Oliver Smith Jeweler is a well-known name in the Southwest. As a Scottsdale, AZ institution, the jeweler established its reputation over four decades, thanks to an expertly curated selection of goods, its own jewelry line, and an experienced watch repair team. Such a standing in the Arizona community underpins the reason Oliver Smith Jeweler is the only place in the state that one can find Panerai, Buccellati, Hermès, A. Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Bremont, and Blancpain. An expansion into Colorado came on the back of this success, when Oliver Smith opened the official Panerai Aspen Boutique a couple of years back. Now, after establishing a loyal client base in the new area, Oliver Smith is opening a separate showroom above the existing Panerai boutique where rare and historical pieces can be displayed for the public.
The newest branch of the business is run by Smith’s daughter Elizabeth and will present customers with a unique environment. Not only does the mountainous setting create a remarkable ambiance, but so too will the products play their part, with many of the timepieces for sale significant vintage entries from Panerai’s history. Part store, part museum, the vintage Panerai showroom is built around Smith’s personal reputation as a buyer and seller of classic vintage timepieces.
Part of the pleasure of visiting this new addition to the official boutique is learning about the personal histories of the watches available to purchase. Many of the watches present have seen real military action, with famous models such as the “3646 anonymous dial” having spent time on the wrist of a combat diver during World War II. Handling pieces of such historical importance is a job for an experienced team whose responsibility it is to ensure not only the safety and upkeep of the timepiece in question, but also to guarantee that its legacy is effectively communicated and that the truth behind its existence is passed on to the next owner. Preserving such characterful background is essential for the industry, and Smith, who has a 20-year long relationship with Panerai, is the man to do it.
“No one in the United States specializes in estate Panerai watches like we do,” says Oliver Smith. “Each piece in the selection has been thoroughly researched and handpicked specifically for its aesthetics, history, and significance within the Panerai universe. We spend time analyzing every historic Panerai watch — if you’re buying vintage you need to know provenance. Dials, movements, crowns, and casebacks all add to the history of each watch.”
Smith has long understood the many sales arguments that exist for a luxury watch, be they grounded in horological history, personal provenance, or mainstream fashion trends. As such, his relationship with Panerai has prospered since the late ’90s after he became one of the very first dealers in the United States.
With such experience with the brand, Smith predicts the current collectors’ obsession with pieces from the ‘70s and ‘80s will soon shift to the 90s, when Panerai production spiked. His team is planning for the future when it comes to the acquisitions they make.
“The Oliver Smith team takes great pride in our estate watch acquisitions and in representing the Panerai brand. We want clients to feel comfortable in coming to us for guidance and selection,” says Smith, nodding towards the importance of placing before an interested public not only what was and what is interesting to them, but what the experts have an inkling might be the next big thing.
These exceptional models of rich history will be showcased on the second floor of the boutique in Aspen and in the Oliver Smith store in Scottsdale. Watch pricing and availability will be offered upon request. To learn more, please visit oliversmithjeweler.com.
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