18 October 2017
It is so revolutionary that Officine Panerai’s Panerai Lab-ID™ Luminor 1950 Carbotech™ might be considered a concept watch. But it is actually on sale, although in an edition of 50 pieces bearing the year of production (and so not for everyone, not even where the price is concerned). In fact it is a compendium of innovations, some of them developed in-house and some borrowed from other manufacturers, with carbon fiber taking the leading role: a high-tech material with particular chemical and physical properties, such as lightness and strength. Commencing with the case, made of carbotech: introduced into watchmaking by Panerai in 2015, this is a compound of carbon fiber and PEEK (polyether ether ketone, a thermoplastic polymer) with high levels of mechanical performance that is hypoallergenic and not subject to corrosion; in addition, its uneven structure means that each watch has a different appearance. Then there is the dial: it has a typical “sandwich” construction, but is coated with carbon nanotubes, a technique used in astronomy that allows it to absorb almost all the light that falls on it and makes it a very deep shade of black. But above all the movement: hand-wound mechanical, obviously developed in house, with a skeletonized structure and a power reserve of 3 days, it combines components made of tantalum-based ceramic (which has a high carbon content) with others made of silicon and yet others hardened with a coating of DLC (diamond-like carbon). It is for this reason that it is mounted on just 4 rubies, requires no lubrication and comes with a 50-year guarantee. Truly futuristic.