The concern known today as Officine Panerai was established in Florence in 1860. At the time, its founder, Giovanni Panerai, established an office combining the functions of a watchmaking school, a repair workshop, and a sales showroom. Eventually assuming the name Orologeria Svizzera, the company soon became an influential point of sale for Swiss watches. The late nineteenth century saw Panerai enter a transitional period under Giovanni and his son, Leon Francesco. Father and son worked with recognized watch industry leaders from the Swiss horology heartland to establish supplier ties that became the basis for the Italian firm’s sales growth and eventual watch production model. Movements, cases, specialized parts, and entire watches traveled from Swiss specialists to Panerai’s offices as needed. Under Leon Francesco’s guidance, Panerai diversified to become a research and development operation with core competencies in mechanical engineering, component fabrication, and instrument design. This was no aberration; for most of its history, Panerai’s professional tool and hardware fabrication would represent an important source of revenue for the company.