Panerai Reputation Among Action Heroes

A tough guy who needs to take on the world needs a watch as tough as he is. Even if you’re not an action movie fan, you’ve probably noticed that along with the high-octane cars and blazing guns, a true action hero has a robust timepiece in his arsenal.

And Panerai, the oversized, utilitarian brand of Italian watches with a squarish case, happens to be their top choice. Seen on the wrists of Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Statham and more, it didn’t mean to become a Hollywood staple, but it sure is today.
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Here’s how Panerai became the action hero’s watch of choice:
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Case Thickness
Panerai’s Beginnings
Officine Panerai was founded in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai. First established as a watchmaking school and showroom, the company’s business eventually expanded to developing and supplying luminescent equipment to the Regia Marina or the Royal Italian Navy in the 1930’s.
In 1934, the company was tasked by the Italian Navy to create a robust diving watch that was readable in low-light. These were to be used at night by submarine operators, so they had to be brighter than watches used on land and thick enough to resist the depths of the sea.
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Open to the Public
In 1993, Officine Panerai decided to make the watches available to the civilian market. They launched three limited edition styles: the LuminorLuminor Marina, and the Mare Nostrum. They became sought after pieces among collectors.
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Sylvester Stallone was definitely an ambassador for the brand. In 2010, he asked most of the cast members of the first The Expendables movie to each wear a Panerai, and they have worn the brand in the succeeding Expendables films. Can you spot the Panerai in this movie poster?
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Sly Meets Panerai
Enter actor and filmmaker Sylvester Stallone. In 1995, the actor was visiting Florence, Italy to look for a watch that would help him build his character for the film Daylight. While browsing a jeweller’s shop in Rome, he chanced upon the Panerai Luminor, a watch that he says “immediately knew it had star power”.
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So taken was he by the brand that he took home several pieces of the Mare Nostrum and Submersible. He even had them engraved with “Slytech” and his signature on the case back and gave them as gifts to friends. This is how his love affair with the brand started; and how Panerai slowly came to conquer the action film genre with Sly’s endorsement.
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The Best Endorsement
Panerai has made no public announcements of its appearances in movies, but who needs that when they’ve got the best endorsement? The most powerful wrists in action movies have worn Panerai, both on and off the screen. Here are some of them:
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Arnold Schwarzenegger wears Panerai watches in real life and his relationship with the brand is intertwined with his friendship with Sly Stallone. He wore a Pre-Vendome Panerai in the movie Eraser (1996), and not only that – he gave Panerai what is likely its first close up shot in a film, and in the opening scene, no less.
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Dwayne Johnson or The Rock, one of today’s highest-paid actors, has also worn Panerai in many of his films. He gave the brand screen time by wearing Luminor Submersible models in Fast Five (2011) and San Andreas (2015), and a Luminor Marina in The Expendables 2 (2012).
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Jason Statham, Hollywood’s favorite anti-hero, also wears Panerai to build his anti-hero characters. He donned a Panerai Chronograph in the opening scene of The Transporter (2010) and a Luminor Submersible in The Expendables 3 (2014).
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Have you spotted a Panerai watch in an action movie? Look a little closer – it’s bound to be on your favorite action hero’s wrist, helping him as he saves the day.

 

PHOTO CREDITS: Dwayne Johnson By Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Sylvester Stallone by nicolas genin from Paris, France (66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra)) CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Arnold Schwazenegger by By English: Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons / Jason Statham by Gabbot licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr
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