The rise of carbon fiber as a modern material is fast and meteoric. All manner of application have come out of this innovative material. With the advancement of technologies like PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone) and other reinforce polymers, carbon fiber has become strong enough for use as structural materials in applications as diverse as aerospace and civil engineering to sporting goods and now watch cases. The Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech is one of the first on the scene.
Made from thin sheets of carbon fiber fabric, compressed at a controlled temperature under high pressure together with the polymer PEEK. The polymer binds the composite material giving it strength. The resulting material, dubbed Carbotech has an uneven, matt black appearance, and presents a pattern which varies according to the way it is cut. Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech uses this carbotech material for the case, rotating bezel and the lever bridge around the crown. The pattern gives each watch a unique look, and no two are alike.
In the world of Panerai, where many non-hard core enthusiasts find it hard to keep up with the numerous small variations on each of their lines, the use of Carbotech makes it easy to identify. Of course carbon fiber is not new in its application as a watch case. The dial is black with applied luminous Arabic numerals and dots. Legibility is first rate, especially as the watch (and dial) is large with a case diameter of 47mm. The unidirectional rotating bezel serving its duties as a diving watch, and the watch is rated to 300m water resistance.
Other cases with advanced and innovative technologies
Perhaps it may be educational to take a small detour to look at other watch cases which use advanced and innovative technologies. An early example of the use of carbon fiber, possibly the first, is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore in a Forged Carbon Case. A more recent example is found in the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Regatta which also feature a forged carbon case. We also should not forget the use of PEEK in the Bulgari Diagonolo Magnesium Wrist Vault. where it is used to reinforce the strengths of magnesium used in the case. The use of magnesium is also innovative…the material is light and strong, and an unusual appearance compared to the standard materials like steel, titanium or gold.
The movement: Officine Panerai P.9000
The movement is the tested P.9000 caliber, made in-house by Officine Panerai, and used in a series of Luminor 1950 and Radiomir models. Automatic winding, the movement has an autonomy of 3 days and runs at 28,800 bph.
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech Specifications
Recommended retail price €17,500.
Automatic mechanical, P.9000 calibre, executed entirely by Panerai, 13¾ lignes, 7.9 mm thick, 28 jewels, Glucydur® balance, 28,800 alternations/hour. Incabloc® anti-shock device. Power reserve 3 days, two barrels. 197 components.
Functions Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds, Date, Calculation of immersion time
Case Diameter 47mm, carbotech
Bezel carbotech. Anti-clockwise unidirectional rotating bezel with graduated scale.
Back Screw, Titanium with hard black coating
Device protecting the crown carbotech
Dial Black with applied luminous Arabic numerals and dots. Date at 3 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock.
Crystal Sapphire crystal formed of corundum
Water Resistance 30 bar (~300 metres)
Strap Caoutchouc, Black, -, 26.2/21.9 MM Standard