A high profile Panerai sighting makes space history


A high profile Panerai sighting makes space history

A high profile Panerai sighting makes space history

The brand’s debut space mission came as a total surprise
La Cote des Montres - February 10th, 2022

It is not unusual for Panerai watches to be seen on accomplished, well-known individuals at work or play, but one of the most recent sightings is in a league all its own. On January 19, 2022, during Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) that are part of International Space Station Expedition 66, cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov wore a 45mm Panerai Radiomir watch (PAM210) strapped around the left glove of his Orlan spacesuit. Panerai became part of a small group of brands whose watches have been subject to direct exposure to outer space with that spacewalk.

The Panerai Radiomir PAM210 was visible on several occasions during seven hours of footage streamed by NASA TV at the time of the EVA. The fact it was worn during the operation is a testament to rigors that Panerai watches can withstand. External temperatures encountered during an EVA vary from +121 degrees when exposed to sunlight to -157 degrees when an astronaut is in shadow. While Panerai watches have a long legacy connected to the exploits of naval divers and the hostile environment of the underwater world, it is apparent that their endurance extends beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

Panerai had no advance knowledge that cosmonaut Shkaplerov would wear the watch during his journey. However, after viewing NASA’s EVA footage, Panerai learned of its presence from keen-eyed observers who contacted the brand.

The brand’s debut space mission came as a total surprise. “When I first learned about the sighting from several journalists, I thought they were joking,” said Panerai CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué. “It took four or five days to realize and check the story was true. We’re lucky that we are a highly recognizable brand. Because of the cushion shape and the iconic dial of the watch, people could identify it as being from Panerai. It’s like an occasion when we unexpectedly discover a Panerai watch on a celebrity in a film. We learn about it at the same time as the rest of the public.”

There’s been just one noticeable modification of the Panerai Radiomir PAM210, a reference that is no longer in production, from its original state: “Like the Italian military in the past, the cosmonaut wore the watch over his gear,” said Pontroué. “It needed a new strap that would fit around his spacesuit. An extra, extra, extra-large strap was added.”

“We’re honored that Mr. Shkaplerov took our watch with him on his mission. As far as we know, there’s never been a Panerai watch in space before, and we never had a strategy to develop products for space. We’re used to operating at negative depths rather than positive altitudes, but we produce some of the most robust watches in the world. We are used to test our watches in though conditions.”

Once the mission concludes on March 28, the CEO will eagerly await the watch’s performance details. “When the mission is over, we’d love to invite Mr. Shkaplerov to bring us his watch so we may see it, repair it, restore it, but we have to figure out who to call!”

About Panerai


Founded in Florence in 1860 as a workshop, shop and subsequently school of watch-making, for many decades Panerai supplied the Italian Navy and its specialist diving corps in particular with precision instruments.

The designs developed by Panerai in that time, including the Luminor and Radiomir, were covered by the Military Secrets Act for many years and were launched on the international market only after the brand was acquired by the Richemont Group in 1997.

Today Panerai develops and crafts its movements and watches at its Neuchâtel manufacture. The latter are a seamless melding of Italian design flair and history with Swiss horological expertise. Panerai watches are sold across the world through an exclusive network of distributors and Panerai boutiques.