The Panerai Luminor is one of those watches that very few of your friends or co-workers will be familiar with, but they’re one of the most popular men’s watches on men’s style websites and the fashion blogosphere. Originally an Italian brand, the company is now Swiss owned and these watches are in fact made in Switzerland.
Panerais have been sold for decades in various styles, many of them looking generally similar with black dials and silver cases on a leather band, although other options are available and I think the steel bands look fantastic. The Marina, GMT, and Submersible are among the popular variants. Prices vary depending on the year, the model, and condition, but they generally sell in the $4,000 to $7,000 range. That might be a little expensive for a watch that lacks the “common man prestige” that comes from a name like Rolex, but people who know about fine watches know the name Panerai.
Little-known fact: as the Panerai brand was struggling to gain a foothold in the civilian market after ceasing production for the Italian military, Sylvester Stallone may have been responsible for giving the watchmaker a sudden boost in popularity. He bought a Panerai in Rome back in 1995, wore it during the filming of a movie, and then bought a small lot of them to give to friends with his signature on the back. The brand has been gaining in popularity ever since.