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Video: Exploring The New Panerai Concept Store In Geneva

More than just a boutique, Panerai’s new flagship concept store in Geneva offers a fully immersive experience inside the brand’s universe, putting the client front and center. What’s more, it’s the only place you can buy the new special-edition Luminor, released to honor the Swiss city.

By Marco Gabella
Chairman & Executive Publisher

What does luxury mean today? It’s a question that is coming up more and more as consumers’ needs and wishes continue to evolve. One thing’s for sure: Luxury goods aren’t just objects; they also carry social and cultural values that deserve to be discovered and, more importantly, understood by clients.

Arriving in front of 21 Rue du Rhône in Geneva, you can’t help but want to head inside the new Panerai concept store, dubbed “Modularità Espressiva,” Italian for “Expressive Modularity.”

And that is exactly what the Watchonista team did, as we experienced firsthand this exciting new brand space, with Panerai CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué and Creative Director Alvaro Maggini as our guides.
 

So, sit back, relax, and watch our video giving you an exclusive tour that will no doubt give you the urge to follow in our footsteps.

Plus, as a rather nice bonus, in the video, we go hands-on with the new Luminor PAM02121, a 121-piece limited edition created especially for this, Panerai’s new flagship store.
 

Home Sweet Home

Perhaps you’ve never noticed, but traditional luxury boutiques are a bit like advent calendars, fully closed with just a small part open to house a display or two. So, when you walk along the prestigious Rue du Rhône in Geneva, you’ll see a new storefront that looks unlike any other.

Arriving at 21 Rue du Rhône, you quickly notice something very different when comparing it to its neighbors. With its large windows and open, airy layout that lets you see all the way in, the new Panerai concept store is just one big invitation beckoning you to step inside.
 

Exploring all the storefront details, including manifold books and iconic Italian design objects next to, of course, Panerai watches is like discovering the eclectic library of an esthete. Swiss in its engineering, but Italian in origin and in heart, Panerai has designed this like a mood board of what the brand is made of: style – heaps of style – and timeless references.
 

Once you pass through the door, you arrive on the main floor in front of the iconic green Panerai wall clock, and the space is totally open to circulation. No one is waiting for you behind a desk to gatekeep your journey. There is simply a central table displaying watches for easy accessibility and a selection of straps exhibited using an ingenious sliding system to help you choose.
 

Nearby, a large interactive screen allows you to view watches in different positions and various degrees of rendering, including transparent, as relevant information about the selected model is revealed. But the main screen in the place is not fully visible upon entry as it occupies all the entire back wall of the boutique, from the main floor to the top of the second floor. It’s quite impressive to see a watch you are exploring being displayed on it, and it is a unique feature for a watch boutique, no matter the brand.
 

The main floor offers another surprise, with one corner dedicated to the “Laboratorio di Idee.” Made using torpedo tube hatches, there you are invited to open and discover materials, watch components, and design details that comprise the building blocks of Panerai’s distinctive watches.
 

Stairway to Heaven (and Italian Roast)

Naturally, the huge multi-story videowall animating the space guides you upwards from the main floor to the second floor, where you will discover a cozy lounge along with displays with the most prestigious high complication and special edition Panerai models. Among the novelties on the second floor, I am confident that fellow Paneristis will appreciate not only the historical pieces but also the inclusion of more recent hard-to-find and discontinued models as well.
 

But the surprises on the second floor don’t end there: On the other side of the lounge, a neo-Art Deco style bar is waiting for you to order one of the best Italian coffees you can imagine or a traditional Italian “Aperitivo.” Once again, it is not a conventional bar as straps and cases are displayed on it via a rotating shelf, thus letting you try out different style combinations at the same time you enjoy your Italian coffee.
 

Model Modularity

At its core, the concept of “Modularità Espressiva” means that every element of the boutique can be changed individually or modified for a thematic exhibition or product showcase without requiring a complete redesign. But at the end of the day, the result is just stunning, thanks in large part to Panerai Creative Director Alvaro Maggini’s prodigious talent and the independence granted to him by the brand during the creative process.

Interestingly and unique for a watch brand, Alvaro Maggini is involved in every aspect of brand identity. From displays to communications tools, from boutiques to watch fairs both, everything is internally managed by the creative team under Alvaro Maggini’s governance.
 

To consolidate creative control of the brand identity under the auspices of a department led by a single person is highly unusual for a watch brand. And it is not only worthy of note but unquestioningly responsible for the consistency and coherence we saw in Panerai’s new concept store (a first in a long series of planned boutiques for the brand).
 

Introducing the Panerai Luminor Geneva Boutique Special Edition PAM02121

Even if the new Panerai Geneva concept store itself is not enough to justify your passing through the door of the 21 Rue du Rhône, how about the prospect of taking home the Luminor Geneva Boutique Special Edition? Limited to 121 pieces, the PAM02121 will only be available at the Geneva boutique, and I must admit it’s quite desirable.
 

With a 44mm case made of titanium covered in a matte black DLC coating, the PAM02121 features a grainy dial – a first in Panerai history. Meanwhile, the play of light across the contrasting shades along the grey gradient of the dial is absolutely hypnotizing yet still subtle. The whole combo is simply killer, as if this special boutique edition has found a way to weaponize desire.
 

Finally, fittingly for a collectible item such as this, the PAM02121 is equipped with the iconic hand-wounded P.5000 calibre with an 8-day power reserve. Available for CHF 9'800, the Panerai Luminor Geneva Boutique Special Edition (PAM02121) is limited to only 121 pieces, and even though it’s only available at the new Geneva boutique, it’s a sure bet the reference will soon sell out. So, with that in mind, here’s some advice… Do as I do: Order quickly.
 

For more information, visit Panerai’s website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel, video by Johan Corminboeuf)

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