We here at ATimelyPerspective have long respected and been friends with Panerai Central — experts on all-things Panerai. Therefore, with the introduction of the brand’s newest LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech watch, it only made sense to go to the experts for a close-up look at what really sets this watch apart.
It wasn’t too long ago that Panerai introduced its first Carbotech material (2015) that was used for the first time in the Panerai PAM616 Submersible. Carbotech is a composite material based on carbon fiber rarely used in the world of watchmaking. Carbotech has an uneven, matt black appearance, that varies according to the cutting of the material, resulting in a unique finish per case. The structure of Carbotech is designed to enhance both the aesthetics and performance of the case; the material is also used for the rotating bezel, and the lever bridge that protects the winding crown. To form the material, thin sheets of carbon fiber are compressed, together with a high-end polymer polyether ether ketone (PEEK), at a controlled temperature under high pressure to bind it and make it stronger and more durable.
This year, the brand used this Carbotech material — along with some super features and surprises — in the Panerai PAM700 LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech. LAB-ID stands for Laboratorio di Idee, the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchatel, Switzerland.
Easily one of the most extraordinary parts of the watch is the dial. The Panerai LAB-ID dial utilizes carbon nanotubes to achieve a deep black dial. The top of the dial has been coated with these nanotubes that are specially developed to absorb light, reducing reflections to a minimum, and giving it an almost black-hole effect. This top layer of the dial covers the Super-LumiNova of the sandwich-style dial that Panerai invented. The Super-LumiNova in the watch is electric blue — marking the first time we have seen this color used for a Panerai Lume. With the combination of the deep black dial and bold bright blue, when illuminated, the PAM700 almost looks like an LED display.
Because the dial is coated with the carbon nanotubes, the brand was unable to put the words, Officine Panerai and LAB-ID, directly on the actual dia, so the text is actually formed on the sapphire crystal, which is finished with a double anti-reflective coating.
Lovingly referred to at SIHH as the 50-50-50 watch, the PAM 700 Lab ID is being made in a limited edition of 50 units each retailing for 50,000 Euro, and being sold with an unheard-of 50-year warranty. Yes, you heard that right, a 50-year warrant — thanks to a number of amazing advancements Panerai utilizes in the LAB-ID’s movement.
The Panerai PAM700 LAB-ID utilizes a P.3001/C hand wound in-house movement and features a 3-day power reserve. This is the first time that this particular movement has been presented with a semi-skelotonized design. Add to this beautiful design the fact that no additional lubrication is used and only 4 total jewels are housed in this movement and you have a breakthrough of epic proportions.
The major advancements that allow the Panerai PAM700 to have a liquid-lubrication-free movement — allowing it to not need a major service or overhaul of the movement — and guaranteeing the piece for 50 years:
- The components are made of a completely new material that is a Tantalum-based ceramic. This new composite has a very high carbon percentage that minimizes the pivot friction, making lubrication of the main plate and bridges unnecessary.
- The P.3001/C movement’s main escapement components are made from silicon and applied with a DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coating to the wheel work to eliminate the need for lubricating the escapement.
- The two barrel springs of the P.3001 Caliber are coated with a material that took two years of testing by the Laboratorio di Idee in the Neuchatel factory. The coating — based on carbon — eliminates the need for conventional lubrication.
- A surface coating of DLC on the 4 jewels means that there no longer is a need for additional lubrication on the Incabloc anti-shock device.
This technologically advanced P.3001/C movement, with skeletonized bridges and barrels, can be seen through the sapphire crystal case back, which presents a view into the power reserve indicator. The PAM 700 Lab ID is a 49mm case water resistance up to 100 meters. It should be noted that while the watch has a 50-year warranty, Panerai experts recommend it be “looked at” every six years so they can check the movement and replace gaskets to ensure the integrity of the water resistance.
As mentioned, the watch sells for 50,000 Euros, and just 50 will be made. For a full review of the watch, visit PaneraiCentral.