Novelty watches for him: Panerai unveils LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days PAM700 with 50-year warranty
The use of silicon, ceramic, and DLC in this timepiece means the need for lubrication using oil is a thing of the past
A famous tale in watchmaking circles tells of how watchmakers of previous centuries sought to craft the perfect oil. Creating a clock or watch that kept perfect time had one obvious enemy relentlessly hounding the craftspeople of that era: friction. The watchmakers reasoned that a perfect watch required the perfect oil or lubricant and, with this in mind, attempted to derive improved synthetic lubricants. Some 10 years ago, watchmaking firms began to announce exactly how they would achieve perfect timekeepers — by eliminating lubrication altogether. In 2017, Panerai has achieved this with PAM700 and offers a 50-year guarantee to drive home the point.
Any watch that dares offer a 50-year warranty is going to get a lot of press, so here is our shot at it. By now, you would have already read about the Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days PAM700, so you’ll no doubt be well informed of this novelty’s claim to fame. Rightly then, our story begins beneath the dial, where all the action is. While there are a great many things new about manual-winding calibre P.3001/C, the basic structure is obviously not new. This calibre is based on the P.3000 movement, but with what Panerai says are significant advancements. For one thing, this is the first Panerai watch to feature silicon parts — the escape wheel and the pallet fork. From this auspicious starting point, the watchmakers at Panerai’s Neuchâtel manufacture also added DLC to the going train, the spring barrels and the four jewels of the Incabloc shock absorption system. For good measure, they also used a tantalum-based ceramic for the main bridges and plate. It is all these new materials that allow PAM700 to dispense with lubrication entirely.
Properly speaking though, it isn’t that lubrication isn’t present, merely that the need for oil has been negated. Silicon, ceramic and DLC all have excellent friction co-efficiency, making it unnecessary to add oil into the mix. One might call these self-lubricating or dry-lubricated, but whatever word you choose, the movement does in theory do away with the oil. Given that such mechanical movements have been around for more or less 10 years now, Panerai’s confidence probably has a solid foundation. Back to that dial though, this one is more than just a deeper shade of black. In fact, Panerai has used a coating of carbon nanotubes that absorbs light to deliver the inky darkness of space, which of course contrasts with the blue Super-LumiNova of the signature sandwich dial.
This article was originally published in WOW.