The use of materials in innovative and beneficial ways is the current “space race” in contemporary mechanical watches, and Panerai wants to show that it’s no slouch in this arena. The brand-new-for-2017 Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days PAM 700 watch utilizes different materials in its movement that have reduced friction to a minimum. In fact, the brand claims that this reduction of friction should allow the movement to be “guaranteed for 50 years” due to the fact that it does not need lubrication. I’ll get into the details of it a little bit more, but it’s a fascinating development that only 50 people will get to enjoy for now, since that’s the number of pieces that will be made in this limited edition run.
If the watch has been compromised (as many watches were prone to back then), he needed to rely on alternate means for timekeeping, or abort the dive to prevent decompression illness (or worse). Additionally, it is probably worth pointing out that such a shield is admittedly somewhat absurd on an ultra-modern dive watch that’s already water-resistant to some devastating 300 meters (and costs $14k), however the charm of this Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms Mil-Spec isn’t its utility, but its admirable devotion to the source material.Speaking of source material, though the situation size to the Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms Mil-Spec has been increased from 37mm to 40mm, it’s still a merciful reduction from the previous time we saw a Tribute to Fifty Fathoms, that was able to actually wear larger than its sacrilegious 45mm case thickness. This 40mm instance is actually the sweet spot for Blancpain sailors such as the Mil-Spec, which eventually strikes that nice balance between carrying the highly polished visual burden of being a contemporary “luxury diver” while still remaining true for Fiechter’s original vision. If this is a harbinger of what is to come for another generation of Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms collection, think about us lovers.
The Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days PAM 700 watch is able to make its 50-year promise due to four innovations utilized in the new P.3001/C Calibre movement. The first of these innovations is the use of dry lubricated barrels, in which the two mainspring barrels have a multi-layer coating with a final layer of DLC. Then, there is the silicon escapement which is predominantly made of silicon and also has an uppermost coating of DLC. Thirdly, the main bridges and plate are done using a low-friction composite material that integrates Tantalum-based ceramic and removes the need for additional lubrication. This reduces the need for jewels and their requisite lubrication because pivot friction is already minimized due to the composite’s high carbon percentage. As a result, only four jewels are used and they also have a DLC coating on them eliminating the need to further lubricate the Incabloc shock system.
The manual wind P.3001/C Calibre movement has, as I mentioned, four DLC covered jewels and operates at 21,600vph. Power reserve is, you guessed it, three days between two barrels. Something else worth mentioning is that there is a seconds reset function, so when the time is being set the balance stops and the seconds hand returns to zero.
Moving on to the Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days PAM 700 dial, Panerai coated it with carbon nanotubes. What this has done is that it essentially allows the dial to absorb more light and reduce reflection while enhancing the blackness of dial and making the blue Superluminova on the hands and markers look even more vivid. Since they couldn’t print or stamp on the dial, the text and figures are applied straight onto the crystal which then has the double-antireflective coating applied.
The 49mm-wide case is water-resistant to 100M and is made of Carbotech, which is a carbon-fibre based composite we’ve seen in a few Panerai watches in the recent past. Thin sheets of carbon fiber are compressed at high pressures in a controlled temperature with a polymer called PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone), a process which binds the two and makes the resulting product stronger.
Seeing the integration of innovative materials in watch movements is something I’m looking forward to following closely. Making the need for lubrication superfluous while boasting a 50-year guarantee is a good way for Panerai and their Liboratorio Di Idee, or LAB-ID, division to get attention, and I doubt it’s a claim they’d make unless they felt safe that it’s realistic. Personally, I don’t really care about the 50-year guarantee too much but rather am interested in seeing how well new techniques work as well as seeing how realistic their proliferation can be. Price for the Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days PAM 700 watch is €50,000. panerai.com
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