Panerai, or Officine Panerai as is the company name, is an Italian watch company. Panerai was founded in 1860 in Florence by Giovanni Panerai. Up till 1993 the company was the official supplier to the royal italian Navy. Panerai is most famous for its Radiomir and Luminor series, used among others by Italian commando frogmen.
Panerai was not a particularly famous watch brand until the actor Sylvester Stallone used Panerai Luminor in the film Daylight in 1995. Stallone ordered a small batch of these watches and offered them as gifts to his friends, including Arnold Schwarzenegger. Because of this, Panerai gained rapid popularity. Panerai was bought by Richemont in 1997.
Big dial is one of main charasteristics in Panerai's timepieces. Because of the huge popularity of this feature, even several other watch manufacturers has began to manufacture big watches, including Audemars Piguet, IWC and Swatch.
Panerai issues a special edition every year. In 2006 it was called "1936 California Dial Radiomir", a reissue of the first panerai model ever presented to the italian marina militare.
Several celebreties wear Panerai watches, such as Pierce Brosnan, Bill Clinton, Hugh Grant and Heidi Klum.