Allgemein

Inventors, pilots and a royal visitor…

by on May.14, 2023, under Allgemein

The first watches for the pilots of the “new weapon” SLC were delivered in the middle of the 1930’s by Guido Panerai & Figlio to the Commando del 1° Gruppo Sommergibili of the Royal Italian Navy. According to the timeline of the development of the top secret slow running torpedos (siluro a lenta corsa, short: SLC) by the inventors Teseo Tesei and Elios Toschi, waterproof and luminous instruments for the pilots were necessary to carry out proper exercises and to control the SLC in depth and darkness.

IMG_2635_600x600The chapters I and II, dedicated to the first watches for underwater use (Ref. 2533 and 3646) take the readers of our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s into these early years. Teseo Tesei and Elios Toschi’s ideas became real. But strategic decisions after the Italo-Ethiopian War stopped the secret SLC project. The tests with these small weapons were archived and the Royal Italian Navy focused their interest in huge battleships, cruisers and destroyers.

The SLC project was re-started by the 1st Flottiglia MAS in 1939 at the advent of the Second World War. With the first missions of the Mezzi d’Assalto carried out from August 1940 onwards, the demand for skilled operators as well as new equipment – and more instruments for the operators – grew fast. An early Ref. 3646 / Type A, dated to April 1940, is featured in chapter II.I followed by the timeline of the missions carried out by the operators of the Decima Flottiglia MAS, the special commandos of the Royal Italian Navy.

IMG_3106_600x600The photo shows page 96 of “The References” with a historic photo from June 1940: The two inventors of the SLC, Teseo Tesei and Elios Toschi, Alberto Franzini and Gino Birindelli above their co-pilots stand together with a royal visitor: Principe Aimone di Savoia Aosta, Duca di Spoleto –  just a few weeks before the first missions of the new weapon SLC were about to write naval history.

Read more about “The birth of a legend – the first Panerai watches (1935-1939)” in chapter I, followed by the timeline of the missions during the Second World War in chapter II.I – more information on the historic content in our “The References” book set with a total of 1392 pages can be found here. Read about the featured watches from Guido Panerai & Figlio in the first and second volume here.

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Our database – an interim status on 1 January 2023

by on Jan.25, 2023, under Allgemein

What happened after 1 January 2016 when we “paused” counting new entries in our database for a moment to complete our book set “The References”? We continued to count and still do that – since 2003 (…20 years ago). January 2023 was a good time to pause again and see how our records have changed in numbers of known watches in our database. The total number of all historic Panerai watches in our database from the 1930’s to the 1960’s has grown to 449 known watches.

Back in 2016 we had 211 entries of the Reference 3646 in our database (seven different number groups, from 3646 / Type A to 3646 / Type G). Since then, 53 watches of the References 3646 have been added into our records, making a total of 264 watches of the reference 3646 today. Find an interim status on 1 January 2023 below:

Reference 2533: 3 examples known (2016: 3)

Reference 3646 / Type A: 18 classified (2016: 18)

Reference 3646 / Type B: 21 classified (2016: 16)

Reference 3646 / Type C: 65 classified (2016: 52)

Reference 3646 / Type D: 107 classified (2016: 79)

Reference 3646 / Type E: 32 classified (2016: 26)

Reference 3646 / Type F: 11 classified (2016: 11)

Reference 3646 / Type G: 10 classified (2016: 9)

Mare Nostrum Chronograph: 1 example known (2016: 1)

The watches made by Guido Panerai & Figlio after the Second World War, those with solid lugs, references 6152, 6154, 6152/1 and GPF 2/56 as well as the transitional references and those with Angelus movements increased from 162 to 181. Most additions are watches of the reference 6152/1 – all four versions (Rolex and Angelus movements, Rolex crown and Panerai crown guard) increased from 103 (2016) to 117 specimen classified in our database on 1 January 2023.

Reference 6152 / Type A: 7 classified (2016: 7)

Reference 6152 / Type B: 2 classified (2016: 2)

Reference 6154: 18 classified (2016: 15)

Reference 6152/1 Rolex with Rolex crown: 24 classified (2016: 23)

Reference 6152/1 Rolex with Panerai crown guard: 73 classified (2016: 64)

GPF 2/56 Angelus: 27 classified (2016: 25)

Reference 3646 Angelus: 5 classified (2016: 5)

Reference 3646 Transitional: 5 classified (2016: 5)

Reference 6152/1 Angelus with Rolex crown: 8 classified (2016: 6)

Reference 6152/1 Angelus with Panerai crown guard: 12 classified (2016: 10)

At this point, again, we want to thank those who shared information on the watches lined up above with us. Auctioneers, collectors, veterans or their family members and friends.

Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann

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A lot to read during the holiday season…

by on Nov.20, 2022, under Allgemein

rahmen_bild_2016_x-mas_8474_1000x700Read about watches and instruments from Guido Panerai & Figlio. Vintage Panerai watches from the 1930’s to the 1960’s are described and photographed in intricate detail for the reader, telling the stories of their first users during their dangerous underwater missions.

“History1” (420 pages)
“History2” (480 pages)
“The References” 1930’s-1940’s (696 pages)
“The References” 1950’s-1960’s (696 pages)

As a reference finder, as an addition to your library at home or as a special christmas gift for your friends: our Vintage Panerai books will be a great read for any Panerai collector. Each book comes with an embossed hardback jacket (leather and canvas) in a slipcase, sized 10.2 x 10.2″, trilingual (= German, Italian and English language).

Our four books are in stock and can be shipped immediately – just visit our bookstore. Use the browse by tags function to get further information about the content in each of the four books. Read how to place your order here.

Take your seat and enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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New entry in our database: an engraved 3646 / Type D

by on Jul.17, 2022, under Allgemein

We added another previously unknown watch into our database – yet another piece of the puzzle surfaced, which marks the first entry of a Ref. 3646 / Type D in 2022 and in total the Type D #107 in our records.

The “Kampfschwimmer” watch with anonymous sandwich dial appears with a rare engraving on its caseback, bearing the initials of the first owner and the name of the unit he belonged to (Marine Kampfschwimmer 1945).

The inner caseback of the watch (full polished, read more in “The References” 1930’s-1940’s on page 486-487) bears the Rolex SA hallmark, reference and case number known for 3646 / Type D watches. Inside the watch is a Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement with typical decorations and engravings on the bridges (ROLEX 17 RUBIS / FAB. SUISSE).

Still sewn onto the soldered lugs is the original leather strap (!) including the large and very rare nickel-plated brass pin buckle. The watch has its original onion shaped winding crown and the typical blued steel hands with original luminous material.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer” (sandwich, anonymous)
Case number: 2605XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

The first owner of the watch took part in a frogmen mission against Russian pontoon bridges across the river Oder at Aurith, near Fürstenberg, in March 1945. You can read about these frogmen missions in our book “History1” in chapter II on page 83-123. The first owner was born in 1924 and passed away in 2000.

The watch is accompanied with an interesting documentation of his service during the Second World War and further information about his life, after he was released from British imprisonment in 1945.

If you are interested to buy this watch, please contact the owner directly via e-mail: albert59er@t-online.de

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Ref. 3646 / Type C “Radiomir Panerai” @ Dr. Crott

by on Apr.15, 2022, under Allgemein

We recently added another unknown watch into our database – yet another piece of the puzzle surfaced: a Ref. 3646 / Type C with “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial, being watch #63 in our records of watches matching the criteria of the 3646 / Type C.

The Ref. 3646 / Type C “Radiomir Panerai” will be auctioned on 21 May 2022 at Dr. Crott’s 106th auction in Mannheim/Germany. It has been consigned by the family of the German “Kampfschwimmer” veteran Heinz Greten. Further info on auction lot 156 can be found here.

The watch appears with an unpolished case with a matching high bezel, typical for watches with “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial. The watch comes with a tubular shaped Rolex Oyster crown (Type 13). Inside the watch is a Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement with typical decorations and engravings on the bridges (ROLEX 17 RUBIS / FAB. SUISSE). The inner caseback bears the typical Rolex SA hallmark, reference and case number known for 3646 / Type C watches, with “Half Polish” decoration. Both hands appear black painted and re-lumed. The inner caseback bear also watchmakers’ service marks.

Noteworthy:
The outer caseback of the watch bear engravings of the first owner, German “Kampfschwimmer” Petty Officer Hans Greten with the additional info Antwerpen, referring to a mission he took part in September 1944.

The mission (“Operation Bruno” – the attack of the Kruisschans floodgates in Antwerp) is documented in the book “Sabotage unter Wasser” written by Michael Jung (2004) on page 120-121, as well as a photo of Hans Greten on page 107. Further info on this frogmen mission is also found in the book “Das Kommando der Kleinkampfverbände der Kriegsmarine” written by Helmut Blocksdorf (2003), on page 181. The earliest documentation of the mission is dating back to 1956 in the book “…denn sie liebten doch das Leben” written by Cajus Bekker (chapter six, page 148-160), in which Greten is mentioned several times (all books are written in German language).

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type C
Dial: “Radiomir Panerai” (sandwich)
Case number: 10102XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

In our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s the watches of the entire reference 3646 are featured in chapter II with more than six hundred pages in the chapters II.I-II.VII. The seven different variations (including the number group 3646 / Type C – page 248-397 – to which this watch belongs) can be found in our reference quickfinder on page 14-20.

Please note that the very rare campaign insignia 3rd degree (visible in the background of the second photo) is the (separate) lot 155 and is not included in the lot of the watch. Information on different probation and campaign insignia of the German “Kampfschwimmer” units can be found in our book “History2” in chapter IX.

We hope the watch will find a good new home and that it remain surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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The “Maserati” surfaced again.

by on Apr.13, 2022, under Allgemein

Phillips will feature a very rare Ref. 6154 “Small Egiziano” in their upcoming auction Geneva Watch Auction: XV. Between the different Vintage Panerai references, the 6154 is one of the rarest and most attractive because of its unique flat case design and only a small number of watches existing today. The watch appears with brown faded “Radiomir Panerai” dial, 8 mm Rolex crown and Rolex 618 / Type 1 movement. The auction lot includes a depth gauge and a rare underwater torch, known to be used by Egyptian frogmen in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Further info on this watch (lot 293) can be found here.

This particular watch can be traced back to the year 1995 when it was auctioned at Antiquorum in Geneva. Two years later, in 1997, it was published in the book “Militari da polso” on page 60. The watch was also published in our book “The References” (2009 edition, sold out) on page 197 and again – in detail – in our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s on page 808-817.

Read the historical background on watches and instruments from Guido Panerai & Figlio used by the Egypt frogmen in chapter VII and IX of “The References” 1950’s-1960’s, including rare photos of an Egyptian frogmen wearing Guido Panerai & Figlio instruments (page 794, 1064 and 1068). 

The “Maserati” amongst Vintage Panerai references because of its flat, elegant and streamlined case, was auctioned in 2016 at Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR and remained under the surface since then.

We hope that also this watch will find a good new home and remains surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

[Photos courtesy of www.phillips.com]

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Farewell, Manfred Lau

by on Nov.22, 2021, under Allgemein


Sad news reached us last weekend from Saxony. Manfred Lau, born 1925, who told us about his experiences in the last months of the Second World War, has recently passed away at the age of 96. His personal story became Chapter VI in our book “History2” and will remain as one of the few stories from surviving “Kampfschwimmer” veterans, which we were able to publish ten years ago. We have been in contact with Mr. Lau since 2003 and have always been amazed by the many details of his training on the island of Le Vignole in the Lagoon of Venice, which he shared with us after more than 60 years passed. May he rest in peace!

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Ref. 3646 / Type E @ Webb’s

by on Nov.02, 2021, under Allgemein

The Ref. 3646 / Type E will be auctioned on 21 November 2021 at Webb’s Fine Jewels, Watches & Luxury Accessories. You can read more about this watch here or go directly to the auctioneer’s website (Lot 423).

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type E
Dial: “California Dial”
Case number: 2609XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 mod.

[Photo with kind permission / courtesy of www.webbs.co.nz]

Interesting read can be found in our book “History2” on page 628-629, too.

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Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial @ Dr. Crott

by on Oct.20, 2021, under Allgemein

The brass dialed Ref. 3646 / Type D will be auctioned on 13 November 2021 at Dr. Crott’s 105th auction in Mannheim. You can read more about this watch here or go directly to the auctioneer’s website (Lot 73).

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer”  (painted brass, anonymous)
Case number: 2607XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

We hope that this Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial will find a good new home and remains surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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A Ref. 3646 / Type E with brass dial

by on Sep.12, 2021, under Allgemein

Introducing another Ref. 3646 / Type E watch which surfaced in Germany – this specimen appeared with painted brass dial.

Noteworthy is the well preserved original strap and “Bottle Opener” buckle, wich most of today’s surfacing watches don’t have anymore.

The “Kampfschwimmer” watch with anonymous painted brass dial has an unpolished case with a matching flat bezel. The onion shaped winding crown (“BREVET +” Type 11) can be screwed down onto the collar of the 47 mm cushion shaped case with soldered lugs.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type E
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer” (painted brass, anonymous)
Case number: 2608XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 mod.

Inside the watch is a Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 mod. movement with typical decorations and engravings on the bridges (17 RUBIS / FAB. SUISSE). The blued steel hands appear untouched with original luminous material. The inner caseback is decorated with half polish. An overview of different decorative polish on the inside of the caseback (Type A – Type G) can be found on page 486 in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s.

Find more info on straps and buckles here. More info on Ref. 3646 watches without Rolex hallmarks can be found here. More info on Ref. 3646 watches with brass dials can be found here.

Here we added another unknown watch into our database – yet another piece of the puzzle surfaced. Thanks to the collector who shared the photos and information with us!

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