Looking back at the past couple of years, Officine Panerai has been taking a step forward and flexing its innovative muscles with some interesting technological creations. Last year they created the PAM578, a titanium tourbillon piece by utilizing 3D printing. In 2015 they introduced us to proprietary Carbotech material which was used for the first time in the Panerai PAM616 Submersible. This year they used this amazing forged carbon like material in the Panerai PAM700 LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech. This PAM700 doesn’t stop there in terms of technological advancements for the historic Italian brand.
LAB-ID stands for Laboratorio di Idee which is the location where all the brainstorming and ideas happen at the Panerai Manufacture located in Neuchatel, Switzerland.
Even though it uses the same Carbotech that we have seen before, it’s the combination of the rest of the features that makes this particular SIHH 2017 novelty like no other Panerai that has ever been released.
Lets first start with what looks like a standard black dial because in fact it’s nothing close to ordinary. The Panerai LAB-ID utilizes carbon nanotubes to achieve a deep black dial. The top of the dial has been coated with these nanotubes which are specially developed to absorb light, reducing reflections to a minimum and giving it an almost black hole effect. This top layer of the dial covers the Super-LumiNova, which in this watch is an electric blue color, creating the sandwich dial which was invented by Panerai. This is the first time we have seen such a color used for a Panerai Lume. With the combination of the deep black dial, when illuminated the PAM700 almost looks like an LED display.
One thing you will notice that is not only the dial when you see this beauty in person is that the words Officine Panerai and LAB-ID are not printed on the actual dial. Because it is not possible to print or stamp a dial with the nanotube coating, all of this text is actually formed on the crystal itself and finished off with a double anti-reflective coating.
At the show, the PAM700 slowly became known as the 50-50-50 watch because there are only 50 units of this special edition being created, will cost 50,000 Euro, and will come with an unheard of 50-year warranty. Yes, you heard that right, a 50-year warranty! I know you are wondering how they can make such a claim and back it up right? Well there are number of amazing advancements that Panerai utilizes in the LAB-ID’s movement that make it possible.
The Panerai PAM700 LAB-ID utilizes a P.3001/C hand wound in-house movement and features a 3-day power reserve. This is the first time that this particular movement has been presented with a semi-skelotonized design. Add to this beautiful design the fact that there is no additional lubrication and only 4 total jewels in this movement and you have a breakthrough of epic proportions. There are 4 major advancements that allow the Panerai PAM700 to have a liquid lubrication free movement allowing it to not need a major service, overhauling the movement, and guaranteeing the piece for 50 years.
- To remove the need for further lubricating the main bridges and the plate, these components are made of a completely new material which is a Tantalum based ceramic. This new composite has a very high carbon percentage which minimizes the pivot friction, making a jewel and lubrication unnecessary.
- The P.3001/C movement has also removed the need to lubricate the escapement by making the main components from silicon and applying a DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coating to the wheel work.
- Two years of testing by the Laboratorio di Idee in the Neuchatel factory indentified the best type of coating which is based on carbon to treat the components of the two spring barrels of the P.3001 Calibre. This coating makes the need for conventional lubrication unneeded.
- A surface coating of DLC on the 4 jewels means that there no longer is a need to add additional lubrication on the Incabloc anti-shock Device.
This technologically advanced P.3001/C movement can be seen through the sapphire crystal case back which presents a view into the power reserve indicator. By skeletonizing the bridges and barrels it makes it even easier to admire such an amazing work of art.
All of this beauty is completed and houses in a 49mm case which is water resistance up to 100 Meters or 10 Bar.
I did want to mention one thing that I found out while speaking to the heads of the Panerai Manufacture on my recent visit there. During the show everyone was asking me if the watch needed to ever be sent in for service etc during the 50 years. I didn’t have the initial answer but after speaking to them they did make me aware that they recommend having the watch looked at every 6 years. This is only for them to actually check the gaskets on the watch not the actual movement. So while there is no need to check the actual movement, they do want to make sure the integrity of the the water resistance is in place since gaskets will naturally dry over time.
As previously mentioned this PAM700 LAB-ID Special edition will be limited to only 50 pieces world wide and have an MSRP of €50,000.
With a high price point and limited production run, the Panerai PAM700 won’t be able to make it into the hands of everyday Panerai owners. With all the R&D that went into the creation of an amazing movement as well as ultra black dial, it would have been nice to have seen some of these features in a regular production piece. I figure we might have to wait to see some of these combinations in a regular production run Panerai, but even one of the features like the dial and lume combo or non lubricated movement would be fine for me in a piece that is within in reach. I guess we might have to wait a bit before we can see it but I am very sure that it would be an instant winner if it ever hit the production line.
All in all the PAM700 is a great display of the recent technological advancements that Panerai has been creating out of Neuchatel. It’s almost to say to the watch community that we can innovate and push the boundaries with the best of them and I think they are doing a great job of it. Is it for everyone, probably not. Is it impressive what they have been able to do? 100%.