This week at SIHH 2015, Panerai debuted a new professional diver watch, the Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech, which is differentiated by its composite carbon fiber material case.
Often it is hard to determine the benefits of one composite material over another. In this case, Panerai describes their (trademarked, not patented) material as having a matte black appearance, which varies according to the cutting of the material, resulting in each piece being unique. It does not seem a whole lot different than the composite carbon material Richard Mille is using, called NTPT (and for which they have a registered trademark), other than visually. And while the term “composite carbon fiber” is ambiguous, I think the main point is that it is meant to be lightweight and strong, similar to ceramic, titanium or forged carbon, without the disadvantages of forged carbon (used by AP), which is prone to cracking issues, and without the disadvantages of ceramic, which is can shatter if dropped.
According to Panerai, “The structure of Carbotech is designed to enhance both the aesthetics and the performance of the material, which is used to make the case, the rotating bezel and the lever bridge which protects the winding crown. To form the plates of Carbotech from which these components are made, thin sheets of carbon fibres 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 fibres used are very long, so as to ensure great aesthetic uniformity, and the sheets are superimposed and pressed together in such a way that the fibres of each layer are set at a different angle to the ones above and below it. With this structure, the mechanical properties of Carbotech are much higher than those of similar materials or of other materials used in the world of watchmaking, such as ceramics and titanium: Carbotech is lighter than these and much more resistant to external solicitations, as well as being hypoallergenic and not subject to corrosion.”
Inside, is the caliber P.9000 in-house automatic movement which runs at 4Hz and has a 3-day power reserve (72-hours). Functions include hours, minutes, small seconds, date, calculation of immersion time. The case measures 47 mm and is made of Carbotech, except for the caseback which is in blackened titanium.
The dial is black with applied luminous dots and Arabic numerals. The date is at 3 o’clock, seconds at 9 o’clock. The bezel is unidirectional and can track submersion time. Water-resistnace is 300 meters. Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech 3 Days Automatic comes with a black accordion style rubber dive strap. There is a quick release strap feature via a button on the back on each lug on the left side of the caseback. (Ref. PAM00616)