PANERAI ONLY : the new themed sale of Artcurial

By MyWatch
On 29 September 2011, the « Jaeger-LeCoultre Unique Auction », Artcurial’s first solo marque watch sale, realised close to 2 million euros and recorded no less than 10 world records. Following this success, Artcurial is delighted to announce its second themed sale, PANERAI ONLY, on the evening of 8 December 2014. Panerai was founded in Florence in Italy, where it became the first supplier of instruments and diving watches to the Italian Navy.

Around one hundred lots from the 1930s through to the present day, catering for all budgets (estimates between 2 000 et 80 000 €), can be found in the catalogue for this prestige sale, dedicated exclusively to Panerai. The sale, divided into three sections, « Vintage » watches (1930-1950), « pré-Vendôme » (1993-1997), and « Vendôme » (1997 to present day), pays homage to both the history and the contemporaneity of Panerai.

It took more than a year for our experts to bring together these legendary models that retrace 80 years of watchmaking history. Exceptionally, 15 models from a private collection will be included in the sale. In advance of this unique evening, Artcurial will show highlight pieces of the PANERAI ONLY auction in three previews, in Geneva, followed by Milan at the start of November, and in Paris from 4 to 7 December.

Asked about the house of Panerai, Marie Sanna-Legrand and Romain Réa, from Artcurial’s Watches department explained : « It was in 1936 that the first Panerai prototype appeared, the Radiomir, for use by the Italian navy on divingmissions. Subsequently, Panerai went on to create some of the most unusual diving watches on the market. It is natural, therefore, that almost 80 years after the first Panerai watch appeared, Artcurial should dedicate an exclusive sale to the brand, entitled PANERAI ONLY. »

They added : « An icon of contemporary watchmaking, Panerai’s forms, colours and designs are a perfect represention of the 20th century object. More than a simple wristwatch, some of these pieces have become incredible works of art. A perfect example is the 1956 Egyptian Radiomir with its 60mm diameter, micro-blasted rotating bezel and crown-protecting bridge : a genuine horological sculpture. »


The house of Panerai was founded in 1860 in Florence, combining shop, workshop and watchmaking school. For many years it supplied precision instruments to the Italian Navy, originally equipping the frogmen commandos. The projects conceived during this period, such as the Luminor and Radiomir watches, were concealed for years, regulated by military secrecy, until the brand was acquired by the Richemont Group in 1997, and was subsequently launched on the international market. Today, Panerai develops and produces its own movements and watches – combining Italian design and the accuracy of Swiss watchmaking – in its manufacturing headquarters in Neuchâtel, selling around the world through an exclusive network of authorised dealers, as well as in its worldwide single marque boutiques.

2014 has been marked by a series of important events for Panerai, notably with new international openings, the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, and also a large scale cultural sponsorship programme. It has recently opened its new factory in Neuchâtel in Switzerland, in the heart of the region known for having the oldest tradition in watchmaking in the world, in a much larger building than the one opened in 2002. A veritable laboratory of ideas, the manufacturing centre unites the skills and technical operations required to create Panerai watches. The new concept of Panerai boutiques by Patricia Urquiola has just been unveiled on rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré in Paris. The designer was chosen by the Florentine brand to lead five projects, in Florence, Hong Kong, Miami, New York and Paris. For several years Panerai has kept up its cultural ties with sea-faring activities, sponsoring the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the leading international regatta circuit for classic and vintage yachts, this year celebrating ten years of passion, adventure and love of he sea. Finally, through Panerai’s sponsorship, the clock face painted by Paolo Uccello in 1443 in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, has been restored. In addition to its extraordinary artistic value, this clock has an unique system of measuring time, with a hand that turns backwards through 24 hours starting from sunset.


RADIOMIR, EGYPTIAN, circa 1956, from a private
Exceptional, rare and large diving wristwatch in steel. Round case, screw back. Crown guard. Rotating steel bezel. Black sandwich dial with luminous index and Arabic numerals 8-day mechanical movement period Angelus calibre. Period leather strap with steel pin buckle. Dial, case and movement signed. Diameter 59 mm
Fifty examples made
Estimate : 100 000 – 150 000 € / 120 000 – 170 000 $

This model, the « Egiziano », was supplied to the Egyptian navy in 1956. It is recognised by its large size and exceptional robustness, aswell as its special rotating bezel, which, for the first time, could calculate the length of time spent under water. That same year, the patent for the « crown guard» bridge was registered, and this became the distinctive feature of future LUMINOR models and the signature of an exclusive design for Panerai. Over the last 12 years, just 5 of these models have come up for sale at auction.

PANERAI MARINA MILITARE, ref 6152-1, circa 1950
Rare and beautiful steel diving watch. Cushion case, screw back. Crown guard. Black sandwich dial with luminous index and Arabic numerals. Mechanical movement signed Rolex. Leather strap with steel pin buckle. Diam. 47 mm.
With a Panerai compass in its case
Estimate : 80 000 – 150 000 € / 100 000 – 170 000 $

The original case and excellent contition of this vintage model make this an extremely rare Panerai piece. It is a perfect example of the Radiomir’s evolution towards the Luminor, characterised by its bridge with crown guard, and the strap attachments made from the same block of steel, replacing the wire lugs that were welded onto the case. Moreover the bezel had evolved towards a flatter, wider bezel that was stronger. In the last ten years, less than fifteen such pieces reference 6152 have sold at auction.

RADIOMIR, PAM 00021, LIMITED EDITION, n° 30/60, circa 1997
Extremely rare, stunning platinum wristwatch. Cushion case. Sapphire back, screw down crown. Black sandwich dial with luminous index and Arabic numerals. Mechanical movement calibre Rolex. Crocodile leather strap with pin buckle. With its box and certificate of authenticity. Dial, case and movement signed. Diam. 47 mm.
Limited edition of 60 examples.
Estimate : 80 000 – 150 000 € / 100 000 – 170 000 $

This model from the « Vendôme » period (1997 to present day) was the first Panerai model in platinum with a Rolex movement numbered 30/60. It was a limited edition of 60 examples to commemorate 60 years since the first ordprototypes of 1936.

Rare and large steel chronograph wristwatch. Round case, sapphire back, screw down crown. Black dial with 2 black subsidiary dials, luminous index and Arabic numerals. Column wheel mechanical movement calibre Minerva. Leather strap with steel pin buckle. Dial, case and movement signed. Diam. 52 mm. With its box and original papers.
Series limited to 99 examples.
Estimate : 40 000 – 60 000 € / 50 000 – 70 000 $

In 1943, a project emerged during the war, for a chronograph with two push buttons, known by the name of Mare Nostrum, designed for deck officers in the Navy. Just two or three prototypes would have been made at this time.

Rare and stunning watch in white gold. Cushion case, screw sapphire back. Ice blue dial with luminous index, Arabic numerals and hands. Central second hand. Mechanical movement with independent second. Crocodile leather strap with white gold pin buckle. Dial, case and movement signed. Diam, 42 mm. Weight 1114g. With its box and papers.
Special 2001 edition, series limited to 160 examples.
Estimate : 20 000 – 30 000 € / 25 000 – 35 000 $

The movements with independent seconds, known also as « dead beat » seconds, were the precursors of the chronograph, and even though the technique first appeared at the start of the 18th century, it didn’t appear on dials until the middle of the century. This complex aspect of watchmaking allowed the measurement of short periods of time without the need for a system of re-setting. In 1916, Guido Panerai, invented a revolutionary substance, Radiomir, a Radium-based powder that gave « luminosity to the instruments for firing torpedoes and firearms in general »

LUMINOR 1950 8 DAYS, PAM 203, LIMITED EDITION, circa 2005
Very rare, superb steel diving watch. Cushion case. Sapphire back. Crown guard. Black sandwich dial with luminous index and Arabic numerals. 8-day mechanical movement calibre Angelus from the 1950s. Crocodile leather strap with signed steel pin buckle. Dial, case and movement signed. Diam 47 mm.
Series limited to 150 examples.
Estimate : 50 000 – 80 000 € / 60 000 – 90 000 $

The first re-edition with an 8-day movement calibre Angelus SF240 of 16”’ was intended for carriage clocks in the 1950s. Only Panerai had the idea at this time to integrate it into their diving watches. To this day, just four examples have been resented at auction. In 1949, The Maison invented a new luminous substance based on Tritium. This compound was rotected by a patent, registered on 11 January 1949, under the name « Luminor ».

Rare and beautiful platinum wristwatch. Cushion case. Sapphire back. Screw down crown. Chocolat sandwich dial with uminous index and Arabic numerals, small second hand at 9h. Mechanical movement Jaeger Lecoultre base with power reserve indicator on the back. Leather strap with pin buckle. Dial, case and movement signed. Diam 44 mm. With its box and papers.
Series limited to 50 examples.
Estimate : 25 000 / 45 000 € / 31 000 – 57 000 $

The first calibre 8 days manufactured by Panerai with power reserve indicator visible on the movement.


For the last two years the Watch Department at Artcurial has continued to grow with a sales total for the first half of 2014 hat was double the figure for the same period in 2013. This summer in Monte Carlo, led by Marie Sanna-Legrand with the xpert Romain Réa, the department grew by 38% compared to the 2013 sale, with a sales total of over €2M, positioning rtcurial as market leader in this field.

About Artcurial – Founded in 2002, Artcurial confirmed its position as the leading French auction house in 2013 with 123 sales organized across 20 specialist departments. In 2013 the auction house achieved an overall sales total of 178.1-million euros, representing an increase of 24% on 2012, and notably achieved the third highest auction price of the year in France with the sculpture La Rivière, by Aristide Maillol, that sold for over 6.1-million euros. It has also confirmed its position as market leader for Comic Strips in Europe, Collectors’ Cars in continental Europe, jewellery and watches in France and Monaco and Old Master Paintings in Paris. In 2014 Artcurial has continued its development and strengthened 20th Century fields with the new Photography, Limited Editions and Tribal Art departments. With a strong international bias, Artcurial maintains its presence abroad with offices in Milan and Brussels, and travelling exhibitions in the United States and Asia.

Sale date :
Paris, Monday 8 December 2014 at 20.00

Viewing dates in Geneva :
Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 November 2014
Hotel d’Angleterre
Quai du Mont-Blanc, 17
121 Genève

Viewing dates in Milano
Wednesday 19 to Sunday 23 November 2014
Artcurial Milano
Palazzo Crespi
Corso Venezia, 22
20 121 Milano

Viewing dates ?in Paris :
Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 December 2014
7, rond-point des Champs-Elysées
75008 Paris
+33 1 42 99 20 20

  • RADIOMIR - PAM 00021 - 1997 - © ARTCURIAL
  • RADIOMIR - PAM 080 - 2001 - © ARTCURIAL
  • LUMINOR 1950 8 DAYS - PAM 203 - 2005 - © ARTCURIAL