Hubert Burda Media

SIHH 2017 Highlights: Panerai

The Swiss brand’s revolutionary take on timekeeping and design is headlined by two avant-garde watches.

Demonstrating how material innovation sits at the core of its DNA, Panerai introduces the Panerai Lab-ID and Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-TECH 3 Days Automatic — two watches featuring materials that are both progressive and extremely functional.

The former is a revolutionary timepiece that Panerai is offering a 50-year guarantee for. The watch’s case, dial and movement is made of carbon composites, resulting in a watch with superior technical performance and a movement that works perfectly without the need for lubricants, one of the greatest banes in watchmaking. The case is made of the lightweight, resistant and hardy carbotech, a material Panerai premiered in 2015 and that is composed of layers of carbon bound together with an organic polymer called Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK). The unusually deep black dial of the watch is the result of a special coating composed of carbon nanotubes, a material used for the first time in watchmaking that has the ability to absorb light. This serves as the perfect backdrop for the blue Super-LumiNova hour markers and hands that illuminate the time.

The Panerai Lab-ID’s most remarkable feature is its movement, the semi-skeletonised P.3001/C hand-wound calibre that needs no form of lubrication thanks to its ingenious material makeup. Composed of only four jewels (most watches need at least 17), the main bridges and plate are made of a Diamond Like Carbon (DLC)-coated composite that includes a tantalum-based ceramic, a special material with a high percentage of carbon that makes lubrication and jewels unnecessary. The main parts of the escapement are made of silicon while the wheels are coated in DLC. A surface coating of DLC on the jewels also eliminates the need to further lubricate the Incabloc anti-shock device. The two spring barrels of the movement have also been dry lubricated and feature different layers of carbon coating, with DLC on the top layer. Offered only in 50 exclusive pieces, each watch also carries an attractive retail price of around €50,000.

Lab-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech, front and back view

Also revolutionary is the Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-TECH 3 Days Automatic, which debuts a new material: Bulk Metallic Glass (BMG), a glass-like alloy (consisting zirconium, copper, aluminium, titanium and nickel) with a similar atomic structure to titanium. Extremely resilient, robust and light, BMG is used in the watch’s case, bezel, winding crown and crown protection device. Resistant to corrosion, shock and magnetism, it is particularly useful for underwater use. Complementing the BMG’s everlasting grey colour is a deep blue dial that features a highly reflective polished finish. Time is made even more legible thanks to two different types of Super-Luminova on the markers.

Powered by the new P.9010 automatic calibre with a power reserve of three days, it features a date function and a small seconds counter at 9 o’clock. Thanks to a mechanism that stops the balance wheel from oscillating, the hours can be set backwards or forwards without disrupting the timekeeping function.

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