Sunday, August 12, 2012

Panerai Terms & Phrases

Panerai Dictionary Terms & Phrases
A Detailed Guide For All Things Panerai

Panerai is an amazing company, with an amazing history. In my opinion, understanding Panerai for beginners can be very confusing. This is because Panerai history and models can often be highly esoteric, if not arcane. 

One of my primary goals with Jake's Panerai World is to break-down all things Panerai, to make it really easy to understand, and thus appreciate.

I put together this dictionary list of terms and phrases to make it easy to understand all terms and phrases related to Panerai. I am also going out of my way to add as many hyperlinks as possible, to make it easy to understand the various complexities. 

Whenever possible, I will include the etymology, of words, terms and phrases to give broader context. As I have said so many time before, Context gives Content meaning, and that is what Jake's Panerai World is all about!

Please keep in mind this is a work in progress, and if you have any items you would like to see added to this list, or any corrections that need to be made, please send me an email to

Panerai Definitions
In Alphabetical Order

1940 Case: Modern Panerai watch cases that are modeled after the original Rolex made Reference 6152, which have the standard 8mm Rolex Brevet winding crown. 

1950 Case: Modern Panerai watch cases that have the half-crescent crown guard, originally known as a Tight Seal Device. This case design was originally introduced in the PAM00233, which was known as a Luminor 1950 8-Day GMT.

Base Panerai: "Base" is a descriptive nickname for any Panerai watch which only has a really "basic" dial with the classic 3, 6, 9, 12 hour markers, and only an hour and minute hand.  For instance, a Panerai PAM00372 is considered to be a Base Panerai modelbecause it has a super-simple timekeeping interface, which lacks any kind of complications, including no seconds hand or date complication. Many Panerai enthusiasts and collectors really like the overall simplicity of most of the vintage Panerai watches, so contemporary "Base" Panerai models are very appealing.

Crown Guard: Scroll down to "Tight Seal Device" Description is this post.

Destro: Panerai model with the winding crown placed on the left side of the watch, which are designed for people who prefer to wear their watch on their right wrist.

Fiddy: Refers to Panerai Reference PAM00127 which was a Limited Edition of 1950 units made in 2002. This model was the first modern 47MM Panerai to look very similar to a vintage one, and today they are very highly collectable.

Large Egiziano:

Lume: Describes the luminous material on the dial and hands of watches, which glows in the dark.

Luminor: Typically refers to later made vintage Panerai models.

Marina Militare: Typically refers to a Panerai model with the Marina Militare designation on the dial. The Marian Militare is a name for the Italian Royal Navy.

Officine Panerai: The official name of the modern Panerai watch company.

PAM: PAM are the three letters that appear before the five digit reference number in all modern Panerai watches made after 1993. An example would be "PAM00372", although it is very common for people to drop the first two zeros and refer to it as a "PAM 37".

Panerai DNA: Panerai DNA typically referes to the incredibly timeless design language found in vintage Panerai watches made between 1936 and 1957. Panerai enthusiasts will often talk about how much of the magnificent DNA from the vintage Panerai watches have made it into contemporary models.

Panerai GTG: GTG is the popular abbreviation for Get Together. Many Panerai collectors and enthusiasts around the world get together, usually in a restaurant to socialize and talk about and compare Panerai watches. I remember when I first heard about Rolex wearers having Rolex GTGs, I though they were crazy, and it didn't make any sense until I attended one, where I made some great new friends. 

Paneristi: A title typically used to describe a person who has become fanatical in their appreciation of Panerai watches. Some people use the abbreviated version of Paneristi, in its plural version which is "Ristis". There is also a web-based forum known @ which is a superb source of knowledge for all things Panerai.

Patina: Over time many watch dials, hands, and straps change color, and often times develop a unique, beautiful color. For instance, many of the vintage Panerai watches have lume markers that started out white, and are now a beautiful tan brown, which is typically considered to be appealing to collectors.

Pre-Vendome: Also commonly referred to as "Pre-V", refers to Panerai timepieces made during the time period between 1993 and 1996, before Panerai was purchased by the Vendome Group in 1997.

Radiomir: Refers to the first models of vintage Panerai watch made between 1936 and 1949. Radiomir Panerai watches used Radium to power the lumed markers so they would glow in the dark. 

Guido Panerai patented "Radiomir" in 1915, and originally used it to light-up instrument clusters in the darkness. This super innovative process was originally used on ship instruments, including large gun controls, so operators could see the dashboard in complete darkness. The best way to imagine this would be to think of a car dashboard lit-up at night, but instead of having backlighting like a car, the radioactive isotopes lit the user interface. In 1935, Panerai first incorporated this process into their watches, which were a military secret.

Radium was replaced by Tritium in the late 1940s, when Panerai switched from using Radium to Tritium, and thus many dial designations switched from reading "Radiomir Panerai" to "Luminor Panerai." 

Since Radium was so highly radioactive, many of the Radiormir dials have faded significantly over time, thus developing some beautiful patinas. Vintage Lumior dial, typically don't fade very much.

Richmont Group: Richmont Group is the nickname for "Compagnie Financière Richemont SA" which is the Swiss based mega-luxury-group that owns Officine Panerai. In 2007 Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, and Ralph Lauren combined their expertise to create the Ralph Lauren Watch & Jewelry Company in a joint-venture.

Richmont also owns many other famous luxury brands, including: 

–Vacheron Constantin, 
–Baume & Mercier
–Lange & Söhne
–Alfred Dunhill
–Van Cleef & Arpels
–Azzedine Alaia
–Shanghai Tang
–Roger Dubuis
–Peter Millar

The Richmont Group was originally named Vendome, and it was founded by South African Tycoon, Johann Rupert.

Small Egiziano: Refers to Panerai Reference 6154, which was made for the Egyptian Navy in the 1950s. This reference is also referred to as "Egiziano Piccolo." In my opinion, the Small Egiziano Panerai is the most beautiful Panerai ever made.

SIHH. SIHH is an acronym for The Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie , which is an annual trade show that typically takes place in Geneva, Switzerland in January. Richmont, the parent company of Panerai introduces many new models every year at SIHH. 

Tight Seal Device: Refers to the half-crescent trademark Panerai crown guard typically found on the side of watches with the Luminor Panerai dial designation. It is also sometimes referred to as a "Push Crown Lever." This feature was originally patented in 1955 in Europe, and in 1956 in the U.S.A. Giuseppe Panerai designed this in the early 1950s to protect the winding crown so it could not become unscrewed by mistake.

Vendome: Today, Panerai is owned by the Richmont Luxury Group, which used to be named Vendome, when Panerai was acquired in 1996 by Vendome. Typically, Vendome is used in the term "Pre-Vendome", which is described above in this Panerai language guide.

Vintage Panerai: Typically refers to all Panerai watches made from 1936 to 1957, which were made by Rolex for Panerai.