Tag: “Kampfschwimmer”

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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Reading a frogman’s battle report…

by on Apr.03, 2022, under Allgemein

One of the rarest historical documents which we came across during the research of our book “History2”: a handwritten battle report of a frogmen mission at the Pomeranian coast, dated April 3rd, 1945.

IMG_3727_600x600Documents from the last weeks of the Second World War are today, without a doubt, very hard to find – if existing after more than 70 years at all… With the support of the family of the German “Kampfschwimmer”, who once wrote this report after he returned safely from the combat zone, we were able to include this battle report (page 672-673 shown on the coffee table shot on the left) in chapter VII of “History2” (featuring the chapters V-IX with a total of 480 pages).

Interesting details in his handwritten battle report are the times which he mentioned aside other details, all easily readable on the sandwich dial of the Ref. 3646 / Type D (with 5 minute markers / indices) he was wearing during the mission: He wrote down 21:50, 23:30, 23:45, 23:50-0:30 and finally 2:05 AM – the moment he left the waters – after 4:15 hours trying to attack the Wollin railroad bridge together with a group of four frogmen from the “Einsatzgruppe Keller”, towing two mines thru the waters of the Dievenow. 

One of these five frogmen is featured in our book “History1”. Several pages of his diary are published in chapter II, where he wrote down what happened during the frogmen attack of the Gristow bridge at the Pomeranian coast (page 134-143).

IMG_3726_600x600Read more on further rare documents which helped us to capture the history behind the Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch, shown on the coffee table shot on the left here. Photos from the years 1944 and 1945 showing this watch on the frogman’s wrist, as well as his identification papers and travel documents issued in Venice, helped us to reconstruct the route he took to the mission grounds.

Obviously his handwritten battle report never reached the headquarters but somehow he managed to keep it safe for his personal records, giving us today, more than 70 years later, a detailed inside view on a mission he carried out together with four frogmen at the Eastern Front in April 1945…

Our two “History” books can be ordered only in our bookstore.

Enjoy reading stories behind these watches!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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How to visualize a frogman’s pencil written diary from 1945?

by on Feb.22, 2022, under General

During the research on the history behind a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” with engraved caseback, we were able to study the diary of the first owner of the watch. This diary survived the last days of the Second World War and the veteran kept it for decades, willed to share it with us and partially featured in chapter II of our book “History2”.

Thanks to the many detailed descriptions (e.g. the water temperature, current, weather conditions and explosive charges carried) which the frogman wrote down and the examination of historical maps of the 1940’s it was possible to analyze his diary entries precisely and visualize his memories to the readers of our book in an impressive way. The collected documents and additional information let this chapter become one of the unique stories behind a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch.

History1_frontal_300x300Reading page 83 of “History1” reminds on a part of our research which did happened not often. The frogman wrote the following lines in his diary at the beginning of March 1945:

“The next morning we set off towards the east in a truck. With unbelievable power, the Russians have pushed thru as far as the [river] Oder in their last offensive. They even managed to build two bridgeheads at Fürstenberg [in November 1961 the city was renamed Eisenhüttenstadt]. Reconnaissance flights tell us that they are putting tremendous amounts of people and material into these bridgeheads”.

Reconnaissance flights? Having this information in mind, we started to search various archives for still existing aerial photographs – maybe the one which the frogmen mentioned in his diary still exists? After the war, some remaining photos were transferred to archives which stored these photos for bomb clearance works. Good luck on the hunt! Guess how easy this search would be? Where to start? To find a aerial photo from the same date, same area and even showing the target, not knowing if its existing at all? We found it – a needle in a haystack – the photo which was shown to the frogmen as their next target.

IMG_3659_600x600Dated to 1 March 1945, the photo taken by a reconnaissance flight shows one of the pontoon bridges built across the Oder by the Russian troops just shortly before – which became soon later the target for the “Keller Group” just as the frogman wrote it down in his diary. Read more on the diary and various historic documents which helped us to visualize this source of information during our research on a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch here.

The coffee table shot shows page 110-111, chapter II of “History2” next to one of the few original photos of the “Keller Group” taken shortly before their missions at the eastern front (spot some Panerai gear in it). This photo is published on page 94 in the same chapter. The coffee table shot includes also a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer”, featured in chapter V of “History2” – the watch of frogman Siegfried Köneke, who was also a member of the “Keller Group”. Read more about this chapter here.

Our two “History” books can be ordered only in our bookstore.

Enjoy reading stories behind these watches!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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

by on Aug.26, 2021, under Watch Point

We recently added another unknown watch into our database – yet another piece of the puzzle surfaced, which marks the Ref. 3646 / Type D #104 in our records. The “Kampfschwimmer” watch with anonymous painted brass dial appears with an unpolished case with a matching flat bezel. The original winding crown has been replaced.

Watches of the Reference 3646 / Type D are featured in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.IV (page 398-531) including a historic photo of a “Kampfschwimmer” wearing a 3646 with brass dial on page 475. Brass dialed Ref. 3646 / Type D are featured on page 468-493. In this part of the book, an overview of different decorative polish on the inside of the caseback (Type A – Type G) can be found on page 486.

The caseback of the watch is not engraved. However, a handwritten note from the son of the “Kampfschwimmer” explains that his father completed his training in Bad Tölz at Lehrkommando 702. You can read more about the training site Bad Tölz and the Lehrkommando 702 in our book “History2” on page 660-662 and 789-795.

The watch will be up for auction on November 13, 2021 at Dr. Crott’s 105th auction in Mannheim.

The inner caseback bears the typical 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).

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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New entry in our database: a brass dialed 3646 / Type D

by on Aug.26, 2021, under Allgemein

We recently added another yet unknown watch into our records: a “Kampfschwimmer” watch with anonymous, painted brass dial. Today it marks watch #104 which is matching the criteria for our database classification of the Ref. 3646 / Type D.

You can read more about the watch and its details here.

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A 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” at Dr. Crott’s 104th

by on Mar.29, 2021, under Watch Point

The Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial appears at Dr. Crott Auctioneers’ 104th auction (22 May, 2021 in Mannheim/Germany) with an unpolished case with a matching high bezel and original, domed plexi.  The blued steel hands appear skeletonized, broken out lume on both hands. The caseback of the watch is plain (not engraved with a signature or initials of the first owner). Currently, this watch is the first new entry in 2021 and 103rd specimen in the number group of Ref. 3646 / Type D watches in our database.

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 D watches, with “Half Polish” decoration.

Watches of the Reference 3646 / Type D are featured in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.IV (page 398-531). In this part of the book, an overview of different decorative polish on the inside of the caseback (Type A – Type G) can be found on page 486. Read more on our specification of the Reference 3646 here.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer” (sandwich, anonymous)
Case number: 2606XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

Still sewn onto the upper soldered lug is one part of the original leather strap including the large, nickel-plated brass pin buckle. The original onion shaped winding crown and the stem are unfortunately missing. Its not impossible to find these parts, however it is not easy, too. But if this would happen after the auction during a service, the new owner would have a very nice Ref. 3646 / Type D with a lot patina on his wrist.

The watch is up for auction at Dr. Crott Auctioneers here.

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]

[Photo of the Ref. 3646 / Type D courtesy of www.uhren-muser.de]

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One more 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” surfaced

by on Mar.29, 2021, under Allgemein

Another Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” with anonymous dial has been added into our database: The first specimen of this number group in the year 2021.

The watch will be up for auction at Dr. Crott Auctioneers in their 104th Auction on 22 May, 2021. Further info on this Ref. 3646 / Type D is available in our Watch Point.

The watch is up for auction at Dr. Crott Auctioneers here.

[Photo with kindly permission / courtesy of Dr. Crott Auctioneers]

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