the Panerai watches are very distinctive in design. The first feature is the square dial and distinctive lugs.
The face of a Panerai Luminor is always framed by squared edges which makes the face pop & also provided added protection, this is known as the sandwich or sausage dial (not the best of names we realize!).
Another key feature is the crown bridge casing. Panerai Luminor’s have a bridge that covers the crown providing extra protection and giving the watch a vintage feel. Depending on the model you’ll find a power reserve, second hand, GMT & sometimes a date function on the dial.
Panerai Luminor dials have been designed to be easy to read so large numerals frame the dial. The luminescent material makes the numerals very easy to read above and underwater.
Inside the Panerai Luminor
Up until fairly recently, Panerai has used ETA movements. ETA is a manufacturer of precision swiss watch movements and supplies several brands.
A brand that uses ETA movements can be looked down upon by some collectors and this can reflect negatively on the value of the watch.
However, because of Panerai’s strong historic connection & the unique design & function they bring to the market, they have remained a strong contender. In 2018 they released the Luminor Base Logo & Luminor Marina Logo series with an in house movement.
If you are looking for a watch which is a little bit different from the usual Rolex, Omega or Breitling, Panerai is worth a look. The Luminor, in particular, is well respected and a good conversation starter. Check out the pre-owned Panerai Luminor’s in store.