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Engraved “Kampfschwimmer” @ Wright Marshall

by on Apr.29, 2016, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_2016_1000x700_WM_Lot153After the sale of a Ref. 3646 / Type D earlier this year, auctioneer Wright Marshall features with lot 153 one more Ref. 3646/ Type D with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial, blued steel hands and onion shaped crown (Type 11) in their Fine Antique & Collectible Sale on 10 May 2016 in Knutsford, Cheshire (United Kingdom).

The watch has been added into our database, matching the Ref. 3646 / Type D criteria by its Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement in combination with the Rolex hallmark, reference and case number embossed on the inner caseback.

WrightMarshall_engraved_casebackThe outer caseback of the watch bears a rare engraving, featuring initials of the first owner, the year 1945 and the words “Kampf-Schwimmer” (combat swimmer) and “L.K. 700”. Only a very few number of Ref. 3646 watches are known today, which are decorated / personalized in a similar way. Another well known example with painted brass dial and identical engraving on the caseback is part of the Museo Panerai Collection.

About the Lehrkommando 700 (short: L.K. 700, as engraved on the caseback): In 1944, several training schools were built for different type of Small Naval Assault in the German Kriegsmarine. Aside the training school for combat swimmers (frogmen), there were schools for explosive boats (Lehrkommando 200 and 600) and further four different types of midget submarines (Lehrkommando 250, 300, 350 and 400).

IMG_2904_600x600We have documented and illustrated the various training schools of the Small Naval Assault Command in our book “History1” on page 202-203 in chapter III (see coffee table shot on the left).

The Lehrkommando 700 was based in Valdagno and Venice (Italy) until November 1944 and moved to the island of Sylt (Germany) until the end of the Second World War. Remaining units of the Lehrkommando 700 have been arrested POW by British forces at Sylt. Many Panerai watches changed ownership in these days and became a “souvenir” for returning troops of the allied nations after their service. Some of these watches have survived the war and surfaced after more than 70 years to the public. We expect further watches to be discovered in the future which went a similar way than the Ref. 3646 / Type D offered at Wright Marshall in May.

Wright Marshall provided the following provenance:
“This watch has been in the northeast of England since the early 1960’s when the vendors late father swapped the watch for a carriage clock, it has remained in the family since that date, the watch was serviced by a local jeweller on 20/5/88 for the sum of £28 and the watch has never been used since that date.”

Wright Marshall CONDITION REPORT: 
The watch was last serviced from a local jeweller on 20/05/88 for the sum of £28 and has been left in a drawer since, light scratches and marks to outer case and U-shaped crack to plexi-glass, minor bending to large fingertip, minor chipping to hands, light wear/use marks throughout around back outer case, green colour around edges, crown partly releases, unable to move the fingers with crown, a simple shake and the watch starts to tick for around 10 seconds, not complete with original led seal.

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

[Photo with kindly permission / courtesy of www.wrightmarshall.co.uk]

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