Instrumental in Panerai’s rise as the “it” brand of the 2000s were the action-hero celebrities who favoured its oversized dive watches.
The singular most important personality in establishing the brand in popular culture was Sylvester Stallone, who wore this very Luminor 5218-201/A “pre-Vendome” in the 1996 film Daylight, where he played a firefighter leading survivors out of a collapsed tunnel.
A product of the original Panerai company in Italy before the brand moved to Switzerland after Richemont acquired it, the watch has been consigned for sale at Phillips’ upcoming New York watch auction by Mr Stallone himself.
It’s being offered exactly as it was worn on screen, including the sharkskin strap – along with paraphernalia relating to the film as well as a hand-written note stating he wore the watch during its production. Four other watches of Mr Stallone’s, all Richard Mille, are also in the sale, including the RM 32 he wore in The Expendables 3.
In the mid 1990s Mr Stallone also had an informal partnership with Panerai, reputedly receiving several watches from the brand, which then produced several runs of limited edition watches dubbed “Sly Tech” after Mr Stallone’s nickname.
Mr Stallone became an early adopter of Panerai not long after it starting making wristwatches once again in 1993 thanks to Monty Shadow, a photographer born in the former Yugoslavia who is extensively well connected within American and European celebrity circles.
A longtime friend of Johann Rupert, he was instrumental in getting Panerai on the wrists of Hollywood celebrities and Richemont’s subsequent takeover of the brand in 1997. Often spotted at SIHH each year and at various Richemont events around Europe, Mr Shadow was also responsible for many other tie ups pursued by other Richemont-0wned brands, including IWC’s partnership with Paulo Coelho and its sponsorship of the Laureus awards.
Racing Pulse takes place at 10:00 am New York time on December 12. The catalogue is available here.
Correction December 3, 2020: Panerai was based in Italy auntie the Richemont takeover, but the pre-Vendome watches were produced in Switzerland by a subcontractor. An earlier version of the article implied they were manufactured in Italy, which is incorrect.Back to top.
You may also enjoy these.
Starting in Singapore, then Geneva and Taipei.