The watch world loves commemorating a good birthday, and for 2020, Panerai celebrates ’70 Years Of Luminor’ with a new Luminor Marina collection. The maison known for its diving watches, first supplied timing instruments to elite Italian special forces in the 1930s, has every reason to celebrate. The occasion is not only just the commemoration for the foundational watch itself, but also the substance, the very essence, used in the diver’s watch itself – luminous material.
Scientifically speaking, light transfer through water, where Italian commandoes often operated, is affected in complex ways by water molecules, material dissolved in the water, and scattering by suspended particles. Hence in 1950, Panerai conceived of a patented luminous material called Luminor (hence bequeathing the name to the watch collection). To celebrate the 70th anniversary of that milestone, Panerai is releasing a trio of highly luminous Luminor Marina models that use the material not just as a practical feature but design element.
Though all three ’70 Years Of Luminor’ new Luminor Marina collection share similar 44mm case dimensions and the signature Luminor Marina case profile with recognisable locking crown guard, set to the right of the cushion-case. The three new 2020 Panerai Luminor Marina editions: PAM 1117, PAM 1118 and PAM 1119 will also use the manufacture 3-day P.9010 calibre but what will make each distinct creations will be the use of three different materials, emblematic of Panerai’s spirit of innovation: titanium, Carbotech and Fibratech.
While many might be somewhat familiar with titanium thanks to its almost ubiquitous use in a wide array of consumer items, Carbotech, a proprietary material based on carbon fibre, has been something that Panerai has been using since 2015. Carbotech is lighter and more corrosion resistant than titanium, while having the added benefit of creating a unique design for each and every watch: essentially, this means that no two Panerai Carbotech Luminor Marinas’ will be exactly alike.
Sheets of carbon fibre are compressed under high pressure in a temperature controlled environment along with polymer PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone), binding the material which results in a stronger and more durable carbotech composite.
In addition to carbotech, Laboratorio di Idee, the innovation arm of Panerai, also conceived of fibratech. 60% lighter than steel, Panerai’s Fibratech takes inspiration from the aerospace industry and is created much in a similar fashion to carbon fibre: by binding unidirectional mineral fibres in polymer to create layers, and then compressing those layers with heat and pressure to create the case. But here is where it gets fun – we’ve seen luminous material on hands and indexes, we’ve even seen them woven into the case but now Panerai is using a new grade of stronger, enduring Super-LumiNova called “X1” and using it in it not just the usual elements but also structural elements of the watch themselves.
This really takes the guesswork out of what you’re looking at while down in the depths of the ocean – when you catch the lume on the inner bezel, the crown and crown guard and even the strap (it’s in the stitching), you’re absolutely certain you’re looking at your watch as opposed to some other instrument in the darkness.
That said, in the flash and spectacle of marvellous innovation, it’s easy to miss the most compelling part of the new Panerai Luminor Marina collection: 70 years warranty for its 70th anniversary. In all honesty, it is comes as somewhat a surprise that it’s only of late that luxury timepieces – objects which are supposed to last more than a lifetime, started to enjoy a warranty period longer than 2 years. While the warranty of the new Panerai Luminor Marina collection is at least the length of one lifetime, it’s a pity that this warranty tenure isn’t shared by the other references in the collection – after all, what greater testament of belief in your own products?
New Panerai ’70 Years Of Luminor’ Marina Collection Price & Specs
Movement Automatic P. 9100 calibre with 3 days power reserve
Case 44mm titanium, carbotech, fibratech case with 300 metres water resistance
Strap Sportech strap with luminescent stitching
Price $19,000 (titanium); $16,000 (carbotech); $19,000 (fibratech)