Sylvester Stallone has often used Panerai Watches in his movies. In this picture you can see him wearing a Panerai Luminor Slytech with a Panerai leather strap
In 2011, Rolex announced this new Explorer II model featuring several updates from its predecessor. Ref. 216570 comes with the option of a black dial or white dial. Adding contrast and a bit of flare reminiscent of it’s ancestor from1971, the new Explorer II features an orange GMT hand, very much complementing a new 42mm case, which is substantially larger than the 39mm generation.
New cutting edge technologies were included by Rolex to go along with a chronometer movement which was developed entirely in-house at Rolex. Excellent timekeeping leveled by Paraflex shock absorbers and a non-magnetic Parachrom Hairspring. This new movement sets the GMT hand apart from the standard time keeping, and is read by using the 24 hour bezel, which is non-rotating on its 904L Steel case. Water resistance on the Explorer II 42mm is unchanged at 100 meters.
Looking closely at a Panerai timepiece, we notice an endearing and inherent design which dates back to the 1930s. Unique shapes, oversized glass domes, and distinctly masculine curves have defined the Italian brand for over 80 years. Transcending generations, and commanding devotion from simple fans to the rich and famous alike, it is hard to imagine Giovanni Panerai in his small watch shop in Florence, fabricating and perfecting his craft so long ago on the Ponte alle Grazie. His Grandson, Guido eventually took over the shop and propelled the company onward and upward.
Times were simpler, which gave ample hours of creativity for Guido to experiment with new technologies and innovations. Having already patented a process for luminescent watch marking on equipment for the Italian Navy, which he aptly named “Radiomir“, he was further commissioned by the Italian Royal Navy to produce a series of precision instruments for strategic use underwater. This eventually lead to Panerai producing a military divers’ watch which could be easily read and function reliably in dark aquatic depths. The original material used for such markings was radioactive, but was later changed to a safer material on the next generation Panerai watch known as “Luminor“.
Surprisingly, the first Panerai watches in 1935 were made by Rolex for Panerai – a partnership that would last until 1954. These Panerai watches were developed from Rolex pocket watches (ref. 2533) with a large 47mm case. It was also in partnership with Rolex, that Panerai developed its distinctive crown guard. Early versions of Panerai which contain the Rolex movement and insignia on the crown are highly sought ofter rarities, which are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to collectors.
After the War, Panerai continued to provide diving watches for the Italian Navy, however they were only producing limited numbers, and then fairly exclusively for the military. By the 1990s their association with the Navy was proving to be no longer cost effective, and the company seemed to be standing on shaky ground. In 1997, Richemont, the Swiss luxury goods company, took over Officine Panerai and has since culminated it’s mass appeal in the luxury sector.
For even more interesting information, check out Jake Ehrlich’s fantastic article about Panerai watches on Jakes Rolex World.