Panerai enthusiasts know that Sylvester Stallone helped make the brand into the powerhouse it is today when he stumbled upon a vintage model in a Rome jewelers 20 years ago. From its founding in Florence in 1860 all the way through 1993 the company only made watches for the military; when Stallone made his find in ’95 they’d only just started producing pieces for the civilian market. In 1997, they were acquired by the Vendome luxury group for an undisclosed (but probably significant) sum.
Vendome wanted the company for the same reason Sly wanted the timepieces: They’re striking and masculine. In fact, the Luminor diving watch, made for the actor in 1996, is one of the most highly prized Panerais extant. Presumably that’s why the brand is releasing a limited-edition boxed set of two military-inspired Luminors designed in homage to the “pre-Vendome” Stallone series. Priced at $20,900, the set consists of a Luminor Black Seal and a Luminor Daylight on brown leather straps with ecru stitching, combined here under the reference PAM000785. The watches, produced in limited editions of 500 units each, are now offered exclusively as part of the Stallone set.
Each set comes in a custom presentation box made of pear wood, which also contains a model torpedo on a teak base and a booklet about the special equipment of the Royal Italian Navy’s special forces, including several Panerai watches and instruments. Both watches have 44mm cases echoing the original ‘90s design, itself a tribute to the original Luminor of 1950. The case of the Luminor Black Seal is covered by DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon), and features a black face, while the Daylight model is finished in stainless steel with a white face. Both have the hand-wound P.5000 calibre movement designed and made in the Panerai manufacture at Neuchâtel, Switzerland – a definite upgrade from the Stallone era, when the brand sourced its movements from third parties.
We’ll let you break that news to him….