Tough stuff: carbon watches

Innovative watchmakers including Zenith, Ulysse Nardin and Panerai are putting cutting-edge materials to the test

Watches & Jewellery 26 Sep 2019

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Carbon

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Carbon

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Carbon

Few watch calibres have reached the legendary status afforded to Zenith’s El Primero, and 50 years after its initial launch the watchmaker continues to take the high-speed chronograph to innovative heights. Its new timepiece, the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Carbon, comes equipped with a movement that can time events down to just 1/100th of a second, operating at a speed of 360,000 vibrations per hour. It comes wrapped up in a similarly cutting-edge package, with the case, bezel and crown and chronograph pushers forged from carbon. This high-tech composite is made from alternating layers of carbon fibres creating an intriguing visual effect, resulting in a material that is both highly robust and lightweight.

zenith-watches.com

Ulysse Nardin Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel
Ulysse Nardin Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel

Ulysse Nardin Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel

Ulysse Nardin’s Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel catches the eye with its dazzling dial featuring elements that appear to float freely in the air. For 2019, the avant-garde watchmaker has added to the intrigue of this unique watch with the use of unusual materials on the dial, including a model presented in Carbonium┬« Gold. Carbonium┬« is approximately twice as light as aluminium, made from aeronautical-grade carbon fibres and ecologically sourced components that have a smaller impact on the environment than traditional carbon composites, here fused with gold particles to elegant effect.

ulysse-nardin.com

Panerai Submersible Carbotech 47mm
Panerai Submersible Carbotech 47mm

Panerai Submersible Carbotech 47mm

With a connection to the military stretching back decades, Panerai’s rugged watches have been put to the test in some of the most extreme real-life situations. The new Submersible Carbotech 47mm has been built to the same rigorous standards, and is well equipped to match up to the demands of professional divers. The case is made from carbotech, a material lighter than steel and titanium and highly resistant to external shocks and corrosion. It is made up of thin sheets of carbon fibre compressed together under high pressure with the polymer PEEK (polyether ether ketone) that bonds the material together. As well as lending the case its hardy properties, it creates an interesting uneven, matte-black appearance that means every watch has its own unique look.

panerai.com