In 1997 what was then the Vendôme Group took over the Florentine watch company Officine Panerai. Today Panerai is owned by Richemont, a company that owns several of the world’s leading producers of jewellery, watches, writing instruments, leather and accessories, and clothing.
In acquiring this range of producers of luxury goods, Richemont has ensured that each of its individual companies maintains its own distinct identity that in all cases derives from a long and distinct heritage.
Panerai is no different, having started out as a family-run business in 1860. Richemont not only inherited a distinguished and reputable watch manufacturer, it also inherited an important historical legacy.
To prevent the material objects of this legacy from being lost, all historical items have been collected together and catalogued, and these form the basis of the Panerai Historical Archive.
For anyone with an interest in the history of watches and watch-making, this is a fascinating collection that begins in the mid 1800s and continues right up to the present day. It includes watches, compasses, depth gauges, torches and patent documents as well as tools of the watchmaker’s art. There are also numerous photographs and documents that bear witness to the work of the Panerai family from the very first watchmaker’s workshop opened in Florence over a hundred years ago.
The Archive is housed in part in the historical boutique in Piazza San Giovanni in Florence.