While Hollywood action movie star Sylvester Stallone is best known for two leading characters, “Rocky Balboa” and “John Rambo”, in the movies, he is probably not as well remembered as “Kit Latura”, even for most hardcore Panerai fans.
However, Panerai fans will be more familiar with the 1996 movie that Stallone played Latura: Daylight. This is simply because this particular movie can be said to be the international launch pad for Panerai.
Stallone, who got acquainted with Panerai watches after purchasing them in Italy, had requested for a special Luminor watch to be used for the underwater filming sequences in the movie. The movie’s production schedules included the filming of sequences in Italy.
In the Daylight movie, Stallone can be seen sporting the 44mm Panerai Luminor Submersible. Given its size and water-resistance, this Luminor Submersible from a relatively unknown watch brand then, was the perfect candidate and has our vote for the best supporting role in an action movie.
While Daylight did not become as successful as the Rambo and Rocky movies, it brought Panerai to international stardom in a big way. As one Panerai brand manager had once explained to us more than a decade ago: “Sylvester Stallone was the ‘accidental ambassador’ for the brand.”
Stallone even approached Panerai for watches that would bear his name. As he was known as “Sly” to his friends, this led to the “Slytech” moniker that would be seen on the dials.
Eventually, four limited series models bearing the “Slytech” name were produced: the Slytech Luminor Submersible, the Slytech Luminor Daylight and two versions of the Slytech Mare Nostrum.
The Slytech Luminor Daylight is the obvious inspiration for the 2014 Luminor Daylight 8 Days Acciaio.
As for the Luminor Black Seal 8 Days Acciaio DLC which is the second watch in the PAM 785 Special Edition Set, the original inspiration becomes a little fuzzy for us.
The original Slytech Luminor Submersible of 1996 was in steel and did not have a black case. Neither was it called the “Black Seal”.
However, there is the somewhat mythical Slytech Luminor Black Seal in steel that was black PVD-coated. This “fifth Slytech” – the Slytech Black Seal was supposed to be commercially produced but it did not happen following the sale of Panerai to the Vendôme Luxury Group in 1997.
In other words, the Slytech Luminor Black Seal did not get to see commercial daylight (pun most definitely intended).
However, five Slytech Luminor Black Seal prototypes are said to have been produced in 1997. The “Black Seal” refers to the Siluro a Lenta Corsa (SLC) or slow-speed torpedoes used by Italian Navy commandos during the Second World War.
Regardless, the Luminor Black Seal 8 Days Acciaio DLC is for us, one cool mysterious piece, albeit without the “Slytech” text. Ditto for the Luminor Daylight 8 Days Acciaio.
Both the Luminor Daylight 8 Days Acciaio and the Luminor Black Seal 8 Days Acciaio DLC have been paired to form the Special Edition PAM 785 limited edition with only 500 of such sets available.
These two 2014 Luminor watches stay very faithful to the originals of the mid-1990s even though they are “Slytechs without the Slytech” and make a tempting offering for those who enjoy pre-Vendôme Panerai timepieces.