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Design and Technology

Angelo Bonati

New technology would never succeed without the right talent to push it forward. Angelo Bonati, CEO of Panerai did just that, in the world of Haute Horology.

Back in 1860, Giovanni Panerai could not have imagined what would become of his small watchmaker’s shop on Ponte alle Grazie in Florence. Today, Panerai is a global success story, with legions of loyal fans, nicknamed Paneristi, who wear their Luminors and Radiomirs with pride, and scrabble over the brand’s limited editions. There are now hundreds of boutiques across the world, everywhere from Paris to Tokyo – and Panerai was even the official sponsor at this year’s America’s Cup in Bermuda.

Angelo Bonati, who joined the brand from Cartier back in 1997, has been a driving force in Panerai’s rise to victory. Smart enough to respect their rich history, yet forward-thinking enough to recognize the value of innovation and new technology – Italian-born Bonati has helped the watch brand to thrive, ensuring it constantly stays on the cutting edge when it comes to movements, finishes and everything in between. Bill Clinton, Ashton Kutcher and Heidi Klum are just a handful of the celebrities who now sport a Panerai on their wrist.

Bonati was also the catalyst behind the brand’s launch of The Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge back in 2005, a clever nod to the company’s former life, designing watches for the Italian Navy before the Second World War. The acquisition of Eilean, a classic sailing yacht, which Panerai painstakingly restored, was another triumph. Originally launched in 1936, the same year of the first Radiomir prototype, what better way to celebrate the brand’s nautical DNA? The restoration took 40,000 work hours, with much of that work carried out using traditional techniques, and it resulted in a stunningly beautiful boat. Eilean went on to debut at the 2010 Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, her style, grace, craftsmanship and technical prowess the perfect showpiece for Panerai.

With such deep respect for the brand’s history and a keen eye for innovation, Bonati, it seems, has a head for haute horology.

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