During the 1950's Officine Panerai created a number of wristwatches for the Italian Navy. The Panerai Luminor Historic 1950 collection pays tribute to these timepieces with a number of models equipped with features that range from GMT functions to moonphase complications and flyback chronographs.
The Panerai Luminor collection was officially launched to the public in 1993; however, it took almost a full decade before the Luminor fully embraced its vintage design heritage. In 2002, the company released the Luminor 1950 collection, which featured a case shape that was directly inspired by the model that the brand had created in 1950 (hence the name). Although the two watches appear somewhat similar at first glance, the standard Luminor is the modern incarnation of Panerai’s classic design, while the Historic 1950 version strictly adheres to the design details of its vintage predecessor.
The Luminor 1950 collection has an instantly recognizable design made from premium materials like ceramic, Carbotech 18k gold, and titanium, as well as more standard options like stainless steel. The watch cases span from a discreet 42mm to an attention-demanding 50mm, and inside each Luminor 1950 watch is a robust and finely finished mechanical movement.
The Luminor 1950 watch collection officially began in 2002; however, it emulats one of the brand’s oldest designs that has existed for well over half a century. Building upon the success of the modern Luminor, the Historic 1950 collection increases the desirability and popularity of the iconic design with an added level of vintage design inspiration. While this sub-division of the timepieces range was originally produced in limited numbers, it was later developed into its own sub-collection within the catalog.
From dive watches to dress watches, the style of the Luminor 1950 varies subtly, enabling it to be worn in various ways. The original watch design was envisioned by former Panerai chief Dino Zei and brought to life by machinist Alessandro Bettarini, raising the benchmark for military wristwatches. The range of timepieces combined the precision needed for the frontline with the legibility of a diver’s watch.
The distinct design of a 1950 model features a crown protecting bridge for shielding the crown against impact, while at the same time keeping it firmly pressed to the case for optimum water resistance. Both model variations feature cushion shaped cases and dials comprised of Arabic numerals and indices. When the company launched the Historic Luminor 1950 collection, they perfectly reincarnated the original military diver's watches made during this special era. Enabling the brand to remain true to their watchmaking heritage, these luxury diver’s watches put the company on the map once again for creating exceptionally beautiful and reliable diver’s watches that do not look like anything else on the market.
These stylish watches are a result of an elite selection of materials chosen by the watchmaker. State of the art strength and longevity is guaranteed in each timepiece from this special sub-division. The chronograph versions from the collection include the 1950 3 Days PAM 320, the Rattrapante PAM 213, and the Flyback PAM 212 models. The diving timepieces include the Luminor 1950, the Submersible 1950, and the Marina 1950. You can tell whether you're looking at a standard or a 1950 model watch by the shape of the case, which is especially noticeable when viewing the watches from the side. Curving as they approach the lugs, the sides of the 1950 case are smoothly sculpted and softened enhancing an elegant edge, as opposed to a standard one which boasts straighter sides for a more modern and streamlined look.
The smaller-sized Luminor 1950 watches are those such as the PAM01392, which measures 42mm in diameter. The steel model makes for a superb unisex watch thanks to its universally appealing aesthetics and no-frills design. For something much more lavish, the top end of the spectrum features the likes of the Panerai Submersible 1950 ref. PAM00616, manufactured from a high tech material called Carbotech – a carbon fiber composite. Luminor 1950 watches feature a unique "REG. T.M." engraving on their crown guards standing for "registered trademark". This small detailing is another way to differentiate the 1950 models from the standard line.
Although the very first were ultra-exclusive limited editions, the 1950 collection has since expanded to include a diverse assortment of watches. Like all other timepieces by the brand, the price can vary greatly depending on the specific model, the materials of its construction, and the features and complications offered by its movement.
With that in mind, the point of entry for the collection is noticeably higher than the entry price for the standard model. Retail prices start at about $7,600 for simple time and date models in stainless steel, and quickly goes up from there with the use of premium materials or more feature-rich movements. With that in mind, a savings can typically be found for pre-owned examples on the secondary market.
The point of entry starts at $7,600; however prices can quickly reach into the six-figure range for highly complex models in exotic material or precious metal cases. Additionally, there are a number of highly exclusive limited-edition watches that sell for significantly more than standard models due to their limited and exclusive nature.
As with any luxury watch, it’s imperative to be sure that you are buying from a trusted and reliable source. If you're a fan of this line of watches, the 1950’s models will make for a great investment timepiece that can be worn every day of the week and that offers instantly recognizable retro-inspired aesthetics.
With such a broad choice to be made between case sizes, materials, and complications, a Luminor 1950 watch will provide you with a tangible slice of the brands history, paired with cutting edge technology and a beautiful in-house mechanical movement. Like every single timepiece we sell at Bob’s Watches, all models are thoroughly assessed, serviced, and quality tested prior to service, and each one comes backed by our Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee.