Panerai builds its success on watches that have a clear link to their past as supplier to the Italian Royal Navy, pieces that have a sufficient degree of quirkiness to set them apart from all other brands and make them immediately recognizable. In addition, they don’t make many of them, and so they virtually become collectors’ items as soon as they are introduced. The brand does all it can to ensure that the person who wants to buy one of their watches is a genuine client and not a trader who just wants to resell it.
This year’s collection included the Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech 3 Days Automatic, which looks different from all previous Panerai models because of the material used for case, bezel and crown protector, carbotech, a carbon fibre composite with a striped appearance generated by its structure, based on thin sheets of carbon fibre in which the fibres are long and run parallel, with successive sheets containing fibres running at different angles. The sheets are compressed together and bonded with the polymer Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK), and then the parts are cut from the material. The interaction of light with the carbon surface produces the stripes that are different from one piece to the next. Carbotech shares all the other characteristics of carbon fibre: lightness, strength, non-allergenic, and corrosion-resistant.
Apart from the material, the design takes a lot from Panerai’s history. The case is based on the Luminor model developed by Panerai in the late 1940s for the Italian Navy divers, with large 47 mm size, unidirectional rotating bezel, and 300 metres water resistance. The markers on the bezel are small studs, a feature based on the classic 60-mm Egyptian made in 1956 (click here to see a photo of Sylvester Stallone wearing his Egyptian). The case back is solid, in titanium, with engraved details including “Florence 1860,” the brand’s original location and date of foundation, and an image of the tiny submarine, basically just a giant powered torpedo, nicknamed “maiale” (pig) and used by the Italian Navy in the Second World War.
The watch is powered by the in-house P.9000 Calibre movement, with 72 hours power reserve (3 days) provided by the two barrels, an oscillating weight that transfers energy to the mainspring in both directions of oscillation, and the possibility of adjusting the time by setting just the hour, in increments of exactly one hour, while not touching the minute hand. Useful for travellers at time-zone changes. The watch has a black rubber strap, and it is supplied with a spare strap and a screwdriver.
Price and availability
The Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech PAM00616 has a price of£12,700, available from winter 2015.