Forget, if you can, about the 38mm Luminor Due Luna with its mother-of-pearl dial. Instead, focus on the 49mm Panerai Submersible Elux LAB-ID. Is this massive PAM01800 with a case, case back, and bezel in blue Ti-Ceramitech the watch that will relight the fire in the hearts of a dormant group of Paneristi? It seems Panerai is almost literally trying to do that by creating a hyperfunctional dive watch outfitted with Elux, a lighting technology patented in 1966. Four of the movement’s six barrels provide sufficient power to a microgenerator that converts mechanical energy into electricity to light up LEDs on the indexes, hands, and the lume pip on the bezel for up to 30 minutes. Has Panerai seen the light? And, perhaps more importantly, will the light shine on you?

While sitting on the deck of Eilean, a classic yacht built in 1936 and owned by Panerai, one brand exec told me that the Luminor Due is a huge commercial success. The small watch that’s water resistant to 50 meters sparked heavy debates, particularly among diehard fans of the brand. Many official and self-declared “Paneristi” felt all kinds of negative emotions — sadness, betrayal, frustration, anger…you name it — when their beloved maker of oversized dive watches with an interesting history presented a small, dressy non-diver. They called Panerai a sellout. Well, the Luminor Due, which targeted a much larger audience than men who can pull off an oversized watch and are sensitive to historical storytelling, became a bestseller. The Due helped Panerai achieve growth, which is crucial for a brand that’s part of a shareholder-owned conglomerate. And in a way, the Due made the Submersible Elux LAB-ID possible. Grazie, Due!


Panerai Submersible Elux LAB-ID PAM01800 — The evolution of light

The Submersible Elux LAB-ID is everything the Due is not. This new Submersible is massive, for instance. The case measures 49mm wide and 21.9mm thick. It’s made of Panerai’s Ti-Ceramitech (ceramized titanium) material. It’s not shiny, and it doesn’t say “luxury.” No, it says “engineering.” And the engineering doesn’t stop with the case. It continues with the presence of Elux, a technology that Panerai originally patented on June 15th, 1966. In the field of luminescence, one could say Elux is an evolution of Panreai’s Radiomir and Luminor compounds.

What’s very different about Elux compared to luminous materials like radium, tritium, and Super-LumiNova is that it uses a mechanical generator to create luminescence that is constantly maintained by an electric field. The technology was used in areas such as command centers and on internal signaling boards on ships. Elux provided a reliable and efficient light source, allowing easy reading of instrument displays under various conditions. Slimmed down and evolved, Elux now makes its debut in a wristwatch.


Panerai Elux flashlight from yesteryear

Just a limited amount of light

Do you feel excitement when you read about a dive watch that gets its electric light from a micromechanical generator inside the case? I don’t want to dim your mood, but the Panerai Submersible Elux LAB-ID PAM01800 is a limited edition of 150 pieces that will come in three production runs of 50 watches per year. If 2024 gets a serial number with, for instance, the letter “A” in it, 2025 and 2026 will get the two next letters. I can already hear a conversation between two Paneristi about owning an A-series Elux, the most coveted of the range. Is doing a run of three series over three years due to the need to create interest among collectors? I will try to get an answer to that question as soon as I can — preferably, aboard Eilean while heading for Ponza.

Panerai Submersible Elux LAB-ID

More about the enlightened tech

Panerai certainly pulled out all the stops to create an enlightened watch. When you open the pusher protector at 8 o’clock and engage the button at your disposal, four of six automatically wound barrels in the P.9010/EL movement will have supplied the 8 × 2.3mm microgenerator with enough energy to switch the LEDs on for up to 30 minutes. This microgenerator converts mechanical energy into electricity. It incorporates no active electronics and features custom-made coils, magnets, and a stator, along with a high-speed rotor that operates at 80 revolutions per second to generate a high-frequency 240Hz electrical signal. The linear “Power Light” indicator above the 6 o’clock index will indicate how much energy is left.

Submersible Elux LAB-ID

“What if you run out of power after half an hour?” you ask. Well, Panerai also put Super-LumiNova X2 on the indices and hour hand, and Super-LumiNova X1 on the minute hand and bezel dot ensures that you can still use the watch during your long, deep, and dark dive.

Panerai Submersible

Final thoughts and price of the Panerai Submersible Elux LAB-ID

So, the Panerai Submersible Elux LAB-ID is not the first wristwatch with a mechanically powered light. Both Van Cleef & Arpels and De Bethune have used mechanically created luminescence before. But the PAM01800 sure is the most impressive one of the lot. Every detail is there to make the light useful and bright for as long as possible.

Panerai Submersible Elux LAB-ID

The price of this fine example of enlightened watchmaking is CHF 95,400 / €108,000 / £76,800 / US$96,300. Is this outrageous? The watch, in any case, is outrageous enough to spark some conversation. Perhaps the Submersible Elux LAB-ID will also inspire passion in the hearts of existing Paneristi while attracting new ones.


What do you think? Is this the light that will attract a new following? Or is the shadow of the Luminor Due too dark to overpower by simply hitting a light switch? Let me know in the comments.

Watch specifications

Submersible Elux LAB-ID
Black, mechanically illuminated LED hour markers powered by a microgenerator, additional Super-LumiNova X2 on the indexes and hour hand, Super-LumiNova X1 on the minute hand and bezel dot
Case Material
Blue Ti-Ceramitech
Case Dimensions
49mm (diameter) × 21.9mm (thickness)
Case Back
Blue Ti-Ceramitech, screw-in
Panerai P.9010/EL: automatic winding, 28,800vph frequency, 72-hour power reserve for time and 30-minute reserve for Power Light, 55 jewels, six barrels (four for lighting and two for timekeeping), 10.8mm thick, Glucydur balance wheel stop, Incabloc antishock device, 363 components
Water Resistance
50 bar (500 meters)
Blue rubber (26/22mm) with trapezoidal titanium tang buckle
Time (hours, minutes, small seconds), Power Light with linear reserve indicator, 60-minute dive bezel
CHF 95,400 (inc. tax) / €108,000 (inc. tax) / £76,800 (inc. tax) / US$96,300 (ex. tax)