Twenty years ago, Hollywood action hero Sylvester Stallone commissioned a pair of watches from then-obscure watch brand Officine Panerai, and neither the brand, nor the watch world at large, has been the same since. Panerai marks this milestone at SIHH 2016 with a special, limited-edition set of two new watches inspired by the ones made for Sly in 1996.
The Panerai Luminor 8 Days Set contains a pair of Panerai Luminor watches that bear the distinctive DNA of their forebears — released one year before the brand was acquired by the Richemont Group (then known as the Vendôme Group) in 1997 and which quickly became collectors’ items — yet also feature attractive modern twists.
One of the watches, the Panerai Luminor Black Seal Left-Handed 8 Days (below), is the first iteration of that timepiece with the winding crown and patented, lever crown-protection device it on the left side of the case. Panerai, in fact, began making watches for left-handers in the 1940s for eminently practical reasons: this design enabled its wearers — many of whom were Italian navy frogmen, to wear a watch on their right wrist while wearing a compass and depth gauge on their left. The watch’s Luminor Case is 44 mm in diameter and is made of stainless steel coated with DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon),
The other timepiece in the set is the Panerai Luminor Daylight 8 Days (“Daylight” is the name of the movie Stallone was filming when he famously fell in love with Panerai watches), which is outfitted with an original, extremely rare white dial with blue markers and numerals. The watch is a reproduction of the 1996 model, a collector’s Holy Grail watch of which only a very few still exist. It faithfully duplicates that model’s white dial and adds hour markers and hands (including the small seconds hand at 9 o’clock) executed in an intense blue color. For this watch (including its crown protector device, here placed in the more traditional right-side position), Panerai uses a 44-mm-diameter case made of AISI 316L stainless steel with a polished finish. The blue alligator strap echoes the color of the dial elements and the steel tongue buckle is sewn-in, as it was in the original models.
The cases of both watches, in Panerai’s Luminor style, are closed by a solid, screwed caseback, engraved with the words “Officine Panerai Firenze” and the OP logo. Both are also equipped with Panerai’s groundbreaking Caliber P.5000, a hand-wound movement that stores a power reserve of at least eight days in two series-connected spring barrels. This movement, which is entirely made in the Panerai manufacture in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, incorporates many of the “historic” characteristics of the movements used at the time – such as the hand-winding and the long power reserve – but also displays contemporary standards of high-quality watchmaking, notably its highly robust architecture, with large bridges protecting the mechanism and the balance bridge with twin supports.
Both watches in the Panerai Luminor 8 Days Set (Ref. (PAM00786; the watches do not have individual reference numbers and are sold only as a set) are water-resistant to 300 meters. They come in a special box, which also includes a spare strap for each model, a screwdriver for changing straps, a certificate of authenticity, and a reproduction of a historical Panerai book. Limited to 500 pieces, the entire set will retail for $20,500.