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Panerai on the Sly: That post-'Daylight' wristwatch is worth big bucks

June 3, 2011 |  5:08 pm

Stallone_panerai

If you worked on the 1996 Sylvester Stallone action-adventure flick "Daylight" and the Italian Stallion happened to gift you with a chunky, solid-looking watch, you may have been the recipient of a lot more wrist candy than you thought.

That notion crossed my mind while I was researching an upcoming story about the Officine Panerai luxury watch brand and someone told me the oft-repeated tale of how Stallone was instrumental in exposing the brand to a wider audience.

It goes like this: Founded in Florence in 1860, Panerai made diving watches (and other precision instruments) for the Italian navy -- and just the Italian navy -- until the timepieces were made available to the general public in 1993.

Stallone discovered the watches in 1995 while filming "Daylight" in Rome and ended up wearing one on-screen. And, while it's hard to tell for sure, it certainly looks like he's sporting one on his right wrist in the above publicity photo from the movie. (Let's not even get started on how his taxi driver character could have afforded such an extravagance.)

300 Later, Stallone asked the company to produce a limited edition of 200 watches (dubbed the "Slytech") with his signature engraved on the back. According to some versions of the story, Stallone handed out these watches to members of his cast and crew. Since the watches had essentially been a military secret until just two years earlier, most people were unfamiliar with the brand, which is why the Panerai folks credit Stallone with helping give the brand early exposure and stoking demand.

I can't help but think that more than a couple of the people who received said Slytechs were not -- and are still not -- aware of just how much the watch is worth. By way of comparison, watches purported to be from a 2005 limited-edition version of the Slytech (just 500 pieces) are currently being offered online for around $18,000. 

So, if you or someone you know worked on "Daylight" and benefited from Stallone's largesse, drop us a note or post a comment. We'd love to hear -- and hopefully share -- your story. 

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: At top, Sylvester Stallone wears what appears to be a Panerai watch in "Daylight." Credit: Sam Emerson / Universal City Studios.  At bottom, examples of Panerai's Slytech watches. Credit: Panerai.

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