WW2 compass @ Dr. Crott

by on Sep.16, 2015, under Watch Point

A rare WW2 frogmen’s compass recently surfaced. Auctioneers Dr. Crott features a rare WW2 compass in their 92nd Auction on november 14th, 2015 (LOT 26). Attributed to Panerai, these compasses have been used by german “Kampfschwimmer” units together with Ref. 3646 watches as part of their underwater equipment.

The wrist compass (53 x 65 mm brass base with solid lugs) has a height of 27 mm including the plexiglass dome, which is screwed onto the base by six screws. The luminous compass rose, a transparent plexiglas disc (diameter 31 mm), has the german language orientation “N – O – S – W” (Nord, Ost, Süd, West), four arrows at 45 degrees and eight pointed markers at 22.5 degrees between the four cardinal points (all luminous). The domed plexiglas is also having a luminous bearing line (applied from the inside of the plexiglas dome).

A black calf leather strap with light alloy buckle is riveted onto the fixed bars of the lugs. The damping liquid can be filled into the compass thru a hole on top of the domed plexiglas, which is closed by a screw. Without the damping liquid, this compass has a weight of 91 grams.

Historic photos, showing the same type of compasses on several “Kampfschwimmer” wrists are featured in chapter II of our book “History1” (page 94, 102) and “History2” (page 674, 756 and 760). Similar compasses (both, italian and german version of the cardinal points, with flexible and solid lugs) are featured in chapter VI of our book “History2” and will be featured in chapter IV of our upcoming book “The References” (2nd edition).

Compared to the today’s known number of Ref. 3646 watches, compasses of the same age can be called very rare. We hope the compass will find a good new home and that it remain surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world – maybe as an additional collectible piece aside a frogmen’s Ref. 3646 watch. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]


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