Panerai Surfaces With Its Newest Boutique In Zürich's Bahnhofstrasse
The cult Italian brand finally got its highly exclusive address in the heart of Zürich: Bahnhofstrasse 25. Watchonista was there.
June 19, 2019, the sun shining bright in a blue Swiss sky, it's a balmy 27 °C in the shade. Summer is showing its best profile in Zürich, a perfect day for the opening of the new Panerai boutique at Bahnhofstrasse 25, just a few steps from Paradeplatz, a global financial hub. The shop is robust and elegantly appointed.
The furnishings recalls a more streamlined, modernized Art-Deco motif, with lamps suggesting the maritime codes of the brand. It's cool, in every sense of the word, an oasis in the midst of high fashion, banks, and the heat of summer. It is the fifth boutique in Switzerland. (after Geneva, Lucerne, St Moritz and the recent opening of the boutique in our Manufacture in Neuchâtel)
Panerai watches are made in Switzerland, they have a clearly identifiable design aesthetic that reflects their Florentine origins. They are all about lifestyle and a positive attitude. Thanks to their clean dials and sleek cases, they project self-confidence, in an albeit understated way, with just the right amount of showiness. Panerai watches are mostly in the 42 mm to 47 millimeter range, so these models will clearly attract attention.
Zürich is the perfect city for Panerai since it boasts a host of great venues, where people come to see and be seen. Like the Seerose, a venue for aperitifs with a hint of Saint-Tropez chic, or the Dolder Gand, a quiet dining spot with a bird's eye view of the city, and, to close of the evening, the relaxed and beautiful Barfussbar, which is tied up on to the bank of the Limmat River, just a few steps away from the new store.
Regardless of the model or the price range, those wearing Panerai can sail, swim, or dive in Lake Zürich without having to take off their timepiece. After all, the brand supplied the Italian navy from 1936 to 1993, so the watches have a reputation for water resistance.
If Johan Rupert, a majority shareholder in the Richemont Group, had not purchased Panerai in 1997 and invested heavily in the brand, it may well have been sunk. The financial boost paid off, and the brand soon became a trendsetter: It was the first to make a really dynamic dive watch, and it ultimately put bronze on the map as an accepted material for cases.
The design DNA remained the same as when the watches were first launched. Care is given to maintaining this visual heritage, which includes a cushion-like case, machined indices, loop lugs, and the famous Panerai crown protector. All elements which harken back to the earliest history of the brand. Everything else, be it the materials or the complications, are developed further or made afresh at the Laboratorio de Idee by a team of fifty engineers and watchmakers.
This year, Panerai raised quite a few eyebrows in the industry with its latest concepts and some spectacular events. The Luminor, Radomir and Submersible collections featured some new additions, plus there were three limited editions in the Submersible collection.
Customers for these thirty-three pieces were offered training with the COMSUBIN, the elite commandos of the Italian navy. Those who managed to pick up a Submersible Chrono Guillaume Néry will have the opportunity of taking a dive with the world champion freediver.
It was a great idea that was rewarded with instant success. The limited edition Submersibles with experiences were sold out before even being manufactured. What's next for Panerai? You'll just have to wait and see! Or perhaps pay their Zürich boutique a visit, I'm sure the passionate staff will be happy to share the brand with you!
(Photography by Igor Laski)