During SIHH 2017 there were several noteworthy watches unveiled to the public, and probably one of the most surprising novelties was the Panerai LAB-ID, a Luminor 1950 with a carbon fibre case, a deep black dial coated with carbon nanotubes, and a movement that does not need any lubrication. A creation of the Panerai Laboratorio di Idee, the LAB-ID, reminds me the concept cars we see at auto salons, where car manufacturers would flex their muscles, showing off what they are capable of and what to expect in the future.
The 49 mm case is made of carbotech, a composite material based on thin layers of carbon fibre pressed together with an organic polymer, resulting in a light, yet very resistant material that when is cut has an uneven black finish. Every LAB-ID case has a unique texture.
This sandwich dial is unlike any other watch dial ever made because of its special carbon nanotube coating that absorbs most of the visible light. It is a black that is really hard to fathom, a deep back that only astronauts saw before, during their space walks. Here is a video demonstrating the effect of such a coating:
As you see, the result is rather disturbing, it is out of this world, it’s like staring at a black hole, and the LAB-ID dial has the same effect. The contrast with the blue hour markers and the hands is absolutely stunning. Because it’s impossible to print on a surface coated with carbon nanotubes, the text is printed directly on the interior of the sapphire crystal.
The LAB-ID is powered by a very special version of the P.3001 movement, the P.3001/C where C probably stand for carbon. The bridges and the plate of this semi-skeletonized movement are made from a low friction composite with Tantalum-based ceramic, minimising pivot friction, making jewels and lubrication unnecessary — the P.3001/C has only four jewels.
The main component of the escapement is made from silicon and it has a special DLC coating, further eliminating the need to lubricate. The two spring barrels too, have several layers of carbon-based coating, and even the four jewels were DLC coated eliminating the need for conventional lubrication.
Unlike concept cars, the Panerai LAB-ID is not a one-of-a-kind watch, it is limited to 50 pieces and it can be yours for €50,000. Thanks to all these innovations, the watch is guaranteed for 50 years.
For more about Panerai and the extraordinary LAB-ID, visit www.panerai.com