The BRABUS Shadow 500 Cabin Black Ops Limited Edition 1 of 28
BRABUS makes some of the fastest cars and boats in the world—and now it’s supercharging the newest model from Panerai.
It’s a story that is part unified-Europe fairy tale, part luxury-brand supergroup and part Bond-villain menace chic, so hold on like you’re in the passenger seat of a blacked-out, 789-horsepower gangster SUV and the driver is about to launch from a stoplight: BRABUS is a legendary tuner of Mercedes-Benz automobiles, with roots in the no-holds-barred Autobahn of the ’70s and a current lineup of highly tuned vehicles based on AMG and other Mercedes vehicles, including the BRABUS Black Ops 800, which is a hyperspeed version of the G-Class sport utility vehicle.
The Panerai SubmersibleS BRABUS Black Ops Edition, PAM01241, a limited edition of 100 pieces
A few years ago, the firm announced a partnership with Axopar, the Finish design firm building sporting boats in Poland. In this partnership, BRABUS modifies Axopar boats to enhance their luxury and performance, in an aquatic mirror of its relationship with Mercedes-Benz. Its newest product is the 900-horsepower, 12-meter Shadow Black Ops 900, capable of propelling its red quilted-leather seats at over 60 knots.
Now BRABUS has partnered with Panerai, the Italian-inspired Swiss watchmaker, to design and create watches inspired by the Black Ops series of boats. The first fruit of this partnership is the Submersible S BRABUS Black Ops Edition, available in a limited edition of 100 clocking in at approximately $46,200 in the American market. As with the high-performance automobiles and boats already under the BRABUS brand umbrella, this new Panerai is more than just paint and stripes on an existing design; it’s got fresh thinking, unique components and the first skeletonized automatic movement to appear beneath a Panerai logo.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OFFICINE PANERAI & BRABUS MARINE
There are solid business reasons for this partnership—both firms have remarkable appeal to a certain bias-for-action, in-your-face type of wealthy individual—but according to both Panerai CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué and Constantin Buschmann, CEO and owner of BRABUS, the idea of a collaboration was actually broached by an unnamed third party, an enthusiastic super-customer of the two brands who wanted to see his passions combined in a single product. Pontroué claims it took 15 minutes for him and Buschmann to see the logic of it; Buschmann claims it was less than that.
“It has to be real,” Buschmann clarifies. “The collaboration has to be real. You can’t just put a sticker on something to make it a collaboration product.” While he declined to be more specific than that, surely the BRABUS CEO was thinking about the veritable plague of lightly massaged Swiss watches wearing automotive brands currently in the market. Most of them are all but interchangeable, with nothing in particular linking the design philosophy of the automaker involved to the form of the final product.
BRABUS Shadow 900 Black Ops Limited Edition 1 of 37
The Submersible Black Ops S is certainly an exception to this. The modern BRABUS color scheme of gunmetal gray, black and red dominates the design, while the case is rendered in Panerai’s signature carbon-fiber composite material, called carbotech. The widespread use of similar carbon materials in BRABUS’ automotive and marine products made it the obvious choice; a tungsten bidirectional rotor, which winds the watch when worn in daily use, is a nod to the BRABUS tradition of using high-strength materials to make serious power in its tuned engines. This isn’t the only carbotech watch sold by Panerai, but it’s likely to be the highest-profile such model. The choice of carbon composite is also a good match for a brand that values performance on the water, making it possible for Panerai to claim water resistance at 300-meter depths.
The movement, on the other hand, is utterly unique. Created by Panerai in Neuchatel, Switzerland, over the course of three years, the P.4001/s takes the well-regarded P.4000 caliber from a variety of Panerai models and reimagines it as a skeletonized movement largely visible from the watch face. This idea of exposed, almost brutal machinery is very much in line with the BRABUS brand, which acquired its original fame by building 300 km/h bruiser sedans to dominate the left lane of the Autobahn. BRABUS-red highlights on the dials off er a further tie-in to the company’s other products.
This is a GMT-capable watch can display two time zones; there’s also a power reserve on the back. The strap is an exotic composite mater l with a DLC (diamondlike carbon) coated titanium buckle. In silhoue the Submersible S is recognizably Panerai—but any BRABUS owner will also immediately recognize it product designed, at least in part, b that firm as well.
A look at the automatic mechanical P.4001/S caliber of the Panerai Submersible S BRABUS Black Ops Edition
What’s on the horizon after this limited-edition effort? More watches, more integration between the two firms and even possibly a mechanical watch movement built into certain BRABUS vehicles. There’s also the prospect of a design collaboration in the digital watch space. This will no doubt raise hackles among the cognoscenti, but both BRABUS and Panerai have thrived in the past by thumbing their noses at conventional aesthetics and traditions. No matter what happens, it’s sure to be interesting. Hold on; this story is just starting.