Based in Firenze, Italy, Panerai & Figli were known originally as specialists in the manufacture of instruments for the Italian Navy; today the Company is owned by a Swiss luxury goods organisation and produce expensive, high-end watches. Although a nation with a long tradition of high-class engineering, few Italian-based makers of specialist miniature precision machine tools are known. However, the Panerai was an exception, and a translation of the introduction to maker' brochure (circa the 1950s to 1970s) summarizes the Company's "philosophy" in regard to their machine tools :
Our high precision lathes are built along the most modern processes of mechanical technology, with scientifically chosen materials and are treated in every single component. The modern high-class machine tools of our plant, the special devices, the exacting tests of every single part, allow us to build flawless lathes with perfect interchangeability, able to withstand every kind of comparison with the best foreign production.
The metals used to build our lathes are appropriately seasoned, in order to be completely stable before the finishing steps are completed.
We can, therefore, affirm that to produce our lathes we studied each element of the building in detail, in order to obtain a really high-class product, that would be the pride of the Italian industry.
Beautifully finished, the lathes were built entirely in-house with even the nickel and chrome plating performed on-site to ensure, as the brochure explained, the best execution to avoid damage to parts in this delicate operation. On the headstock, tailstock and cross-slide the nickel plating was given an attractive "brushed" finished that, unfortunately in photographs, can look rather as though it's been "sandpapered".
Two models were offered, both of traditional pattern: the G.P.1 a WW (Webster Whitcombe) model with a flat-topped, bevelled edged bed and G.P. 2, a much lighter Geneva type with a round, cantilever-form bed with a key-way guide running along the underside.
Of 50 mm centre height and taking an 8 mm collet, the G.P.1 could be had in two bed length of 300 or 400 mm that gave, respectively, 80 and 180 mm between centres. The 40 mm centre height G.P.2 could be fitted with headstocks to take either 6 or 8 mm collets and was offered in bed lengths of 200, 250, 300, and 400 mm giving between-centres capacities of 50, 100, 150 and 250 mm.
Supplied in boxed sets, three versions of the G.P.1 were listed from the basic G.P.1/8/A (with a hand T-rest, a screw-feed tailstock barrel, collet tube and a single 3 mm collet to), the G.P.1/8/B with a much greater range of equipment and the comprehensively specified G.P.1/8/C that included a compound feed-screw slide rest, a set of wire and stepped collets, 3-jaw ring scroll and 6-jaw chucks, carriers, a pivoting and self-centering drilling attachment, a Jacot drum, box and wax chucks and various runners, etc. The G.P.2 was also offered in three boxed sets: the basic G.P.2/6/A, intermediate G.P.2/6/B and top-of-the-line G.P.2/6/c. Also available as a self-contained unit, the G.P.1 could be supplied complete on an iron-framed under-drive stand with a wooden top that featured a most unusual let-in accessory tray covered with an unbreakable plate-glass cover - and two storage drawers in the front. The motor was controlled by a rheostat - giving variable-speed drive - and supplied with the unit was an integral "overhead" (to power grinding and drilling spindles mounted in place of the toolpost) an articulated-arm light unit (not illustrated) and a dust cover.
For both models, the usual wide range of accessories was offered with most, including the collets and chucks, made by Panerai. These including wire, fir-tree and cone collets; box and wax chucks, 3-jaw chucks with ordinary and reversible face jaws, 4-jaw and 6-jaw chucks; lantern and wheel chucks, emery wheels, a carrier chuck, hand T-rests, carriers, Jacot drums, tailstock runners, safety pulley, self-centring drilling and pivoting attachments, faceplates with pump centres and dogs (clamps), quick-set toolposts, etc..