Watchmaker Panerai has a rich heritage of producing beautiful, technical timepieces—making it ideal for adventurous Aspenites.
50 mm PAM1108 Eco Pangaea tourbillon Mike Horn edition, $189,000, by Panerai at Oliver Smith Jeweler
Prior to being acquired by Vendôme Luxury Group (now Richemont) and its U.S. market debut in the late 1990s, watchmaker Panerai was a little-known Florentine timepiece manufacturer specializing in wristwatches for private collectors and the Italian Navy. Now, with more than two decades on the civilian market, Panerai has become known for its technical, lightweight, durable designs. And with renowned explorers among its brand ambassadors, including Mike Horn and Jimmy Chin, Panerai has become the gold standard for adventurous spirits, making it—and exclusive area dealer Oliver Smith Jeweler—the go-to for Aspen’s outdoorsmen and women.
“The Aspen lifestyle is all about being outside,” says Boutique Director Elizabeth Smith. “Whether it’s biking, hiking, fishing or rafting in the summer, there are endless things to do outside. It’s fun to have an accessory that lends itself to this outdoor culture.” And, she adds, “It’s important to have a watch that can keep up, as you can in one day go from hiking to dining in a five-star restaurant.” Panerai, of course, is tailor-made for the challenge. Smith, who sports a 42 mm PAM01535, recommends a wristwatch that is durable but won’t hinder activities. “Panerai’s Manufacture Idée, its ideas lab, has launched some innovative new materials over the past couple of years that assist this need,” she says, noting the Carbotech, which has a case made of tightly compressed sheets of carbon fiber similar to the material used in Formula One race cars.
Brand ambassador Horn, meanwhile, nods to the PAM984, which he designed in partnership with Panerai. Made of environmentally friendly materials— in keeping with his commitment to preservation—this timepiece is fashioned from EcoTitanium, with a strap made of PET (recycled water bottles). “Since the beginning, what really impressed me was Panerai’s historical roots and values about life,” Horn says. “We share a common passion for the sea and the awareness of how important it is to defend our planet. It has created remarkable traveling companions for me—instruments conceived to accompany me on the most difficult challenges while always ensuring maximum reliability and endurance.”
Whether by land or by sea, both Oliver Smith Jeweler and Panerai have an exciting year ahead. As we emerge from stay-at- home orders and discover the new normal for life outdoors, Oliver Smith expands its presence in Aspen with the opening of a new boutique July 4, which will specialize in certified pre-owned watches, jewelry and one-of-a-kind Oliver Smith designs. With the pre-owned market set to outpace new watch sales, Smith says, “Our goal is to build an inviting luxury space where clients are drawn to see what’s new and to talk about the watch world. For many clients, finding their next piece really becomes a fun treasure hunt.” On the docket for Horn, Panerai will release the 50 mm PAM1108 Eco Pangaea tourbillon Mike Horn edition. Limited to only five editions, this first submersible tourbillon, coincidentally, also includes a trip with the explorer himself. 400 E. Hyman Ave.
Photography by: courtesy of Panerai