The watch that shaped not only the Panerai brand but men’s watch trends of the last three decades will come up for auction with Phillips on December 12. In technical terms, the watch is Panerai’s Pre-Vendome 5218-201/A Luminor Logo piece. In layman's terms, it’s Sylester Stallone’s first Panerai watch. Stallone bought the 44mm piece before Panerai watches were publicly available, while shooting Daylight in Italy. As the story goes, the now famous Panerai watch caught his eye while he was wandering through the streets of Florence. He bought the watch and insisted on wearing it while shooting the 1996 film. Before he left Italy, Stallone even made a custom collection with Panerai, featuring a new logo that read “SlyTech.”
To say that Stallone’s Luminor watch was a trendsetter would, ultimately, be an understatement. It brought about a new way of thinking about watch aesthetics—and it changed the course of the Italian watch brand’s history. In terms of men’s watch trends, Stallone’s timepiece was, in line with Panerai’s signature style, quite large compared to the average collector watches in the ‘90s. Panerai, a watch house founded in 1860, got its start designing watches for the Italian Navy, and they were intentionally designed to look bold, masculine, and like they could withstand anything. In the infancy of this oversized watch trend, Stallone famously gifted a “SlyTech” Panerai watch to Arnold Schwartznegger.
Not only is Stallone’s original watch credited with launching the oversized watch trend, it inspired Johan Rupert, chairman of Richemont—which already owned maisons Cartier and Van Cleef—to purchase Panerai. Suffice it to say, this is not your average timepiece origin story, which is why the upcoming December 12 auction is so highly anticipated.
While Stallone is consigning his personal watch, Panerai will separately partner with Phillips for the sale of a new watch: the Luminor Lab-ID. Debuting for the first time at the December auction, the Luminor LAB-ID was created to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Luminor collection. A nod to the anniversary, and as a way of showing how little maintenance this piece (which requires no lubrication) needs, the Luminor LAB-ID has an unheard of 70-year warranty. Alongside Stallone’s Luminor and the new LAB-ID, a first-generation LAB-ID will be up for auction as well, rounding out this timepiece trifecta.
All three pieces will be on display at Panerai’s Hudson Yards’ boutique from November 12 to November 15 ahead of the December auction.