Sylvester Stallone has a super impressive watch collection and is well known for introducing Panerai's to Hollywood.
But, did you know his fascination with watches stems from an unlikely Swiss connection?
You see, Sly became interested in watches whilst training to become a hairdresser in Switzerland. Like many sons of his generation, he was nudged into his first career by his father who owned hair salons and beauty schools.
Now as fine as his haircuts may have been, I'm sure glad he decided to get into acting and writing instead.
Stallone is most famously associated with his Panerai collection, so that is where we'll start.
The official story is that he was in Italy for 3 months filming the 1996 movie Daylight, when he came across the Italian watchmaker. That's right, a movie about a NY tunnel was filmed in Rome. Why Rome you ask? Because Rome's Cinecitta Studios had large floodable sound stages they could use for the tunnel sequences.
Suitably impressed by the large design and military look and feel of the Panerai Luminor, Sly went on to order numerous Panerai's with 'Slytech' and his signature engraved on the rear.
He gave several away as presents, including one to fellow action-man and frenemy, Arnold Schwarzenegger during a promotional event in Germany. Arnie would go on to wear a Panerai Luminor in his upcoming movie Eraser. Numerous co-stars would receive them to wear in the Expendables movie.
But, the unofficial story is rather different. There are timelines that don't seem to add up with the official record. It does seem more likely that Sly already owned a Panerai before filming in Italy even began and his initial relationship with Panerai was more favored towards Sly than we'd perhaps like to believe.
It's very possible that Panerai provided the Italian Stallion with more than 68 watches! 68! No wonder he's been giving them away to buddies like confetti. Hell, throw one my way please 🙂
Yes, Stallone had 2 different types of Luminors created for Daylight. The Submersible and the Daylight. These were meant to be worn in the movie, but they never made it. The full story of why is very interesting - you can buy the book or read a summary of Sly's involvement.
But, suffice to say there was a misalignment of expectations between Sly and Panerai on the original agreement. When Panerai tried to cash in on its product placement with a brochure promoting their 'Sly Tech' collaboration, Sly quickly had it removed. You see, Sly never signed the written agreement with Panerai - but still happily accepted his troupe of watches.
Stallone wore a Panerai Luminor 5218-201/A ("Logo") with a shark leather strap whilst filming Daylight. This model is nicknamed "Logo" because of the large Officine Panerai ("OP") logo above the 6.
It would appear as though he was gifted this watch by the orchestrator of the Panerai / Stallone relationship; Mr. Monty Shadow, approximately one year before Daylight started filming.
Sly wears the Luminor Logo prominently throughout the entire movie (on his right wrist). You get some quality glimpses in several scenes, although it is a little dark:
Luminors have since come a long way with many variations of the Luminor available. The Daylight has also gone through various releases since the movie was released.
But, if you have your heart set on an early 'Sly Tech' Daylight or Submersible be prepared to pay considerably more as they are popular with watch collectors and Stallone fans. Start your search here for used Panerais.
If you don't want to fork out collectors prices for rare pieces, you can always opt for a newer Panerai Luminor. Or if you're not sure whether the chunky look is for your wrist, you can grab a much cheaper Panerai homage first, then invest in a Luminor once you're comfortable with the size.
The Luminor is the quintessential Panerai watch.
Features include a stainless steel case with a black croco-embossed genuine leather strap.
The watch case is 44 millimeters in diameter and 15.5 millimeters thick. This is still a chunky watch so you'll want to ensure your wrists can handle it.
The case back is stainless steel and features the engraved Panerai logo to certify authenticity.
The face of the watch is marked with Arabic numerals. The dial is black which helps the luminescent hands and hour indices to stand out during low light use. The Luminor features two complications: The date at the 3 o'clock position, and a second counting sub-dial at the 9 o'clock position.
The crystal is sapphire with a specialized coating to cut down on glare. Being sapphire, the face is also scratch resistant. A unique feature of Panerai watches, the crown itself is protected by a unique lever. This oversized crown guard makes the watch easy to identify and adds a certain elegance to it.
The watch runs on an automatic C.O.S.C. tested engine developed by Panerai and is water resistant to 30 BAR, or 300 Meters / 1,000 Feet. The Luminor is suitable for swimming, snorkeling, and amateur diving. Coming in at a price of around $5K, this watch is not for everyone. But it is worth every penny for those that do buy it.
Love Panerai's, but can't afford one? We've got you covered with our favorite Panerai homage watches.
Stallone significantly broadened the airtime given to Panerai throughout the Expendable franchise with numerous actors also sporting PAMs.
Stallone wore a Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta Rattrapante chrono (reference PAM332) in the first Expendables movie. Several other stats also wore the PAM332, with Jason Statham's featuring prominently throughout the film. Statham also wore a Panerai in Transporter.
The PAM332 was a limited run of 500 which has added to its collectability. You can still find them for around $10K.
Opting for another Luminor for the Expendables 2, Sly and other cast members wear a Luminor Submersible 1950 Bronzo (reference PAM382).
The 'Bronzo' is a 47mm automatic featuring a green dial, bronze case, one subdial and 300m water resistance. This was also a limited run of 100, and you'll be lucky to find one today for less than $20K.
Stallone gave these to his fellow Expendables 2 actors, but I think it's safe to say that Sly didn't exactly pay retail for them...
Sly has a little surprise for us in the 3rd installment of the Expandables series. In addition to a Panerai he also wears a luxury Richard Mille RM 032 in titanium.
The Panerai he chooses for the cast is a Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Antimagnetic (PAM 389) and Stallone also shoots a few scenes with it on his wrist as you can see below:
Whilst Sly does wear the PAM 389 in a few scenes, it's clear that his timepiece for this film is something altogether different. It's a Richard Mille RM32.
The RM32 is a beast of a watch. At 50mm wide and 17.8mm thick, it's not for the little-wristed amongst us. Hell, it takes large wrist to even come close to pulling this off.
The skeleten dial, chronograph and oversized locking crown adds to the 'busyness' of this 100K+ watch. But, in case this huge diver's watch wasn't conspicuous enough, Stallone has opted for the red diver's strap.
It's quite amusing watching Stallone's character go through so much effort to gear up in full black, except for this bright red strap on his wrist. Who does he think he is, Rambo?!
Stallone wears a much more tactical watch in the 2008 release of Rambo.
It's another Panerai Luminor. This time, it's a PVD Luminor Marina Militare. The case is black PVD, which prevents glare from the watch attracting the unwanted attention of bad guys.
Staying with the tactical theme, Stallone chose a prototype of the Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec Black for the final Rambo film released in 2019.
Stallone is widely touted to be a 'friend of the brand' and has been seen with other Carl F. Bucherer watches.
It's safe to say Sylvester's first watch-love was a Rolex. He purchased a Submariner to celebrate his first real success in Hollywood - selling his Rocky script for $360,000. This was a life-changing event and purchasing the Rolex meant a lot more than just a fine watch.
Sylvester's gold Rolex Submariner with a black dial is his 'pride and joy'. It connects him to the past like no other watch can. Stallone talks about his Submariner with a lot of affection; "It was the first valuable thing I could afford to buy, and I still love it dearly. The strength, the simplicity, the masculine shape — it was perfect."
Amongst Stallone's Rolex collection is a stunning white gold GMT Master II with the iconic Pepsi bezel.
In 2016 Stallone added to his already impressive Rolex collection with a Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller D-Blue 116660, also known as the "James Cameron". He proudly showed it off on Instagram as seen in the below close up:
Wow, Sly has a lot of watches. We haven't covered his entire collection.
Let us know if you want to see more of Sylvester's collection and we'll try to add them!