When Officine Panerai unveiled the all-new LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech last month at SIHH 2017, the watchmaker debuted more than a timepiece with what the brand claims to be the blackest dial on the market. It delivered something far more unprecedented: a watch with a 50-year warranty.
Panerai went mega steps further with the movement behind the Panerai LAB-ID—named after the brand’s Laboratorio di Idee, where the new product ideas are conceived—hinging its lengthy pledge on a mix of innovative materials and techniques that eschew the need for a few simple, though essential, factors in traditional watchmaking: lubricants.
Here, the main components of the in-house P.3001/C hand-wound movement, namely the main plate and bridges, are made of a composite tantalum-based ceramic that minimizes friction. The escapement parts are made from silicon and a DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating is applied to the wheelwork, four ruby jewels, and two barrel springs (which feature several different layers of carbon-based coatings). Each of these steps eliminates the need to service the semi-skeletonized, three-day power reserve movement before the 50 year mark.
What the LAB-ID is Made Of
The watch features an equally high-tech dial to match the innovations inside. Using a sandwich dial technique that the brand is known for, Panerai coats the top dial with a carbon nanotube coating specially developed to absorb light, significantly reducing reflections and giving the dial a super black appeal. The bottom dial—specifically, where the numbers and markers show through the cutouts in the top dial—is with a superb bright blue Super-LumiNova. The “Officine Panerai” and “LAB-ID” names are etched directly onto the sapphire crystal.
The 49mm case and bezel is made of Carbotech, a composite material consisting of carbon fiber and a high-tech polymer polyether ether ketone (PEEK) that are fused at a controlled temperature under high pressure. The result makes for a unique matte look and ultra durability.
Price and Availability
The LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech has been made in a limited edition of 50 pieces, and retails for 50,000 euro, or $51,400—hence the SIHH nickname of the 50-50-50 watch. The timepiece will become available fall 2017 at select Panerai boutiques worldwide. panerai.com.
For more innovative, high-tech watches, read our reviews of the Audemars Piguet Diamond Outrage Sapphire, the Richard Mille RM 037 NTPT Carbon Set, and the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600.