This Panerai Watch Sets an Auction Record


Italian watchmaker Panerai produced watches exclusively for the Italian navy from 1936 to the 1950s. The production of civilian watches did not begin until the last decade of the 20th century.

That’s probably why, when a rare stainless steel Panerai Luminor from 1955 went up for sales at Sotheby’s Important Watches sale in Geneva recently, it sold for a record price. The watch sold for $478,000, an all-time record for any Panerai watch.

This particular timepiece is a reference 6152/1 that can be dated circa 1955. It was owned by Admiral Gino Birindelli (1911-2008), a medal of Military Valour winner who served with distinction during World War II. The watch has a stainless steel case with a classic levered bridge device protecting the winding crown. It comes with a manual-wound mechanical movement, and black dail with baton makers and numbers at cardinal points.

Uniquely, this watch comes with a rotating bezel, which is removable, suggesting – according to a Panerai release – that this watch was a prototype that never went into production.