Ball Watch Company
Baume et Mercier
Bell & Ross
Giovanni Panerai lived from 1825-1897, and is the founder of Officine Panerai. He began the company in 1860, in Florence, Italy. Giovanni's grandson Guido Panerai (1873-1934), was able to land a contract with the Italian Navy, particularly with the frogmen of the Decima Flottiglia MAS during WWII. Panerai began strictly providing high luminous compasses and depth gauges for the Italian Navy for deep sea expeditions; however, the Navy needed wristwatches fast. Owning a stock of Rolex pocket watches in their workshop, Panerai quickly made large cases and used Rolex movements, crowns and casebacks from the pocket watches to win the wristwatch contract. Panerai put their name on the dial and showed what a nimble and opportunistic company could capitalize on in a time of war.
The Richemont Group purchased Officine Panerai in 1997.