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.
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.
In 1932, the household’s direction of this firm ended with the death of Frédéric-Emile because his only daughter, Berthe-Nellie, didn’t want to go into the watchmaking world.During the last eight decades, the company has continued to create some of the most outstanding timepieces, like the Blancpain 1735 which is an actual grand complication and among the most complex mechanical watches ever produced. It brings together the greatest watchmaking complications: tourbillon, minute copying, perpetual calendar, moon phase calendar and flyback chronograph. An whole year is needed to build this caliber.Since it was set up, Blancpain was contributing to the development of mechanical watchmaking, while preserving the traditional skills of its creator. That resulted in reduced production of premium quality bits; Blancpain generates fewer than 10,000 watches per year.Blancpain continuously enriches its watches, still staying faithful to its centuries-old heritage. This command of the watchmaking procedure allows total freedom in the introduction of movements with the highest performances. The results are some of the most complex movements ever that are created by the aesthetic codes of this manufacturer.
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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