Giovanni Panerai (1825–1897) founded Officine Panerai in Florence, Italy in 1860. By 1900, under the leadership of the founder's grandson Guido Panerai (1873–1934), Officine Panerai had become an official supplier to the Regia Marina (the Royal Italian Navy), supplying watches and precision instruments. Officine Panerai maintains its headquarters in Florence but manufactures watches in Neuchâtel, Switzerland using both movements manufactured in-house and movements manufactured by ETA S.A.
Panerai watches played a role in assisting the frogmen of the Decima Flottiglia MAS in their operations during World War II. Notable products include the Luminor and Radiomir wristwatches.