Cultural Perspectives • 27 Nov 2018

Panerai’s Gruelling QC Standards

by Luke Carlino


Officine Panerai takes durability seriously. The testing of each Panerai watch is rigorous, to say the least, going above and beyond international standards to guarantee survival when up against shocks, extreme temperatures and ultraviolet radiation. Take water resistance as an example, Panerai watches must have a water-resistance of more than 25% higher than the officially declared limits. These self-imposed levels of quality and durability guarantee that all Panerai timepieces live up to their history of reliability under testing conditions.

The Testing Process

When a Panerai watch leaves the factory, it has survived the equivalent of watch hell, subject to conditions that you wouldn’t hope to find yourself in, let alone while wearing a watch on your wrist. Panerai watches are subject to a two-month accelerated age test which simulates thirty years of wear after enduring temperatures ranging from -40° to +90° C. A gas penetration machine is also used to measure the durability of the glass and casings. A variety of water-based tests are run on both the case and the leather straps simulating everything from seawater to human perspiration. A decompression test simulating the various cycles of scuba diving is thrown into the mix as well.

Shocks & Magnets

If you were wondering to which level the Panerai shock tests push, it’s extreme. To the point where the whole room which houses the shock testing equipment is mounted on shock absorbers. The watches endure shocks up to 5,000g and are dropped onto both wood and steel from just over one metre to make sure they don’t dent.

Magnetism is taken just as seriously as easier to see destructive forces. The ISO 764 international standard for anti-magnetic properties for a watch is laughed at by the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Amagnetic, for example, which has a limit of more than eight times the standard.

And throughout all these tests, all movements are tested to their full power reserve while on the production line with each movement being accompanied by an RFID chip. Each watch has the results of its precision testing printed in its accompanying booklet, and they do not leave the factory if the required precision is not achieved.

Laboratorio di Idee

At this point, you could argue that Panerai watches couldn’t raise their standard any higher, but the brand would disagree. Laboratorio di Idee is the name of the research and development department which is committed to finding innovative technical solutions to make even more durable, high-performing watches. Over fifty specialist workers, in collaboration with the brand’s design department in Italy, continuously build on previous models and experiment with high-performance materials and in-house movements to find new ways to push the already stellar design and build quality.

A Sustainable Future

As admirable Panerai’s commitment to quality is, they also put a large focus on environmental sustainability. The brand’s manufacturing complex in Neuchâtel ensures the highest international standards are met to produce zero carbon dioxide emissions by energy saving and reusing waste materials. The building features a 50,000-litre rainwater tank that irrigates the outdoor green areas outside and the hot waste liquid from machine cooling systems is reused to heat the building. All wastewater is cleansed of detergents, soaps, and dust to then provide 100 percent green hydro-electric power for manufacture. It is refreshing to see a brand so committed to the evolution of quality and technology that places such significant importance on environmental sustainability.

In the Collection

The two main staples of the Panerai collection are the Radiomir, the brands first watch, and the Luminor. Both models are extended by the 1940 and 1950 series respectively as well as the Luminor Due, the latest addition to the group. Luxury sport watches at their core; the Radiomir S.L.C is a sleek design that could accompany a suit with no issue, whereas the Luminor Due Oro Rosso is a bit more eccentric with its blue band and vintage gold casing. The special edition models stray a little bit further from the minimalist design of the core collection. The Luminor 1950 Sealand, for example, features a brushed steel pop casing with a floral dog motif.

Panerai has been successful in remaining faithful to its rich heritage whilst making considerable changes in the past few years. Their move in-house has been accompanied by an uncompromising approach towards testing and quality control, combining Swiss precision with Italian flair.

Stop by one of our many boutiques to have a look at Panerai watches in the metal. For a list of all boutiques click here.


Luke Carlino

Luke is a writer and musician from Melbourne, Australia. One of his earliest memories is a gift given to him by his father - his grandfather's Seiko 5606-5100 automatic watch that accompanied him during the Vietnam war. Ever since, timepieces have marked the crucial moments of Luke's life. He is never without a watch and has a particular interest in Hublot and Breitling watches.


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