Sotheby’s New York to auction a Ref. 3646 / Type B

by on Nov.25, 2023, under Watch Point

Sotheby’s New York will auction a rare Ref. 3646 / Type B with riveted plastic dial – read more at their website here.

This specimen is one of only 21 Ref. 3646 / Type B watches known in our database until today. It has been recorded in 2013 and still remains the watch with the lowest case number within all known Ref. 3646 / Type B watches, bearing the small Oyster Watch Co hallmark on the inside of the caseback (“full polish” decoration) with its seven-digit casing reference number and the reference number 3646. You can read more on our 3646 caseback classification here.

The watch is fitted with a riveted plastic dial, which has a smaller diameter than the sandwich dials, visible by the little gap between dial and (high) bezel. It bears the famous “Radiomir Panerai” writing below 12 o’clock. The surface of the plastic dial has become distorted over time. The luminous material under the surface in the numerals and indices appears lightly raised, while the other areas have become recessed (see also photo here).

The watch is fitted with a Rolex crown (Type 13) with “Oyster Patent +” lettering. The steel hands on this watch have become competely skeletonized. The dodecagonal caseback of the watch does not have an outer engraving. The 47 mm steel case has the typical breadth of the curved strap loop, a common feature on watches from the early series (Type A to Type C) visible in the photo below.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type B
Dial: “Radiomir Panerai” (sandwich, riveted plastic dial)
Case number: 1009XXX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

We have featured this watch in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.II on page 173-189. It was one of several historic Panerai watches Hammer provided to us in 2014 to be featured in our books. We hope our friend’s beloved 3646 will find a good new home and that it remain surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

[Photos courtesy of Martin Wilmsen]

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