Exceptional collection of vintage Panerai watch designs to go on sale in Paris

Exceptional collection of vintage Panerai watch designs to go on sale in Paris

Acquiring vintage timepieces can be a tricky business - as with any specialist collectable, if you are not in the know, how do you know where to look? Independent auction houses are a good place to start and the best ones are increasingly savvy to the fact that beyond the inner workings that make a watch tick, design is a key factor in collecting.

The result is more sales dedicated to modern names and watches with a recognisable aesthetic. And Panerai is way up there. The Florentine watch marque's precision instruments, secretly created for and supplied to the Italian Navy in the 1930s, have a clean, graphic code that has become the benchmark for military-watch design today.

Now, these 20th century design credentials have become the starting point for a brilliantly curated sale by the French auction house Artcurial. Its watch experts have worked for over a year to collect around 100 seriously special pieces for its 'Panerai Only' auction in Paris on Monday 8 December.

With estimates commencing at €2,000, it's a good starting-point sale for anyone keen to start a collection. But the star lot is undoubtedly the 1956 Egiziano, (estimated at €100,000 - €150,000) created for the Egyptian navy in 1956. Only five have come up for sale at auction in the last 12 years.

'Panerai's forms, colours and designs are a perfect represention of the 20th century object. More than a wristwatch, some of these pieces have become incredible works of art,' says Marie Sanna-Legrand of Artcurial watches department. We couldn't agree more.