Panerai Submersible Elux LAB-ID PAM01800

The Future’s So Bright: The New Submersible Elux LAB-ID from Panerai Features Lume On Demand

Panerai’s latest bright idea from its Laborotorio di Idee ups the ante on the brand’s signature focus on illumination.

By Mike Espindle
Executive Editor

Even if you only have a passing familiarity with the watchmaker, or if you happened to get a glance at the stunning cover of our recent Watchonista: Volume 5 print magazine, you already know about the profound role illumination plays in the zeitgeist of Panerai.

The meme could go: “You can always spot a Panerai, even with the lights off.”

However, with the recent introduction of the Panerai Submersible Elux LAB-ID (PAM01800), it seems like the watchmaker has embraced the classic Timbuk 3 song as the guiding principle for its illuminated future.
 

Illuminated History

The brilliant technology employed by the new watch was patented back in 1966 under the generic Italian term “elettroluminescenza” and quickly dubbed Elux.

First used by the Italian Navy, early Elux took the form of flexible luminous panels, sans any radioactivity, with the adjustable brightness constantly maintained by an electric field. Elux served many military functions, but notably, it was used to outline ship-deck landing zones for night missions.
 

Panerai’s Laboratorio di Idee incubator program drew inspiration over the years from Elux technology to push the brightness envelope of Panerai watches. These efforts yielded Elux-aligned models like the LAB-ID Luminor Carbotech (PAM700) from 2017, a concept watch that employed carbon nanotubes developed to absorb existing light; the 2020 release of the LAB-ID Luminor (PAM01700) with a new generation of applied lume, Super-LumiNova X1; and 2021’s shining Submersible eLAB-ID (PAM1225).
 

The Submersible Elux LAB-ID’s current incandescent moment is a culmination of these efforts.

Light, Bright

After eight years of research, Panerai has created a watch that, unlike previous Elux military applications powered by batteries, draws its needed power directly from the mechanical movement and, more impressively, doles it out on demand.
 

Four patents contribute to the pusher-activation of the up to 30-minute light show, even to depths of 500 meters (it is a Panerai Submersible, after all). Power is generated by the P.9010/EL movement and stored in four dedicated barrels (with an additional two barrels for the 3-day power reserve of the watch works, even if the lighting power is exhausted).

As those four dedicated barrels unwind, the kinetic energy is run through an uncanny micro-generator, turning movement energy into electrical energy at a 240Hz frequency that lights up the lumed LED components of the timepiece (power reserve, small seconds, indexes, hands, linear light power indicator, and bezel marker).
 

If the light show runs out of juice, no worries, all critical indicators have a backup light source of blue and green Super-LumiNova X1, so legibility is ensured even without the extra Elux illumination.

Come Up to the Lab

Since it features a technology derived from Panerai’s Labortorio di Idee operation, it is little wonder that the Submersible Elux LAB-ID looks a bit like a lab instrument, with beaucoup details and cues that make it a techy visual delight without departing too much from signature Panerai design DNA.
 

The appropriately burly 49mm case and bezel are crafted from next-gen Ti-Ceramitech (Panerai’s patent-pending ceramized titanium process also gives the material its distinctive blue hue and makes it ten times more fracture-resistant than traditional ceramic, yet also 44% lighter than steel).

Panerai’s signature locking crown protection, historically labeled with an “REG” mark, now carries “SUB LAB” badging, giving this watch a special identity in the Submersible family. But it is the prominent Elux pusher at 7 o’clock that is the star of the show, and not only because it turns the lights on.
 

A blue rubber strap completes the on-demand wrist-torch.

Pricing & Availability

If you want to become a cutting-edge light bearer yourself, don’t wait too long for the spark. Listing for $96,300 and limited to 150 pieces (released in lots of 50 for the next three years), the sun may set quickly on the availability of the Submersible Elux LAB-ID. Find out more via the Panerai website.

(Images © Panerai)

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