A name held high in the world of luxury watches, Panerai began in 1860, Florence, as a boutique, workshop and watchmaking school. The watchmaker combines Italian design and history with Swiss craftsmanship, creating pieces coveted by watch enthusiasts and collectors around the world. Panerai has just opened its first Malaysian boutique in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur, with the space designed by Spanish designer, Patricia Urquiola. Telling us more about the brand’s local boutique debut and his own favourite watches, Prestige speaks to Giacomo Cinelli, Managing Director, Panerai Southeast Asia & Oceania.
Tell us more about yourself and how you began working with Panerai.
I was born in a small town north of Florence, Italy, which led me by chance to join Panerai as the brand also hails from Florence. I’ve always been interested in watches. When I was younger, maybe around 10 or 11 years of age, I would collect Swatch watches. Then over a decade ago, I started working for Panerai as a watch seller. Panerai was a small brand at the time that was growing, and I was attracted to the growing buzz around the name.
What are your expectations for the new boutique in Pavilion KL?
This is our 81st boutique in the world. We’re excited to make our presence in Malaysia where many collectors reside, with the boutique as our platform. There are just four other Panerai boutiques in Southeast Asia as of now; in Singapore, Manila, and Bangkok.
Can you tell us about the watch you’re currently wearing?
This is a Submersible with a diameter of 42mm, released just last year. It’s made of stainless steel and is water resistant. I tend to wear a Panerai watch for three months because I like to become familiar with it.
Which Panerai timepiece is your favourite?
The Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT. In Italian, ‘lo scienziato’ means ‘the scientist’. We dedicate this watch to Galileo Galilei, and it’s the lightest Tourbillon in the collection with a titanium case and skeletonised bridges and plates visible from the front and back. There are 150 pieces in the world — one is here in Kuala Lumpur where it’s priced at RM562k.
What did you think of this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH)?
It’s a great salon where all the brands showcase upcoming designs and trends, and consumers get to know their favourite brands better. For Panerai, we are in partnership with the Italian racing team Luna Rossa for the America’s Cup, which is the most important sailing race worldwide. We are sponsoring the Luna Rossa boat with the support of Prada and Pirelli. In conduction with the race, Panerai will be realising four watches for the Luna Rossa collection up till the regatta’s finals in 2021, held at New Zealand.