“Panerai is a disease.” This is a comment that frequently appears on the forum paneristi.com, where Panerai enthusiasts discuss their watches, and buy and sell them. It is run independently of the brand Panerai, and, founded in September 2000 by English Panerai fan Guy Verbist, it has reached its 15th anniversary. The brand is perhaps unique in having this external assistance for its marketing. An example of the special relationship that collectors have with their Panerai watches is the fact that when they put a watch up for sale on the forum, they specify that not only do they have all the reference material regarding the watch and its current owner, but that in addition they would like the references of the prospective purchaser. In other words, they would like the watch that they are selling to go to a good home. Panerai, whose watches are made in very limited quantities, do much the same with their new timepieces.
Panerai is celebrating the website’s anniversary with a special edition Luminor Base Logo Acciaio 44 mm, which has “Paneristi.com 15th anniversary” engraved on the caseback. It is a minimalist classic, with the fundamental features of the brand, such as the 316L stainless steel case, crown protector with locking lever that helps it achieve its 100 metres water resistance, the OP (Officine Panerai) logo in blue, and the excellent night-time visibility provided by SuperLuminova on hands and dial, in a vintage beige colour. The movement is the in-house OP 1 hand-wound calibre, with 56 hours power reserve.
The watch has a black leather strap with contrasting stitching. It is a limited edition of 500. The price is £3,200; it will be available from November 2015.