This year Panerai seems to be doubling down on its Submersible line, the toughest, most no-nonsense watches in its collection. The models you see here are classic Submersibles in profile, but they’re rendered in Carbotech, a proprietary material based on carbon fiber that Panerai has been using since 2015. There are two models, one 47mm version and one 42mm version, and while the two have different dimensions and different movements inside (the larger model features an in-house caliber while the smaller features a ValFleurier-based movement), the two share the same sleek looks. The matte black Carbotech case is complemented by bright blue accents found in the dial markers, dial printing, and bezel markers, and a blacked-out titanium caseback completes the package. Despite looking all blue in daylight, when seen in the dark the bezel pearl and minute hand actually glow green to make timing dives even easier.
Panerai is a brand in a unique position: its product portfolio is, and always has been, based around a relatively strict set of design codes and purpose-driven features. In some ways, this makes it difficult for Panerai to do things that look and feel “new” to those who aren’t connoisseurs obsessed with minutiae. In other ways though, this is a serious advantage: there’s a lot less whiz-bang nonsense that feels like it’s being done just to get attention and a lot more focus on refining things over time and making interesting products that offer new interpretations on classic ideas. These watches do just that, taking a modern-classic Panerai silhouette and giving it a totally new life though innovative materials and a clean, cool color scheme. Personally, I’m into it.
One thing to note: this is not the first Submersible to be made of Carbotech. In 2015 Panerai introduced a Luminor Submersible 1950 Carbotech (PAM 616) that still appears to be part of the brand’s current collection. It has a very different look from these new models, with tan accents throughout and a more traditional Panerai-style dial. Whether or not the 616 will be cycled out in favor of these new models is yet to be seen.