About Panerai Luminor Watches
The most iconic timepiece in Officine Panerai’s more than 150-year history, the Luminor was first created and introduced by the Italian watchmaker in 1993. Prior to this, the company had only been contracted to supply watches to military forces—diving watches for the Royal Italian Navy in particular. Luminor was the first watch that Panerai offered to the public and it made quite a splash.
These limited-edition watches were inspired by historical watches created during WWII. Immediately appreciated by enthusiasts and collectors alike, the Luminor was revealed in a ceremony on board an Italian Navy Cruiser.
Enjoying a great deal of attention and a dose of popularity, the 1993 Luminor wore a logo bearing the letters "OP” near the bottom of the dial, just above the number six. Made from brass, the black dial revealed etched numbers at three, six, nine and twelve, with bars to represent the remaining hour markers. All of these were treated with special paint to be illuminated in the dark.
A 3.5 mm thick sapphire crystal covered the face, set into a 316L stainless steel case. At 44mm, this was one of the largest watches on the market at the time.
A signature for Officine Panerai is the stainless-steel crown protector that gave the watch water resistant capabilities, up to 1000 feet. The hand-wound movement provided 46 hours of power. Only 677 pieces of this model were manufactured.
The name “Luminor” came from the fact that the watch was painted to make the numbers and hands glow in the dark. These watches were originally painted with a tritium-base, which was later discovered to be radioactive—thankfully it was not dangerous in such small quantities. Starting in 2009, a safer luminescent paint was used.
Luminor and Sly Stallone
By 1996, Sylvester Stallone brought the company into the limelight when he wore the Panerai Luminor for his role in the film “Daylight”. Because of Stallone’s contribution to the watch’s popularity, Panerai later created special editions of the Luminor in association the Italian-American actor. These included the Luminor Submersible (with a black dial) and the Luminor Daylight (with a white dial). The words Slytech Panerai are engraved at 6 o’clock.
Luminor 1950 PAM 127
Inspired by the 1950 Panerai watch, Luminor PAM 127 brought back a vintage vibe and was originally produced in only a limited-edition of 1950 pieces. A larger version at 47mm in diameter, the watch features a stainless-steel case (finished with both polishing and brushing), surrounding a black dial and held with a leather band. This larger case also bears a protective sapphire crystal that is slightly more domed than the standard Luminor.
Luminor 1950 Eight Days PAM 203
Only 150 versions of this model were produced in 2005. Still at 47mm with a vintage manual-wind movement that provided 8 days of power, the watch was almost exactly like the Italian Navy 6152 from the 1950s. The watch sold out immediately.
Luminor 1950 Eight Days PAM 267
This special series in 2008 is often referred to as the “friends and family” series because it consisted of only 6 pieces. Presumably, this series was meant to pacify a few who were overlooked when the PAM 203 was released. The only difference in this one is that “Marina Militare” is noted on the dial at the 12 o’clock mark. Because of the extremely limited run, this version is highly sought after.
Luminor 1950 3 Days Automatic PAM 382
Grabbing on to the jewelry trends in 2017, the Luminor received a makeover when it was downsized and then re-released with a new color—rose gold. While this may not seem like a typical move for men’s watches, Panerai somehow made it work. Unique and refined, the 42 mm black dial adds style and flair to this dress watch that can also be used for diving.
Released in 2018, this version moved further in the direction of sleeker, thinner and fancier dress watches. Still water resistant to 30 meters, these comfortable and attractive watches were released in 38mm (the smallest ever Luminor) as well as 42mm and 44mm.