A pleasure to see a “raw diamond”…

by on Oct.13, 2011, under Watch Point

Today I had the chance to stop by at the auctioneer Dr. Crott in Mannheim/Germany. Their 84th upcoming auction features a 3646 / Type C which I wanted to see “in real” before it finds a new owner. After the nightmare experience last week when I was contacted by a collector regarding a fake 3646 “Kampfschwimmer”, it was a pleasure to see such a “raw diamond” as described below:

This “Kampfschwimmer” watch is to me what a vintage Panerai collector can dream of. It appears to be put away in a drawer for decades. It shows a lot patina and proof of wear with thousands of super fine scratches which give the case a nearly matte finish. Lovely aged – I would never put a polishing tool on it. This proof of age is something which have to be kept on this watch (hopefully) by its future owner… Put away in a drawer for decades also mean that it needs a service. I recommend the future owner to go to his “watchmaker of trust” to clean the movement and fix the crown tube.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type C
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer”  (sandwich, engraved)
Case number: 1010147
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

Actually the crown can’t be screwed down to the case as the tube has no winding grip anymore. Known as “the #1 part to be worn off”, the onion shaped crown is always something to be sensible with. Imagine that the crown has to be used evey day and if the watch gets many wrist time (which has obviously been the case in this piece…) one day a new tube is needed.

My personal review:
The plexi:
original, never polished, shows scratches and wonderful cracks inside, the rare “volcano dome” shape, lurking a bit above the bezel – just as it should be and similar on many other 3646 watches.
Dial and hands: anonymous dial, nicely aged, numbers and markers fading colors from yellow to orange, including some typical cracks inside the luminous material. Both hands appear to have the original luminous material, not broken out, complete pair. Hands show partially stain, a proof that they have never been polished and/or fixed. Nice blueish shine in different ankles…!
The case: full size Ref. 3646 body, never polished. Typical shape of 3646 / Type C watches. Lugs without damage. Patina all over, proof of “age & use” let it look matte – great!
The caseback: fantastic and rare tatoo-style engraved initals with owner’s initials “HD” and “Marine-Kampfschwimmer 1945”. A true tool watch used in WW2. The inside of the caseback shows the typical Rolex SA embossing known for 3646 / Type C watches. Reference and case number 1010147 matching our database perfectly. No surprise at all. Another piece of the puzzle added.
The Rolex movement: typical Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 (17 Jewels, no incabloc). A service is recommended, as the crown is not winding down onto the case to close the watch, tube has to be fixed.
Extra: the buckle part of the original leather strap is still with the watch! These buckles are hard to find alone, especially those which have not bent down. A strapmaker can make the other part in similar leather or take off the buckle from the original strap to create a complete new strap in same color and style.

You can also read and see more about the different versions of Ref. 3646 watches in our 2nd book “Vintage Panerai – The References”. [Volker Wiegmann]

:, , , , ,

Comments are closed.