April 6, 2021
by Zach Pina
Ever since I lifted the recycled “Eco Titanium” case and matching recycled nylon strap of the PAM985 off the table at SIHH two years ago, I knew it was only a matter of time before Panerai took the eco-minded challenge to the next level. Well, that day is here with the new Submersible eLAB-ID PAM 1225 — an impressive new concept watch that’s built using nearly 99% recycled materials (by weight), potentially opening the door for a broader future of fully circular, sustainable watchmaking practices. That means not just the case and strap are recycled, as we’ve seen before, but critical movement components, the precious metal for the rotor, the dial, the hands, the sapphire crystal, and even the paint used to deliver Panerai’s signature low-light luminosity are now all produced by re-using either post-consumer or industrial raw material waste. It’s the highest percentage of recycled materials used to produce a watch to date — but the real kicker here is that Panerai is open-sourcing the entire supply chain used to develop the watch, in hopes that more brands will use it as a blueprint for launching their own socially responsible projects.
Though it might be a pretty compelling maneuver for the traditionally secretive Swiss watch industry, the open-source concept isn’t really a new one, per se. If you’ll remember, Elon Musk famously made all of Tesla’s patents open-source back in 2014, in the name of advancing electric vehicle technology and better preserving the future of sustainable transport. In a way, what we’re seeing with Panerai could be argued as a parallel — the brand under the Richemont group umbrella has gotten more serious about dramatically decreasing its environmental impact while supporting local and international non-profits. Panerai does seem to have a pretty good grasp on the big picture, though, and achieving a meaningfully sustainable impact in the future will only be the result of global buy-in. So while many genuinely altruistic efforts in the watch industry tend to exist in their own short-lived little bubbles, the ripple effect that this watch hopes to establish across the industry is very noble, indeed.
Model: Submersible eLAB-ID (ref. PAM1225)
Water Resistance: 300 meters
Case Material: Brushed EcoTitanium, unidirectional EcoTitanium bezel, screwed EcoTitanium caseback, EcoTitanium sandwich dial
Crystal/Lens: Recycled sapphire
Movement: Panerai P.900e (P.900 base, reproduced using recycled materials)
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power Reserve: 3 Days
Strap/Bracelet: Recycled Grigio Roccia fabric with trapezoidal EcoTitanium buckle
Price & Availability: $60,000 USD (Speculated)
In addition to being a nearly 100% recycled object, there are a few other firsts and near-firsts for PAM1225. Perhaps most obviously, it is the first non-precious metal Submersible in a 44mm case. (Don’t forget that the Goldtech PAM1070 was technically the first ever 44mm Submersible.) Great news for those who found the 47mm Submersibles too large, and the 42mm variants too small, as it hints at a more readily available “Goldilocks” Submersible in the future. PAM1225 also houses Panerai’s first-ever Silicon hairspring, a recycled component manufactured in collaboration with French maker Sil’tronix Silicon Technologies (ST) and Switzerland-based Sigatec. Because of this, the movement designation for the PAM1225 is actually that of the P.900e, rather than the in-house manufacture P.9000 series. If you’ll remember, the base calibre for the P.900 movement was developed as a Richemont group join venture — and with the “e” designation, it’s now comprised chiefly (by weight) of parts like the movement bridges and rotor all made from recycled materials. It seems highly unlikely that this’ll be the last time we see silicon and recycled elements in Panerai’s calibres — in-house or not.