SIHH 2015: Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech

Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 CarbotechPanerai has launched several new versions of the Submersible, its hyper-masculine, professional-grade divers’ watch. The most unusual is the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech 3 Days Automatic.


The case, rotating bezel, and crown protecting lever bridge of the new Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 (Ref. PAM00616) are made of carbotech, a composite material based on carbon fiber, used here for the very first time in watchmaking. The material has an uneven, matte black appearance with (to my eyes) an almost wood-grain-like texture, which varies according the cutting of the material. This means that each object made of this material is essentially a unique piece.

Panerai Carbotech - front

Carbotech’s structure is designed to enhance both the aesthetics and the performance of the material. To form the plates that give carbotech its distinctive look, thin sheets of carbon fibers are compressed at a controlled temperature under high pressure together with a high-end polymer, PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone), which binds the composite material, making it even stronger and more durable. The carbon fibers used are very long, to ensure aesthetic uniformity, and the sheets are superimposed and pressed together in such a way that the fibers of each layer are set at a different angle to the ones above and below it. The resulting material boasts mechanical properties much higher than those of similar materials used in watchmaking, such as ceramics and titanium. Carbotech, according to Panerai, is lighter than both and more resistant to corrosion as well as being hypoallergenic.

Panerai Carbotech - side CU

The familiar Panerai Luminor 1950 case (which is a hefty 47 mm in diameter), developed by Panerai in the late 1940s for Italian Navy commandos, is still quite recognizable here, despite the futuristic case material. It has unidirectional rotating divers’ bezel with markers consisting of small studs, a detail inspired by another Panerai watch created for the Egyptian Navy in 1956. The case has been tested for water-resistance up to 300 meters.

The black dial of the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech has applied hour markers, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a small-seconds subdial, marked by detailing in “Panerai blue,” at 9 o’clock. The screw-down caseback, which helps to ensure the watch’s high level of water-resistance, is in black-treated titanium and engraved with characteristic Panerai elements, including an illustration of the slow-speed torpedo (nicknamed the “pig”) on which Panerai watch-equipped Italian Navy commandos rode during their seagoing missions in the 1940s.


Panerai Carbotech - bezel CU
Panerai Carbotech - back

Inside the Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech (though, obviously, not visible through the caseback) is Panerai’s P.9000 automatic caliber, developed and manufactured in-house. The movement (13 3⁄4 lignes in diameter), has two spring barrels, which provide a power reserve of three days, and the winding rotor swings in both directions. To ensure accuracy when setting the time, the movement has a device that stops the balance wheel while the hour hand moves forward or backward in increments of one hour, without impeding the progress of the minute hand. The oscillation frequency of the balance is 28,800 vibrations per hour.

The Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech 3 Days Automatic – 47 MM is fitted with a black rubber strap, personalized for the first time with the classic Officine Panerai “OP logo” in the same Panerai blue as the dial details. It will retail for 15,700 euros.