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The Panerai Pre-Vendome Watches

in Learn | Monday, June 30. 2008

Panerai got its start in 1860 when Giovanni Panerai began producing precision instruments for use by the Italian Navy in Florence, Italy. But it wasn't until 1993 that Officine Panerai created a series of limited edition models aimed at the civilian market. It is these watches that are often referred to as the Pre-Vendome models. Pre-Vendome refers to the "re-birth period" between 1993 and 1997 before the Vendome company acquired Panerai. The watches produced during these years were numbered limited editions and have quickly become very collectible and hard to find. Prices for these rare watches have been skyrocketing as Panerai collectors try to get their hands on the rare pieces.

The rebirth brought the Luminor, Luminor Marina and the Mare Nostrum chronograph. The Luminor and the Luminor Marina had manual wind movements and 44mm cases made in steel or pvd steel. All the pre-Vendome models came on straps with large bottle opener buckles, with the Mare Nostrum buckles being slighlty smaller than the full-sized ones. Most of the Pre-Vendome watches came in an oak box which is quite different than the boxes used today. The exception being the Slytech watches which came in a very large box. The Slytech was named for the actor Sylvester "Sly" Stallone, a huge fan of the line. These limited edition watches have Stallone's signature engraved on the back and he has worn them in various movies. Inside the boxes were additional straps and papers, including a hand drawn blue-print for each watch.

The Panerai Pre-Vendome Reference numbers are 5218-201/A; 5218-202/A; 5218-203/A; 5218-205/A; 5218-207/A; 5218-209; 5218-210; 5218-301/A; 5218-302; 5218-304; and 5218-218..

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