Panerai celebrates the opening of its first Australian boutique

The luxury Italian watchmaker has just opened shop in Melbourne.

By Natasha Lee 28/05/2018

Luxury Italian watchmaker, Panerai, have officially opened their first Australian shop on Melbourne’s Collins Street in collaboration with luxury watch and jewellery retailer Kennedy.

The 60 square metre space was designed by Spanish architect and long-standing friend of the brand, Patricia Urquiola.

Urquiola has helped create countless Panerai boutiques around the world and worked hard to ensure the brand’s debut Australian store showcased a functional yet unique design which respects the philosophy of Panerai’s oceanic history and Florentine origins.

The Melbourne boutique’s official opening. Photo: Supplied

The elegant boutique featured engraved oak wall panels and burnished brass vitrines, all which aim to enhance the timepieces.

The opening proved a huge step in the brand’s Australian presence, almost indoctrinating Panerai into the local landscape.

Panerai’s APAC managing director, Julio Sato, told Robb Report the launch of the boutique had been a long time coming.

The interior of the Melbourne Panerai hotel. Photo: Supplied

“The brand has been in Australia since 2005, and in the years following our arrival, we focused on building brand awareness by highlighting the pillars of the Panerai DNA – the sea, design, history and technical innovation,” he said.

Sato added that he believes the brand’s success Down Under is due to its close alignment with Australian values.

He said: “Panerai is a high-end luxury sports watchmaker closely associated to the sea world, and this is what the Australian lifestyle is all about: an active sports culture and the ocean, both of which are embodied by the Panerai brand.”

Showcased at the Melbourne store is the brand’s Luminor Due – the thinnest and most versatile of Panerai’s creations, the Submersible Collection – which draws inspiration from the brand history whilst looking toward the future, presenting innovative technical solutions, and finally the Lo Scienziato, Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio – featuring an incredibly light titanium case, although still promising a wealth of features.

Robb Report also pressed Sato on the company’s recent employment of robots to complete some elements of the timepieces assemblage, wondering if, perhaps, it was a glimpse into the company’s future plans. Not so, insists Sato. While admitting that the company had “seen a change in the profile of employees”, he insisted that “some operations will remain manual”.

As for the future of the brand, Sato believes “innovation” and “research” will play big parts over the next five years.

“Innovation is driven by the research into materials, by the use of new production techniques, and by the development of haute horlogerie functions and complications,” he said, adding that “this is the direction that Panerai will continue to follow”.

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