The Panerai Manufacture, nestled in the historic city of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, is the engine that drives the technological innovation and horological craftsmanship of the Maison. Established in 2002, the Manufacture has cultivated a robust research and development ecosystem that transforms ideas and concepts into concrete technical marvels.
This idea is exemplified by the “Laboratorio di Idee”, part of the Research & Development Department, where technical projects come to life by the skilled hands of engineers. Fifty highly specialized workers operate very closely with the design department, drawing inspiration from the archives and the Italian DNA of the Brand, thus ensuring that every new creation is consistent with the unmistakable Panerai character.
Panerai’s identity is deeply intertwined with a passion for trailblazing, evident in the development of singular creations including the “Lab-Id” concept watches. With an average of 3 to 4 patents filed per year, the R&D division is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is achievable. It is not just about technical capabilities but also elevating the tangible aesthetics of the watches. The Maison introduces a new material nearly every two years, strengthening its reputation as an innovator of materials and setting the stage for a variety of movements across different ranges, from “solo tempo” functions to high-end complications.
The R&D division is followed by the state-of-the-art laboratory where thousands of tests occur annually ensuring reliability and robustness to the creations. The team conducts rigorous water tightness, shock, and aging tests that meet and often surpass international standards. The bridge between virtual designs and physical products takes place in the industrialization department where efficiency, modernity, and time to market are meticulously managed to ensure seamless production. Housing some of the most advanced automated technologies, this department handles the creation of signature Panerai materials on a daily basis, including Bronzo, DMLS, Carbotech™, titanium, brass, and steel.
Once the designs take a physical form, they are taken through the cutting-edge Machining division. Equipped with over 20 modern CNC machines, the division operates 6 days a week, overseen by a highly skilled team of engineers. Automation is taken to the maximum, ensuring technical capabilities match the craftsmen’s expert touch.
The Finishing division elevates the watches from functional timepieces to coveted watches. With tools including satin-finishing robots, laser engraving, and blue-colour character painting, every watch is finished with a high degree of aesthetic consistency and precision. Synthetic jewels and pins are set with a precision of +/- 2 microns in terms of localization ensuring the accuracy of each timepiece.
Movement assembly is where the true magic happens, where the watchmaker’s expertise and relentless pursuit of quality meet to breathe life into the timepieces. A team of highly skilled watchmakers works diligently to ensure traceability throughout the assembly process. The division is also home to an automated quality control robot, a pioneering technology co-developed by Panerai and CLA. Each watch is encased and controlled within the Watches assembly department. To ensure chronometric precision and water resistance, quality control cycles are doubled. This final process also extends to straps and buckles in order to guarantee a steady durability.
The Haute Horlogerie department is home to over ten master watchmakers who craft the Maison’s masterpieces and innovations: Automatic skeleton, Regatta chrono, Annual calendar, Perpetual calendar, Tourbillon, Astronomo GLS and Minute Repeater. Finally, the Panerai Manufacture is committed to impeccable Customer Service and training by providing a range a of hassle-free services and a dedicated training centre for watchmakers from around the world. The Maison’s dedication to training aims to secure the competencies for future service requirements.
The Panerai Manufacture building, a testament to sustainability, was opened on January 13th, 2014. Spanning over 10,000 m2, the building is designed with a zero-fossil policy. It’s heated and cooled down using 36 geothermic sensors and a heat-pump, and rainwater is collected in a 150,000 litre tank to water the garden. All electrical energy consumed, totaling 1.8 GWh per year, is entirely sourced from hydro-electric power. The Manufacture houses over 250 people from diverse backgrounds and specializes in more than 50 métiers. Now, since June 2023, it welcomes over 1,000 visitors per year.