Panerai Introduces The Submersible Elux LAB-ID

by The Balance Coq

  • June 15, 2024
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Famous for its early innovations in the field of luminescence, such as the renowned Radiomir and Luminor compounds, Panerai always draws from its rich archives to explore sources of inspiration for new striking concept watches.  In its relentless pursuit of innovation, Panerai identified Elux, a technology historically patented on June 15, 1966 as a result of years of diligent research, marking a significant leap forward in the field of luminescence.

An abbreviation of ‘elettroluminescenza’ to mean electroluminescence, Elux were originally electroluminescent panels composed of uniformly luminous surfaces available in various sizes, shapes and materials with their luminescence constantly maintained by an electric field.  These panels, completely free from radioactive substances, were exceptionally durable, being both shock and vibration-resistant, making them suitable for a wide range of applications.  Furthermore, they were energy-efficient, powered by both portable batteries and fixed AC supply, and the intensity of the light could be adjusted as needed.  This combination of features made these panels versatile, robust and adaptable to different environments and requirements.

Elux Panerai was a significant instrument for the Italian Navy, where the demand for reliable and efficient lighting was paramount.  These panels were specifically designed to enhance the luminescence of naval instruments.  Their use was particularly prominent in crucial areas such as command centers and internal signaling boards on ships.  As a reliable and efficient light source, it allowed for easy reading of instrument displays under various conditions, including low-light scenarios.  One notable development was their utilization in creating luminous pathways and signage for helicopter landing on the decks of military ships in the Italian Navy to assist with night landings or in poor visibility conditions.

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The new Submersible Elux LAB-ID PAM01800 is the culmination of a journey that draws from the historic patented Elux Panerai invention and a perfect expression of the purpose of the Laboratorio di Idee.  Reflecting eight years of dedicated Research&Development at Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel, the new timepiece represents an actualized mission that exemplifies the Maison’s historic expertise in luminescence with its renowned mechanical watchmaking – the creation of a fully mechanical movement, that can power light on demand. PAM01800 is a watchmaking feat with four patent* system, 50 bar (~500 meters) water resistance and a 30-minute power light feature, all encapsulated in a 49mm case diameter.  On-demand lighting powered by fully mechanical energy storage, a breakthrough innovation.  With a simple gesture of opening the patented pusher-protector system and activating the mechanism through the pusher, the watch illuminates through a mechanism conceived by the Panerai Laboratorio di Idee.  This feat is achieved through an innovative arrangement of four dedicated energy-storing barrels – out of six available in the movement – precisely engineered to unwind in a microgenerator that converts mechanical energy into electricity.  The compact 8 x 2.3 mm microgenerator features custom-made coils, magnets and a stator and, to optimize energy efficiency, it incorporates no active electronics, a high-speed rotor operating at 80 revolutions per second, and generates a high-frequency electrical signal of 240 Hz.

To match the intricate inner workings, PAM01800 is set in a Ti-Ceramitech™ case, crafted from ceramized titanium, a pending patent material by Panerai.  Through seven years of meticulous research and development, Panerai has filed a patent application for a titanium ceramization process through Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation to achieve a very distinctive hue of blue.  This process transforms the titanium alloy surface into a dense ceramic layer, and the specific choice of elements used, combined with the electrolyte composition, allowed for the creation of the watch’s peculiar and striking blue color, a shade inspired by the open seas.  The technique yields a significantly enhanced hardness, and the resultant case is 44% lighter than steel yet has fracture toughness ten times higher than traditional ceramic.  A material that can withstand high pressure, and very high thermal stress, it is an ode to Panerai’s pursuit of creating reliable innovative instruments.

The dial features a linear Power Light reserve indicator, also a distinctive Panerai feature, with a small seconds indicator at the 9 o’clock position, while the patent pending bezel light system illuminates the timepiece’s counterclockwise rotating bezel.  Adding to its robust functionality is the iconic crown-protection bridge, a staple of Panerai’s design language, which securely guards the winding crown against impacts.  In this iteration, the historical REG TM mark has been inventively replaced with SUB LAB, marking this model’s special identity within the Submersible series.  Completing the watch’s aesthetics are the indices and the hour hand accented with green SuperLuminova® X2 – a deliberate choice that evokes its luminescent vibrancy – now in a new grade that ensures a luminosity 10% higher than SuperLuminova® X1 after 180 minutes in the dark.  The blue-accented minute hands and dots on the bezel are illuminated by SuperLuminova® X1.  The watch comes with a blue rubber strap and a second bi-material strap.

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The Elux LAB-ID PAM01800 is a limited-edition of 150 pieces, with an availability of 50 pieces per year over three years.

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