French Paneristi don’t have to wait till Christmas for a special treat. Artcurial is organising a “Panerai Only” auction entirely dedicated to the Italian brand on December 8th in its Parisian headquarters on the Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées. A hundred pieces dating from the 1930s to the present day will be going under the auctioneer’s hammer, to the delight of collectors who are sure to compete fiercely for several historical lots or for more recent models produced in limited editions as the brand loves to do, and equally coveted. Among the watches on offer, 15 are from the same private collection.
To underscore the importance of this sale and the enthusiasm generated by the brand among aficionados, the watches to be auctioned in Paris were on show in two prior exhibitions – one in Geneva on November 6th and the other in Milan from November 19th to 23rd.
The sales catalogue comprises three sequences. The vintage watches date from 1930 to 1950, the period when Panerai was official supplier of diving instruments and watches for the Italian navy and did not produce timepieces for the general public. “Pre-Vendôme” models comprise the first Panerai watches intended for the public market, launched in 1993, and those produced until the brand was bought up in 1997 by the Vendôme group (which was itself subsequently absorbed by the Richemont group). And finally, the “Vendôme” period which includes timepieces that have come on the market since 1997 and through to the present day.
The vintage historical models include a 1940 ref. 3646 Radiomir that is exceptionally rare. This cushion-shaped 46 mm steel wristwatch features a black ‘sandwich’ dial with luminescent hour-markers and Arabic numerals, and a mechanical Rolex movement. It is estimated at between 80,000 and 120,000 euros.
A ref. 6152 Marina Militare dating from the same year has the now famous crown guard specially designed at the time to meet the requirements of Italian navy combat frogmen. Valued at between 85,000 and 150,000 euros, it is supplied in its presentation box complete with a Panerai compass. In 1956 the Egyptian navy placed an order for a Panerai diver’s watch, resulting in the Radiomir Egiziano, a giant 60 mm model and the first diver’s watch to boast an 8-day power reserve and a shotblasted rotating bezel. On auction for the first time, ref. GPF 2/56 is estimated at between 100,000 and 150,000 euros.
In the “pre-Vendôme” section, a 44 mm Luminor Marina, produced around 1994 in a 200-piece limited edition and equipped with a hand-wound Unitas movement, will doubtless appeal to collectors – not only because of its rarity but also because it is one of the very first Panerai watches with a PVD case.
In 1993, Sylvester Stallone ordered a watch from Panerai and thereby played a key role in the brand’s spectacular rise to public fame. The Luminor Submersible SlyTech Sylvester Stallone special edition that will be up for auction in Paris dates from about 1996 and was initially announced as a 200-piece limited edition, but only 95 were produced in the end. This collector’s watch bearing the number 090/200 comes with a presentation box, two additional straps, a scale model of the Italian SLC torpedoes and an authentication letter from the Panerai quality control director! The buyer can expect to shell out between 40,000 and 50,000 euros to take this one home.
The most recent timepieces include around 20 Radiomir watches produced between 2009 and 2013, notably two featuring the Californian dial with Arabic and Roman numerals, a handsome Regatta chronograph (PAM00246 n° 1074/300) driven by a self-winding movement with split-second and jumping seconds functions, and a large 52 mm Mare Nostrum (PAM00300 n° M60/99) housing a Minerva column-wheel movement. Finally, the catalogue also includes several Luminor models: Chronograph, Submersible, Marina and Power Reserve.
But the truly original Christmas present for a die-hard Paneristi is the large black wooden box containing a watchmaker’s lathe and tools (139 in all), built at Officine G. Panerai in Florence, and estimated at…. Shh, gifts are priceless!
“Panerai Only” exhibition from Thursday December 4th to Monday December 8th 2014, Artcurial, 7, Rond-Point des Champs Elysées, Paris. Sale at 7 pm on Monday December 8th.