Watch brand Panerai creates an interesting marketing move with their latest model


Remember the days when you’d find a free toy in your box of cornflakes? Well, it seems as if Panerai wants you to recall those days all over again, albeit on a slightly grander scale.

For its latest watch, the Luminor Submersible Chrono Guillaume Néry Edition, the Italian company has decreed that 15 lucky buyers of the new model will get the chance to dive with whales in French Polynesia. As only 15 models will be created, this means that it’s first come, first serve for the watch and the diving experience.

At the princely sun of £30,160, the watch will almost certainly be out of range for casual horology fans, but for avid collectors, such an exclusive timepiece and unique adventure is a brilliant marketing idea by Panerai. For a company that not only has to fight the onslaught of cool and affordable smartwatches from Apple and Samsung – not to mention competitors in the luxury watch industry itself – it’s an interesting move to create an exclusive watch that’s attached with a great prize.

So, will the limited number of 15 models and the exciting whale diving adventure result in a massive surge for Panerai watches? Perhaps in the short-term this is a massive win, but to lure in customers who’ve never heard of you before? You’re going to have to do a lot more than diving with whales. If we use online watch seller Chrono24 as a gauge, the category page for Panerai has about approximately 8,700 results, whereas Rolex gets around 70,200. That’s a big difference despite the watches being fairly similar in price and design.

What’s hugely interesting in the watch industry right now is the fact that many longstanding Swiss companies have joined the fight against smartwatches by, you guessed it, making their own. Breitling, TAG Heuer, and Montblanc are amongst those well-known brands who once upon a time would have turned their noses up at a digital watch, yet have no choice but to try their hand at manufacturing a smartwatch. Truth be told, their versions are far more expensive, less useful and not as pretty than an Apple Watch, so it remains perplexing as to who really wants a Swiss-made luxury smartwatch.

Panerai might want to consider the use of famous brand ambassadors for its watches, as it’s hard to deny the great exposure a big name can give, even if it comes at a hefty cost. IWC has Lewis Hamilton, Breitling picked up Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt and Adam Driver, TAG Heuer has Chris Hemsworth and Cara Delevingne, and Omega has George Clooney and Daniel Craig. Companies like Rolex and Patek Philippe can essentially live off the brand name alone and barely need anyone to promote them. For the meantime, however, Panerai can rely on whales to help promote the company.