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10 Best Panerai Watches To Buy & Invest In

The Italian Job.

10 Best Panerai Watches To Buy & Invest In


Panerai makes some of the most recognisable watches on the market today. Not one to cram its dials with over-complicated design flourishes, the Italian watchmaker prefers to take a more minimalist approach to design – instead, relying on its impressive nautical history and a signature design language that’s immediately recognisable.

Panerai was founded in Florence, Italy in 1860 by then-35-year-old Giovanni Panerai. The original shop was located at the iconic Ponte Alle Grazie bridge, but when his grandson Guido took over the business just 30 years later, it was relocated to Piazza San Giovanni, one of the main public squares in the city.

It was Guido who was responsible for developing Panerai’s famous Radiomir luminous material (and subsequent nomenclature) in 1915 and shortly after, Panerai was commissioned to make diver’s watches for the Italian navy. These watches were made in collaboration with Rolex and were huge, coming in at 47mm – a uniquely large watch diameter Panerai still offers today.

These days, Panerai produces a majority of its movements in-house and is well-known for its material innovations, such as its proprietary Carbotech and Fibratech compounds. Their Radiomir and Luminor luminescent compounds have since been phased out in favour of Super-LumiNova in recent years, due to their radioactive properties.

Panerai watches have secured a special place in the world of horology due to their hefty construction, use of innovative materials and their general aesthetic. They’re a true icon. We’ve rounded up some of the best Panerai watches currently available, although making such a shortlist was no easy task…

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Panerai Luminor Marina Quaranta

Reference Number: PAM01270
Case Material: AISI 316L Polished Steel
Size: 40mm
Price: $11,800 AUD

The Luminor Marina Quaranta is arguably the best starting point for anyone trying to get into the brand. Panerai is known for its large case sizes, but this new model is a rather manageable 40mm: the smallest Luminor Marina in production, in fact. The sizing might be non-traditional but otherwise, it’s pure, traditional Panerai: a ‘sandwich dial’ (where the watch’s lume is recessed under the dial, creating a sandwiched appearance); small seconds and a date window at 9 and 3 o’clock respectively, plus that famous Panerai crown guard.

Panerai Luminor Chrono

Reference Number: PAM01110
Case Material: AISI 316L Polished Steel
Size: 44mm
Price: $16,500 AUD

Watch brands love to make chronograph versions of their popular dive watches, but often it can completely ruin the model’s aesthetic (and even functionality). That’s not the case here with the Luminor Chrono thanks to its elegant execution. Somewhat atypically, its chronograph pushers are mounted on the left-hand side of the case – as not to interfere with the Luminor’s classic crown guard. This chrono really is the best of both worlds. Another unique feature? It’s mounted on a hefty integrated steel bracelet, with a cool link motif that reflects the Luminor’s signature case design.

Reference Number: PAM01084
Case Material: AISI 316L Polished Steel
Size: 44mm
Price: $9,300 AUD

Want a more traditional (read: bigger) case size than the Quaranta but don’t want to break the bank? The Luminor Logo represents the entry-level point into the world of Panerai. It’s a pure, focused timepiece: hand-wound, time only, with a small seconds counter a 9 o’clock and the nifty Panerai arrow logo at 6 o’clock. You don’t get the ‘sandwich dial’ design common on more expensive models and as a result, the luminous material is painted onto the hands and markers instead – this may be a dealbreaker for some Panerai fanatics. For others, however, a 44m Panerai watch for a smidge under $10,000 is shockingly good value.

Panerai Submersible Goldtech

Reference Number: PAM02164
Case Material: Goldtech
Size: 42mm
Price: $45,500 AUD

Panerai’s Submersible collection used to be a sub-collection within the Luminor family, but in 2019 it broke out into its own, fully-fledged model line. A slightly more modern, utilitarian take on the Panerai formula, the Submersible is one tough cookie… But this one is both tough and luxurious. Panerai’s Goldtech is a unique alloy of gold, copper, and platinum that boasts a lustrous bronze-like red hue while being resistant to any oxidisation and corrosion when exposed to sweat or seawater – perfectly suited for aquatic adventures.

Panerai Radiomir Tre Giorni

Reference Number: PAM01350
Case Material: AISI 316L Polished Steel
Size: 45mm
Price: $10,800

For yet another take on the Panerai formula, why not try a Radiomir. Named after Panerai’s groundbreaking pre-WWII lume technology and featuring a case design that pays homage to the very first Panerais produced for European militaries, the Radiomir is a very retro watch perfect for stylish gents. ‘Tre Giorni’ is Italian for ‘three days’ and refers to this model’s hand-wound movement’s three-day (72-hour) power reserve.

Panerai Luminor Due

Reference Number: PAM01042
Case Material: Polished Goldtech
Size: 42mm
Price: $30,900 AUD

Panerais are bold and brassy, and there’s no such thing as a ‘small’ Panerai – but the Luminor Due comes close. Yes, it might still be 42mm wide, but it’s only 4.2mm thin – tiny by Panerai’s normal standards. It’s the closet Panerai gets to a dress watch. While you can get it with a black dial, we’ve chosen to highlight the white-dial model as we feel it better complements the Goldtech case material. It’s got an air of sprezzatura that’s really quite compelling.

Panerai Luminor Chrono Goldtech Blu Notte

Reference Number: PAM01111
Case Material: Polished Goldtech
Size: 44mm
Price: $44,800 AUD

Speaking of Goldtech… Like the Luminor Chrono above but think it needs a little more pizazz? The Panerai Luminor Chrono Goldtech Blu Notte is the timepiece for you. Blu Notte is Italian for ‘night blue’ and true to form, this watch has a mesmerising, sun-brushed, deep blue dial. It’s quite royal, really. Instead of an integrated steel bracelet, this bad boy comes on a Blu Notte alligator strap for added luxury. This is one classy chrono.

Panerai Luminor Marina eSteel Verde Smeraldo

Reference Number: PAM01356
Case Material: Polished eSteel
Size: 44mm
Price: $14,400 AUD

At first glance, this Luminor Marina eSteel appears to be a normal Luminor… But appearances can be deceiving. 58.4% (or 89g) of its total weight is constructed from recycled-based materials. The Luminor Marina eSteel’s case and dial, as the name implies, is made from Panerai’s new eSteel, a stainless steel alloy that incorporates recycled materials. On top of that, the watches’ straps are made from recycled PET plastic, a common contributor to ocean pollution. It looks good while being good for the planet, while not compromising on performance, either.

Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro eSteel Grigio Roccia

Reference Number: PAM01288
Case Material: Polished eSteel
Size: 44mm
Price: $17,600 AUD

Here’s another eco-friendly eSteel Panerai – this time, it’s a Submersible. This model features an attractive grey colour scheme and a cool dégradé dial that gets darker towards the bottom, a reference to how light gets more scarce the deeper you dive, as well as a high-gloss polished ceramic bezel – a first for Panerai. It’s also part of the new Submersible QuarantaQuattro range, which as the name implies, features a ‘Goldilocks’ case size of 44mm.

Panerai Luminor Marina Carbotech

Reference Number: PAM01661
Case Material: Carbotech
Size: 44mm
Price: $22,600 AUD

Another model here that utilises a proprietary material – this time, Carbotech. Formed by binding together several thin layers of carbon fibre, the resultant product is stronger and lighter than both ceramic and titanium. It also, combined with the blue accents, gives this Luminor Marina a stealthy appearance few watches can match. The P.9010 calibre allows for independent hour-hand adjustment – leaving the minute hand stationary – along with a small seconds counter and date window.

Panerai Luminor Chrono Flyback Ceramica

Reference Number: PAM01298
Case Material: Black Ceramic
Size: 44mm
Price: $23,200 AUD

Ceramic might seem like a strange material to make a watch out of, but it actually makes a lot of sense: it’s light, tough, scratch-resistant and highly biocompatible. It also looks sick, which is exactly how we’d describe the Luminor Chrono Flyback Ceramica. It’s not just a pretty face, either. As the name implies, it’s a flyback chronograph, meaning you don’t have to stop the chronograph function to reset it – it’s capable of timing two things at once. Interestingly, the dial features calibrations for nautical miles, in line with Panerai’s nautical focus. On that note, it also features 100m of water resistance.

Panerai Radiomir 8 Days

Reference Number: PAM00992
Case Material: Patina Steel
Size: 45mm
Price: $14,100 AUD

The Radiomir 8 Days really dials the retro up to 11 with its rugged calf leather strap, onion crown and the use of an older typeface on the dial – but it’s actually a rather impressive watch by any modern standards. Its hand-wound P.5000 calibre, as the name implies, has a whopping 8-day power reserve. That’s more than just about any other luxury watch on the market (particularly at this price point) and means that you can go without wearing it all week and still have it keeping perfect time. That’s pretty cool.

Panerai Submersible BMG-Tech

Reference Number: PAM00799
Case Material: AISI 316L Polished Steel
Size: 47mm
Price: $25,300 AUD

Finally, we have the Submersible BMG-Tech. Like the Luminor eSteel above, appearances can be deceiving: this unassuming watch is crafted from BMG, or Bulk Metallic Glass. An exotic next-generation alloy, BMW is both much harder and lighter than steel while also being corrosion-resistant and antimagnetic. Add in 300m of water resistance and lume bright enough to conquer the depths and you get one capable beast of a watch.