Written By: Vahid Moradi
High-end timepieces add polished allure to any attire. Whether you’re looking to add a new one to your existing watch collection or bestow a gift on a fortunate recipient, quality and practicality are going to be your priorities.
Two brilliant brands in the fine watch world are Panerai and Breitling. Both brands carry impeccably designed timepieces with indisputable long-term value, but there are a few factors that differentiate one watch brand from another.
To help you find your next wrist-adorning treasure, we’ve compiled a complete comparison of Panerai vs Breitling watches. We’ll explore the rich history of their dynamic diving and aviation origins, price points, and brand cornerstones.
The Beginnings of Panerai
Panerai owes its brand name to its founder, Giovanni Panerai. Although Panerai's headquarters are now located in Geneva, Giovanni Panerai opened his first small watch shop, showroom, and school in 1860 in Florence, Italy.1
Through the rest of the 19th century and into the 20th, Panerai grew in popularity and trust, supplying precision instruments to the Italian Royal Navy, who later contracted them to develop a watch strong enough for diving. This is how Panerai’s first iconic watch, the Radiomir, was born.
With the Italian Navy’s permission, Panerai began to produce watches for the Egyptian Navy as well. Then, in 1993, having secured a strong military legacy, they decided to break into the luxury watch market—allowing us to enjoy them today.
The Birth of Breitling
Traveling a few decades ahead, we find ourselves in Switzerland in 1884. A bright 24-year-old young man by the name of Léon Breitling opened a watch atelier in the town square.2
Over the years, his enthusiasm and dedication to the craft of measurement helped him accomplish a lot more than watchmaking. Some of his impressive inventions include:2
The Royal Air Force of Great Britain placed an order for chronographs from Breitling in 1939, setting the brand up as a renowned supplier to the aviation industry—an image that stands to this day.
Panerai vs Breitling Specifications
When deciding between a Breitling and a Panerai timepiece, some watch enthusiasts with a love of aviation may opt for Breitling watches, whereas others might prioritize a lower price point.
While both brands deliver exquisite craftsmanship and a product you can trust, take a look at some more particular specifications that make each watch brand’s designs unique.
The designs of both Panerai and Breitling watches combine style with function. At face value, the design of a Panerai watch tends to be simpler than that of a Breitling. You can see this clearly when comparing a Panerai Luminor to a Breitling Chronomat. The Breitling touts a plethora of functions while the Panerai is clean and concise.
The materials of watches can vary, even within the same brand. Here are some of the materials that each brand offers for their straps and bezels.
Both Breitling and Panerai straps are available in these materials, with some recent Panerai models even offering a comfortable rubber strap:
- Steel Bracelet
If you find yourself choosing a Panerai, learn more about how to change a Panerai strap here.
While Breitling stands by sturdiness with stainless steel watch bodies, Panerai offers a wide variety of watch bodies in addition to stainless steel:
- Rose Gold
Panerai models on average hold a higher price point than the Breitling collection. Rarity, materials, and special features of a watch all help determine the final price. Here we’ve listed some different pre-owned models from each luxury watch brand along with their price points:
The power reserve of a watch indicates how much time there is between windings. As opposed to quartz watches, which use batteries to run, automatic watches like Panerai and Breitling use a power reserve that will automatically wind or that the wearer will need to manually wind.
Each watch has a unique power reserve varying from two days up to eight and Panerai even offers some manual-winding automatic watches.
Similarities Between Panerai and Breitling Timepieces
As both of these brands place design and quality at the forefront of their mission, it’s not uncommon to witness a few similarities. Whether you invest in a Breitling or a Panerai timepiece, you will find that each luxury watch brand mindfully crafts each of its products with:
- Automatic Working Mechanisms
- Premium-Grade Materials
- Top-Quality Craftsmanship
- Water Resistance
Which Brand is Right For You?
Both Panerai and Breitling offer timepieces of unwavering quality, so as you’re deciding which to invest in, (if a choice must be made), take into account what is important to you or the wearer. This will ensure that the brand and specific watch you decide on makes for the perfect match.
Your top priority may simply be finding a lower-priced timepiece—a price within $5,000 as opposed to $10,000 or more. If so, we recommend steering clear of finer materials such as gold or original models from either of these brands. In general, a Breitling watch will have a more accessible price point, but Panerai designs some more approachable models in the $5,000 category as well.
Men’s vs Women’s Watches
Today, everyone can enjoy the refined luxury of a quality wristwatch. Still, some brands, such as Panerai, tend to specialize in men’s designs. Breitling creates watches for both men and women, which could prove favorable if you’re in search of a timepiece with a more feminine design, although many women still sport Panerai watches.
For a timepiece that offers added features such as a stopwatch, date display, or a larger power reserve, investigate the product description of each product. Both Panerai and Breitling offer timepieces with unique functions.
At CJ Charles, our knowledgeable customer support team can also help answer any questions you may have about the special functions of an individual watch. As you shop our inventory online, our dedicated staff is only one chat message away.
Here, the answer is quite straight-cut, if you prefer a watch with a simpler design and easy-to-read face, opt for a Panerai. You might specifically fancy a Luminor for its bright, refreshing simplicity. If you are a fan of all things technical and love the look of a more intricate face, consider the Breitling. You’ll likely adore the Navitimer for all its precise details.
The Gear-Turning Greatness of Luxury Timepieces
You can’t go wrong with either a Panerai or a Breitling wristwatch (or both, of course). The advantage of a luxury timepiece like a model by one of these renowned brands ascends the boundaries of ordinary watches.
When you choose a Panerai or a Breitling watch, you gain more than a treasured adornment and an accurate sense of time. These luxury watches are:
Find Panerai and Breitling Treasures at CJ Charles
Whichever timepiece you choose to fasten to your wrist, it is sure to keep you on top of that tight schedule and provide an impressive focal point to your curated style. We realize that the choice between Panerai and Breitling watches is like choosing between gold and diamonds: both stunningly beautiful in their own right. Ultimately, choose the piece that speaks to you and fulfills your goals for your next wrist-adorning work of art.
If you’re looking for some guidance when choosing your next timepiece, come to CJ Charles. We are proud to have provided the San Diego and La Jolla areas with fine jewelry and white-glove service for nearly 40 years.
As certified dealers of Panerai and Breitling timepieces, we are here to help you select your next treasure. Explore our hand-picked selection of pre-owned and used Breitling and Panerai timepieces to effortlessly exude excellence in your every day.
Written By: Vahid Moradi
Vahid Moradi’s lifelong passion, dedication, and commitment for the jewelry industry led him to become the respected owner of CJ Charles Jewelers in 1988. From that moment, Moradi’s single focus in business was to become recognized as the pinnacle of value and world-class quality in the his Community. Over 34 years later, CJ Charles continues to grow and thrive as a successful, family-owned business that consistently provides exceptional service to all their clientele.
- Panerai. History of Panerai. https://www.panerai.com/en/about-panerai/history.html
- Breitling. The Era of Inventors. https://www.breitling.com/us-en/history/eraofinventors/