This is the same basic $150k PAM 768 Panerai launched last year. The differences: the green flange, green-rimmed subdials and green accented power reserve indicator (which used to be on the back). We good? So let’s kick back and talk about The Panerai Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio’s 3D printed case . . .
Traditional watch cases are created by taking a block of steel, titanium, wood or whatever and removing bits. Panerai created the PAM 768’s titanium case by laying down layer after layer of titanium. The process is additive, rather than reductive.
There are downsides. 3D-printing is a time-consuming process. Low throughput makes the technology more expensive than traditional manufacturing. When it comes to watches, the parts that emerge from a 3D-printer need just as much hand-finishing as traditionally machined bits. So why bother?
Panerai claims the Panerai Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio’s 3D-printed case is 40 percent lighter than a traditionally manufactured titanium case. True story. The PAM 768’s case is also significantly stronger.
Counterintuitively, the strongest lightest materials are low density – they’re riddled with holes on the molecular level. Think wood and bird bones. 3D-printing can create tiny lattice structures within a material that make it both lighter and stronger. Traditional manufacturing can’t.
That doesn’t really answer the what’s-up-with-3D question. A traditionally machined titanium case is plenty damn strong and light (45 percent lighter than steel). How strong and light does a watch case need to be? In a 47mm wristwatch, you could make the case that every gram counts. But there’s no doubt that 3D printing is part of Panerai’s marketing strategy.
The Panerai Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio is totally tech. It’s got an in-house patented high-speed tourbillon, three stacked mainspring barrels (six day power reserve!), a carbotech carbon fiber flange, loads of titanium bits AND a 3D-printed titanium case. Now how much would you pay?
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the PAM 768’s 3D-printed case is that it’s not particularly interesting. Holthinrichs Watches‘ 3D printed cases highlight the missed artistic possibilities. Then again, if Panerai didn’t stick to their brand’s traditional case design, the PAM 768 wouldn’t be a Panerai.
Which the Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio barely is, regardless of the materials or the production process. I mean, would you take the $150k PAM 768 swimming? Diving? I rest my case.