Panerai Submersible eLAB-ID Recycled


Panerai Submersible eLAB-ID glamor shot

Introducing A Panerai That’s Almost Entirely Recycled From the Recycling Bin to the Wrist. That’s how HoDinkee announces the arrival of Panerai’s virtue signaling Panerai Submersible eLAB-ID. It’s a “significant breakthrough . . . constructed from 98.6% recycled-based materials by weight.” Let’s see if we can break through HoDinkee’s closethanthis relationship with Panerai and recycle their coverage into something a little more truthful . . .

Much of the Submersible eLAB-ID – the case, the sandwich dial, and the movement bridges – is made of a material called EcoTitanium. This recycled titanium alloy is a lightweight, aerospace-grade metal that’s made of more than 80% pure recycled content.

All ya gotta do is put “eco” in front of your watch name, and shazam! You’re an eco-warrior, superior to the troglodytes producing thousands of non-recycled watches like . . . Panerai. A company with a long history of covering up its Nazi past and misrepresenting the rest. In other words, a company that needs to go the extra mile to prove its green credentials – if it actually has any.

Color me skeptical. If you think carefully about the Submersible eLAB-ID project from an environmental perspective – an activity neither Panerai or HoDinkee (Pandinkee?) encourage – there’s an elephant herd of an unanswered questions in the room.

How much energy was expended/carbon produced creating Submersible eLAB-ID as opposed to a “normal” Panerai? How much environmentally damaging waste? How much water was used? In short, what’s the watch’s total environmental footprint, as compared to any other Panerai? *crickets chirping *

Panerai Submersible eLAB-ID from video

Panerai officials had to establish a new supply chain to make such a thoroughly recycled watch, and by publishing their suppliers, they’re encouraging other watchmakers to follow suit and multiply the impact of their sustainable-watchmaking initiative. 

Are they? Or did they cut a greenwashing discount deal with their suppliers? While we’re at it, how many of a non-recycled Panerai’s parts are made in China, ’cause I’d like to know their environmental impact. On the positive side, the nine listed suppliers seem relatively local, so there’s less carbon released sending the bits to the Panerai mothership.

On the surface, the Swiss-masquerading-as-Italian brand went to considerable lengths to get on Swedish Death Metal artist Greta Thunberg‘s good side. Even the Super-LumiNova lighting up the Submersible eLAB-ID’s hands and dials is 100 percent recycled.

Panerai Submersible eLAB-ID side

Pity the poor technicians at Monyco, saddled with the tedious job of harvesting micrograms of LumiNova off old dials and hands. (Hopefully not too old. Panerai’s original radium-226 formula can kill a guy.) Which watches? Were the discarded remains of the donor watches recycled?

Is it me, or does this seem like a waste of time and, yes, energy? If so, the fact that Panerai boasts about “100% recycled silicon in its escapement” is positively ludicrous.

Do we really need to recycle the second most abundant element (Si) on the planet Earth? Like sand through the hourglass, these are the woke days of our lives. Just the other day, I was walking on the beach and a carelessly discarded silicon escapement impaled my tender foot. I admit: I tossed it away. Into the recycle bin. But still . . .

The gold hands also use recycled materials. Again, where did Panerai’s co-conspirators find a supply of discarded gold hands, or discarded gold anything? Wouldn’t using fairmined gold have been the more politically correct play? Or some material that doesn’t require energy-intensive mining or a carbon-intensive smelting process.

What’s most impressive is that I can’t see any obvious compromises made in its construction. It’s a 44mm Submersible with 300 meters water resistance, a legible sandwich dial, and a case and dial made of aerospace-grade titanium.

Panerai Submersible eLAB-ID product shot

What’s most impressive is that thirty Panarai Submersible eLAB-IDs go on sale in 2022 at $60k a pop. Thirty of them! The giant exhaling sound you just heard was the Earth breathing an audible sigh of relief. Or not. Richemont’s accountants more likely – once all the watches sell.

If all examples find a home, Panerai will gross $1.8m, bragging rights, eventual canonization and all kinds of free publicity (you’re welcome).

I wonder how much of that cash will go towards reducing the carbon footprint of Panerai’s current, non-recycling-based production process. Given the relative ratio of Panerai’s “normal” to recycled watches (60k vs. 30), that would’ve been a far better investment for protecting the environment. Of course that assumes that anyone at Panerai/Richemont actually gives a sh*t.


  1. Thirty watches by, say, six ounces each means under a dozen pounds total. Anyone who has used hand weights for exercise knows that a pair of six pound weights are far from massive. It’s the weight of an infant.

    Even if we use the Rolex million watches per year estimate, we’re talking about a cube of metal under ten feet in each dimension. That would be for steel. Titanium is about half as dense, so double the mass, but still…good intentions, I guess, but this is making a mountain out of a molehill.

    • If you look closely at the pics of the swirling “garbage patch” in the Pacific, you can see gold watch hands, titanium cases, and silicon escapements.

      Also, I once saw a sea turtle that had obviously ingested carelessly discarded Luminova… When I shined my ultraviolet light on him (I EDC a UV light, of course), that turtle lit up! But, he only glowed for a few minutes.

    • Thanks. I’ll admit I had some editorial help!

      I just found the peacocking over recycling things that are measured in milligrams rather comical. In a macro context, this micro-action is laughable, especially how they’ve convinced themselves they’re saving the world and trying WAY too hard to convince us.

  2. I bet quartz watches have a very small environmental impact. They could scavenge Macy’s clearance and chuck some Rondas in these, even – it’s “re-use” before “recycle,” right? I’d probably buy one. For Earth.

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