In the past few years, Panerai introduced a slew of materials and production techniques that were new to the watchmaking industry. The brand has now extended this streak with Fibratech in the Luminor Marina Fibratech (PAM1119), a special novelty unveiled at Watches & Wonders this year.
Fibratech is a composite material not unlike carbon composites that are already widely used in the watch industry. In lieu of carbon fibre, however, Fibratech uses basalt fibre. The first step of production involves melting crushed basalt at around 1,500°C, then extruding the molten rock through small nozzles to create long, thin strands of threadlike basalt. Mineral additives and a binding polymer are mixed with these basalt fibres and moulded into thin sheets. These are then stacked and baked under pressure at high temperature to form Fibratech, which can then be machined into the necessary components.
Mechanically, Fibratech resembles carbon composites with its high strength-to-weight ratio and distinctive layered look. It is, however, far more cost-efficient, which explains its increasing usage in the aerospace industry. In the PAM1119, nearly the entire case is rendered in Fibratech; just the case back is made of titanium.
Fibratech isn’t the only reason why the PAM1119 is special though – the watch also commemorates the 70th anniversary of the tritium-based Luminor paint that Panerai originally used. To that end, this timepiece has luminescent detailing on various parts of its case and dial to highlight the design features of the iconic Luminor watch. These include the usual markings on the classic sandwich dial, the hands, the watch’s flange, and the patented crown protection device. Like any tool watch built by Panerai, the PAM1119’s robustness goes beyond the physical properties of its case. The watch is water resistant to 300 metres, and houses the brand’s workhorse P.9010 calibre, a self-winding movement with a three-day power reserve. Taken in its entirety, the PAM1119 is a legible and reliable timepiece that, quite simply, epitomises Panerai’s approach to building tool watches that remain relevant to the contemporary wearer.
Just 270 pieces of the PAM1119 will be produced, and they will only be available in Panerai boutiques. Each timepiece is delivered with two straps: a black Sportech strap with luminescent stitching and Velcro closure, and a black rubber strap with a titanium pin buckle. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Luminor material, the PAM1119 will have a 70-year international warranty.