Tag: “The References”

“Il cavallo di Troia” – the secret SLC base

by on Jan.17, 2021, under Allgemein

IMG_3568_600x600Enemy ships in the harbour of Gibraltar have been in the sight of the Royal Italian Navy since September 1940. After several attacks by “Gamma” frogmen and SLC units, ideas to build a secret base of the Decima MAS were realized in the second half of the year 1942. Convoy ships for the United States were beginning to arrive in quantity. The numbers of potential targets at anchor in the Bay of Algeciras were growing almost daily.

Earlier in 1942, a base for the Decima MAS “Gamma” frogmen was established in the Villa Carmela near La Linea from where several missions were carried out against British merchant ships (see page 126-131 / chapter II.I). During the months of shaping Villa Carmela into an advanced base, the idea for a bigger and much more effective operation had taken form in the mind of Licio Visintini, one of the SLC pilots of the mission B.G.4 in September 1941 (see page 374-381 / chapter II.III) which was carried out from the submarine Scirè.

IMG_3570_600x600Before the new base was ready for action, each attack at Gibraltar had required a long submarine voyage, air and land transportation of the attack-teams, the shipping of supplies and weapons, arrangements for rendezvous, an approach by submarine, and finally the task of smuggling the survivors back to Italy thru neutral Spanish territory.

Licio Visintini’s idea became real with turning the anchored ship Olterra inside the pier of Algeciras into a secret base for SLC missions. Visintini and further technical specialists replaced the original crew of the Olterra. An assembly workshop for the SLC devices (which arrived in sections, declared as spare parts for the damaged ship) was established in the hull. A portside cabin of the Olterra became the observation post with an excellent view of Gibraltar harbour. Finally, a folding door on the port side bow (see coffee table shot of page 386-387 /chapter II.III) became the exit door for the SLC units below waterline to reach their targets – and to return back into the hull of the Olterra. After months of intensive work in total secrecy, the inconspicious ship Olterra was turned into a Trojan Horse“il cavallo di Troia” – and six men were ready for action with their SLC devices.

IMG_3565_600x600The Olterra was starting point of the following SLC missions against enemy ships in the bay of Algeciras / Gibraltar harbour: B.G.5 (7/8 December 1942), B.G.6 (7/8 May 1943) and  B.G.7 (3/4 August 1943). Our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s features two Ref. 3646 watches which were used during these missions.

The Ref. 3646 / Type A “Radiomir Panerai” watch of Ernesto Notari is featured in chapter II.I (page 58-91 / see coffee table shot on the left) – more on this watch and its history can be found here. The Ref. 3646 / Type C “Radiomir Panerai” watch of Licio Visintini is featured in chapter II.III (page 350-367) – more on this watch and the history behind can be found here. The new “The References” books can be ordered only in our bookstore.

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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At a glance: The Reference 6152/1

by on Jan.13, 2021, under Allgemein

Vita_sul_Mare_IMG_7069_600x600Watches of the Reference 6152/1 are featured in four of the twelve chapters of our book “The References” and are part of the second volume (1950’s-1960’s). The photo shows a 6152/1 with Rolex movement, “Luminor Panerai” dial and crown-protecting device (chapter VIII.II, page 942-955).

How do we explain four different versions in our new book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s? Watches of the Reference 6152/1 are presented in order of the movement version, the type of winding crown used and sorted chronological by their casing reference number, as follows:

Chapter VIII.I = Reference 6152/1
with Rolex movement and 8 mm Rolex crown
(featuring four different watches on page 878-921).

Chapter VIII.II = Reference 6152/1
with Rolex movement and Panerai crown-protecting device
(featuring ten different watches on page 922-1057).

Chapter X.III = Modified Reference 6152/1
with Angelus movement and 8 mm Rolex crown
(featuring three different watches on page 1212-1259).

Chapter X.IV = Modified Reference 6152/1
with Angelus movement and Panerai crown-protecting device
(featuring four different watches on page 1260-1313).

Each of the four chapters shows the different movement and dial versions recorded in our database with charts, e.g. illustrating the relationship between registered watches with 8 mm Rolex crown and Panerai crown-protecting device of the Reference 6152/1. Additional information on different hands, caseback engravings for different forces which used the watches as well as historical background on two 6152/1 watches first owners can be found, too. Enjoy reading!

Our “The Reference” books are available in our bookstore.

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A look into our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s

by on Dec.22, 2020, under Allgemein


Page 70-71 – engraved caseback of a Ref. 3646 / Type A “Radiomir Panerai”.


Page 112-113 – 25 July 1941: „Operazione Malta 1“ – setting out for the Augusta base, heading towards Malta: Teseo Tesei (SLC), Vittorio Moccagatta and Giobatta Parodi (MAS 452).


Page 358-359 – contemporary illustration of SLC missions starting from the “Olterra” in the Bay of Gibraltar (1942 and 1943).

“The References” 1930’s-1940’s at a glance:
33 Vintage Panerai watches, history, instruments and straps of the 1930’s-1940’s. Featured References: 2533, 3646, the Mare Nostrum chronograph and compasses.

26 x 26 cm, 696 pages, trilingual (German, Italian and English language in one book), 19 database charts, 383 illustrations, including rare historic photos from the 2nd World War, hardback jacket, slipcase.

Visit our bookstore and enjoy reading soon!

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A look into our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s

by on Dec.21, 2020, under Allgemein


Page 924-925 – the patented, L-shaped lever with crown-protecting device of a Ref. 6152/1.


Page 1148-1149 – patent 545668 (dated 30 November 1955) presents the O-ring used in the GPF 2/56.


Page 1332-1333 – the casebacks on the compasses, which are screwed in at six points, ar signed in the center with „OFFICINE PANERAI – FIRENZE“ and below with the patented trademark „BREVETTATO“. The Radiomir compass on the right also features the „MOD. G.PF. 4/55“.

“The References” 1950’s-1960’s at a glance:
37 Vintage Panerai watches from the 1950’s to 1960’s. Featured References: 6152, 6154, 6152/1, GPF 2/56 and modified References, compasses and depth gauges followed by an overview of the straps and buckles used in this era.

26 x 26 cm, 696 pages, trilingual (German, Italian and English language in one book), 27 database charts, 353 illustrations, including rare historic photos from Italian and Egyptian frogmen, hardback jacket, slipcase.

Visit our bookstore and enjoy reading soon!

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18 December 1941 – today in history…

by on Dec.18, 2020, under Allgemein

After the failed missions in August and September 1940, the Decima MAS returned to the eastern Mediterranean in order to make another attemp to attack the Harbour of Alexandria with SLC devices of the Mezzi d’Assalto: “Operazione G.A.3”, carried out by Tenente di Vascello Luigi Durand de la Penne and Capo Palombaro I Emilio Bianchi (SLC 221), Capitano Genio Navale Antonio Marceglia and Sottocapo Palombaro Spartaco Schergat (SLC 222), Capitano Armi Navale Vincenzo Martellotta and Sottocapo Palombaro Mario Marino (SLC 223).

Alexandria_GA3_12-1941_600x600What turned out to be one of the most famous SLC missions in the Second World War has been announced in the Italian War Bulletin N. 585 of the 8th of January 1942: “On the night of the 18th December assault craft of the Italian Royal Navy entered the Harbour of Alexandria and attacked two British battleships anchored there. It has only just been confirmed that a battleship of the Valiant class was seriously damaged and put into dock for repairs, and is still there.”

Bulletin N. 586 of the 9th of January 1942, added the following: “In the Operation conducted by assault craft fo the Royal Italian Navy in the Harbour of Alexandria and reported in yesterday’s Bulletin we now have definite further intelligence that, in Addition to the Valiant, a second battleship of the Barham class was also damaged.”

img_0628_600x600Winston Churchill announced in a speech before a secret session of the House of Commons on the 23rd of April 1942: “A further sinister stroke was to come. On the early morning of December 19 half a dozen Italians in unusual diving suits were captured floundering about in the Harbour of Alexandria… Four hours later explosions occurred in the bottoms of the Valiant and the Queen Elizabeth, produced by limpet bombs fixed with extra-ordinary courage and ingenuity, the effect which was to blow large holes in the bottoms of both ships and to flood several compartments, thus putting them both out of Actions for many months…”

Read chapter II.I of our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s to find out what happened on 18 December 1941 (page 118-125). More on the historic content in our “The References” book set with a total of 1392 pages can be found here and here. You can purchase “The References” 1930’s-1940’s  in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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30 October 1940 – today in history…

by on Oct.30, 2020, under Allgemein

1940. The first mission against the Port of Gibraltar (B.G.1) was aborted when it became clear that the British fleet had already left for Operation “Menace”. The transport submersible Scirè under the command of Junio Valerio Borghese was still 50 nautical miles off Gibraltar. Disappointed, the SLC teams returned to their secret base at Bocca di Serchio, where they intensively discussed the feasibility of this type of attack. This happened at the same time when „Operazione G.A.2“ was about to end with the sinking of the transport submersible Gondar.

R_SMG_Scire_Crest_600x600Initial, decisive proof of the feasibility and the successful, secret penetration of enemy ports was achieved by Comandante Borghese and his men in mission B.G.2. Again, three SLCs were dispatched: Teseo Tesei with Alcide Pedretti, Luigi Durand de la Penne with Emilio Bianchi and Gino Birindelli with Damos Paccagnini.

The Scirè came into position at around 1.30 a.m. on 30 October 1940 in order to allow the SLC teams to disembark from the conning tower of the submersible. The Scirè only remained at the surface for a short time so that the three SLC teams could reach the cylindrical pods on the deck of the submersible. The Scirè then retreated back beneath the surface. Under water, the three teams manoeuvred their SLCs out from the pods and started their attack on the Port of Gibraltar. The three teams experienced problems almost as soon as the attack began. While Tesei and his co-pilot Pedretti had problems with their breathing apparatus, Durand de la Penne and his co-pilot Bianchi experienced problems with their electric engine. Both teams decided to abort the attack and sink their SLCs. However, only De la Penne managed to do this. Tesei’s SLC was washed up on the Spanish coast near La Linea and caused quite a stir among both the Spanish authorities and the British secret service. Both teams swam to the Spanish coast and were able to return safely to Italy with the help of the Italian secret service.

BG2_Gibraltar_600x600The fate of the entire operation now lay in the hands of Gino Birindelli and his co-pilot Damos Paccagnini. Unaware of the fact that their comrades-in-arms had already had to terminate their mission, they launched their attack on the Port of Gibraltar. Although mission B.G.2 was in principle a failure because not one enemy ship was sunk, Birindelli and his co-pilot Paccagnini were able to prove for the first time that a “maiale” was able to enter an enemy port unnoticed.

„Operazione B.G.2“ marked the start of a three year war that took place noiselessly and under water in the Bay of Gibraltar. For Gino Birindelli, however, the mission marked the start of a journey through Allied POW camps that would last many months. Read more on mission B.G.2 and the story of Gino Birindelli in our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s in chapter VIII.II on page 1014-1043.

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Big and bold: the Vintage Panerai GPF 2/56.

by on Nov.05, 2019, under Allgemein

Rahmen_2019_GPF256_Luminor_lumeWatches of the reference GPF 2/56 are featured in two of the twelve chapters of our new “The References” books and part of the second volume (1950’s-1960’s). The GPF 2/56 watches with “Radiomir Panerai” dials are featured in chapter IX.I, while the GPF 2/56 watches with “Luminor Panerai” dial are featured in chapter IX.II.

The photo shows a “lume shot” of a GPF 2/56 with grey anti-reflective coating and “Luminor Panerai” dial on page 1140-1141. More photos of this watch can be found on page 1136-1161.

Our “The Reference” books are available here in our bookstore. Enjoy reading! 

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Spot on: vintage straps and buckles

by on Oct.20, 2019, under Allgemein

Rahmen_2019_bucklesIn both volumes of our new book “The References” we dedicated one chapter for straps and buckles. Highly collectible and sought after straps and buckles dating back to the Second World War are featured in chapter V.

The photo on the left shows two rare buckles from the Second World War era in different conditions. Because of their shape, these type of buckles were nicknamed “Bottle Opener” by collectors. Information on “The References” 1930’s-1940’s (first volume) can be found here.

Rahmen_2019_strapsThe famous GPF mod. Dep. buckles from the 1950’s-1960’s are featured in chapter XII, together with an overview of different straps made for Guido Panerai & Figlio watches and instruments.

The photo on the left shows different buckles and straps. Information on “The References” 1950’s-1960’s (second volume) can be found here.

Our book “The References” is in stock (both volumes) and can be ordered in our bookstore. Learn how to order in our FAQ section.

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Ref. 3646 watches with “California Dials”

by on Oct.18, 2019, under Allgemein

Rahmen_2019_California_DialVintage Panerai watches with “California Dials” are recorded in several number groups of the Reference 3646. Read our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s to find out, in which of the seven number groups (3646 / Type A – 3646 / Type G) this type of dial has been used and which number group features almost half of all known 3646 watches with “California Dial” today.

The “Error-Proof Radium Dial” by Rolex, with its railroad track minute markers and “SWISS MADE” signature at six o’clock, features half arabic and half roman numbers with luminous material applied from above.

Information on “The References” 1930’s-1940’s can be found here. The new “The References” books can be ordered only in our bookstore.

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Watches and instruments with brown faded dials

by on Oct.15, 2019, under Allgemein

Rahmen_2019_6154_tropic_dialAttractive to the eyes of many Vintage Panerai collectors, brown faded dials are featured in our book “The References” in chapter II.I (3646 / Type A) on page 58-91. Read more on this famous watch here.

The photo on the left shows a Ref. 6154 with brown faded “Radiomir Panerai” dial which is featured in chapter VII (one of five different watches of this reference introduced in this chapter on page 784-867). Read more about this reference here.

Chapter VIII.I features a Ref. 6152/1 (with Rolex movement) with brown aged “Radiomir Panerai” dial on page 902-909, followed by two Ref. 6152/1 watches with Angelus movement in chapter X.III on page 1236-1259 (both with “Luminor Panerai” dials). Read more about the Ref. 6152/1 watches with Angelus movements here.

Rahmen_2019_30_Metri_tropic_dialLast but not least, a Guido Panerai & Figlio depth gauge, calibrated to 30 metres, with brown aged “Radiomir Panerai” dial is featured in chapter XI.II on page 1336-1337. Find more about the chapter XI.I and XI.II featuring different instruments here.

Our new “The References” books are in stock and ready for shipping – just visit our bookstore and enjoy reading soon!  [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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