Author Archive

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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Ref. 6152/1 “Radiomir Panerai” @ Sotheby’s HK

by on Oct.03, 2019, under Watch Point

Rahmen_2019_SothebysHK_2311Sotheby’s will auction a Ref. 6152/1 with “Radiomir Panerai” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 4 movement in their upcoming auction Important Watches in Hong Kong on 8 October, 2019 (lot 2311). The watch is recorded in our database since November 2007, when it was auctioned at Sotheby’s Geneva (lot 60).

Until today, we know 23 watches of the Ref. 6152/1 with 8 mm Rolex crown and Rolex movement. This specimen is one of ten registered watches with a “Radiomir Panerai” dial. The original hands of this watch appear to be replaced after the watch was no longer in military duty.

The watch is accompanied by a Marina Militare divers logbook and letter, stating the purchase of the watch by Giuseppe Rasenti from the Centro Subacqueo ed Incursori “Teseo Tesei” in La Spezia (photos shown in the lot description at Sotheby’s / link above).

Watches of the Reference 6152/1 with 8 mm Rolex crown are featured in our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s in chapter VIII.I (page 878-921).

Features of the watch:
Reference: 6152/1
Dial: “Radiomir Panerai”
Case number: 1245XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 4

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]

[Photo of the Ref. 6152/1 watch courtesy of www.sothebys.com]

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30 September 1940 – today in history…

by on Sep.30, 2019, under Allgemein

R_SMG_Gondar_Crest_600x600The afternoon of 30 September 1940 marks the end of the mission „Operazione G.A.2“. Just five weeks after the sinking of the Iride, the Gondar (photo: historic crest of the submarine, showing SLC containers on its deck) was the second transport submarine of the Mezzi d’Assalto to be sunk.

The submarine Gondar (built in 1937) under the command of Tenente di Vascello Francesco Brunetti was dispatched from La Spezia with Alexandria as her target. On board the Gondar was the officer-in-charge of mission G.A.2, Mario Giorgini, three SLC teams and a reserve team.

When the Gondar reached the target area on 29 September 1940, she received a sobering radio message from reconnaissance: The British fleet had left the Port of Alexandria – so mission G.A.2 was aborted. The Gondar headed now for Tobruk and was already on its return journey when it was discovered by the Australian destroyer, HMAS Stuart. A second destroyer, HMS Diamond and a corvette now tracked the Gondar throughout the night alongside HMAS Stuart.

R_SMG_Gondar_SeaD_600x600After hours of attempting to evade capture, the Gondar gave up in the early hours of 30 September 1940. Commander Brunetti gave the order to dive down and abandon the Gondar, which effectively saved his team and the SLC pilots from going down after being sunk by the mighty enemy. A British Sunderland flying boat bombarded the Gondar while the crew was already in the water – effectively sealing the fate of the second transport submersible for SLCs (see historic photos on the left). For one of the two inventors of the new weapon, Elios Toschi, this second journey was also to be his last. He was taken prisoner by the British alongside the crew of the Gondar and his comrades – “missione fallita”.

The launch of the new weapon appeared to be ill-fated: Two operations (G.A.1 and G.A.2) failed, two valuable transport submersibles had been sunk and four SLC teams and their officers-in-charge had been taken as prisoners of war. It was to take over a year until another attempt could be made to penetrate the Port of Alexandria in December 1941…

Read more about “The birth of a legend – the first Panerai watches (1935-1939)” in chapter I on page 34-39, followed by the timeline of the missions during the Second World War in chapter II.I on page 106-109. Mario Giorgini, officer-in-charge of the mission G.A.2 is also featured in the second volume of “The References” on page 1016-1022. The Gondar is also featured in our book “History1” in chapter IV on page 288-357.

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Ref. 3646 / Type E “California Dial” @ Sotheby’s HK

by on Sep.30, 2019, under Watch Point

Sotheby’s will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type E with “California Dial” and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 mod. movement in their upcoming auction Important Watches in Hong Kong on 8 October, 2019 (lot 2310). The watch is recorded in our database since May 2013.

Rahmen_2019_SothebysHK_2310The “California Dial” is corresponding with the flat bezel of the watch – a typical combination of dial version and bezel (a Panerai dial with its sandwich construction would need a higher bezel due to its height). 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. The onion shaped winding crown (“BREVET +” Type 11) is screwed down onto the collar of the 47 mm cushion shaped case with soldered lugs.

Noteworthy, this watch is one of only three known pieces within the number group Ref. 3646 / Type E which show a Rolex hallmark and reference number on its inner caseback. Usually, known watches of the number group Ref. 3646 / Type E only bear their case number on the inner caseback as typical feature. We have pointed this out in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.V (page 537) and II.VI (page 579-581), where this watch is mentioned by its case number several times.

Since 2016, three new watches of the number group Ref. 3646 / Type E surfaced, two of them expanded the number group from 260856 – 261097 (1.1.2016) to 260850 – 260111 (29 watches recorded as of today).

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type E
Dial: “California Dial”
Case number: 260918
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 mod.

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]

[Photo of the Ref. 3646 / Type E watch courtesy of www.sothebys.com]

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…soldered or solid lugs?

by on Sep.18, 2019, under Allgemein

soldered_or_solid_900x900No matter what’s your favourite Vintage Panerai case design, our book set “The References” features both versions: soldered lugs and solid lugs – 70 watches on 1392 pages.

The tag 696 is connected with all stories published about the first volume on 696 pages: watches, history, instruments and straps of the 1930’s-1940’s. The early References 2533 (chapter I) and 3646 (chapter II) are explained and with rich reference to several variants by their number groups. This overview is complimented by the legendary Mare Nostrum chronograph (chapter III), rare compasses (chapter IV) used in the Second World War and some of the few straps and buckles which rarely survived after more than 70 years (chapter V).

The tag 1392 is connected with all stories published about the second volume on the follwing 696 pages (from page 697 to page 1392): watches, history, instruments and straps of the 1950’s-1960’s. The References 6152 (chapter VI) and 6154 (chapter VII), are followed by Reference 6152/1 with the famous crown-protecting device are explained in detail and many variations in chapter VIII. Followed by the Reference GPF 2/56 with Angelus movement (chapter IX), “The References” 1950’s-1960’s features in chapter X the Modified References 3646, Transitional 3646 and Modified Reference 6152/1. Chapter XI is about compasses and depth gauges, followed by the last chapter XII, an overview of the straps and buckles used on watches and instruments from Guido Panerai & Figlio in this era.

Visit our bookstore and enjoy reading soon!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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A Kampfschwimmer’s “3646 full set”…

by on Sep.10, 2019, under Allgemein

history2_9roesel_600x600CHAPTER IX @ “History2”: The collectible items of the former combat swimmer Helmut Rösel, which was submitted for auction back in November 2012, contains not only his Panerai watch but also some documents from his time as a combat swimmer, some of which are extremely rare in this day and age. They give precise information about the stages of his training and his successful missions at the western and eastern fronts. The German Federal Cross of Merit, which was awarded to him in 1983 provided new insights, following our enquires at the Office of the Federal President, into his professional career in the Protestant Church, in which he was a pastor from 1961 and a military chaplain for the Bundeswehr from 1971. Letters written personally by him and a 1994 jewellery certificate for his Panerai watch are precious pieces of evidence are just as difficult to find in this day and age as the historic Panerai watches themselves.

CHAPTER IX.I features “The Rösel Radiomir” – a Ref. 3646 / Type C with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History2″ (480 pages / chapter IX: 98 pages, 63 photos, 4 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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From the Adriatic coast to the rivers of the eastern front…

by on Sep.09, 2019, under Allgemein

history2_8lewandowski_600x600CHAPTER VIII @ “History2”: Frogman Walter Lewandowski followed an unusual path in the Second World War. In 1943 he was initially with the Luftwaffe as a paratrooper and pilot of a transport glider in “Battle Squadron 200”, then posted to the Kriegsmarine (Navy), and immediately afterwards trained as a combat swimmer in Valdagno and in the Lagoon of Venice.

After a failed mission on the Adriatic coast, where he managed to find his way back to his own lines overland after many days, he was then sent back to the Eastern Front in Germany for the last weeks of the war. There, as a member of the “Einsatzgruppe Keller”, he carried out a number of missions against the Soviet pontoon bridges. He first escaped captivity by the Soviet troops, who were advancing on Berlin with immense superiority of strength, but then on the island of Sylt he shared the fate of many other “Kampfschwimmer” and was a British prisoner of war until 1946.

CHAPTER VIII.I features “The Lewandowski Radiomir”, a Ref. 3646 / Type C “Radiomir Panerai” with Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History2″ (480 pages / chapter VIII: 72 pages, 48 photos, 4 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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Tracking a frogman’s way thru war by his field post letters…

by on Sep.08, 2019, under Allgemein

history2_7kaufhold_600x600CHAPTER VII @ “History2”: The chapter about Hanns-Martin Kaufhold shows comprehensively just how helpful a collection of field post letters has been when researching this member of the “Einsatzgruppe Keller”. His correspondence with his then-girlfriend, which lasted more than three years from his entry into the German Navy in 1942 until the end of his imprisonment in July 1945, provides information about the stages of his time as a trainee officer and combat swimmer. Such very rare documents, including identification papers and travel documents issued in Venice, allow us to reconstruct the route he took to the mission grounds at the Eastern Front. A mission report written by Hanns-Martin Kaufhold on April 3rd, 1945 – an unique and extremely rare document – describes a mission carried out by him and four comrades in the “Einsatzgruppe Keller”.

CHAPTER VII.I features “The Kaufhold Radiomir” – a Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History2″ (480 pages / chapter VII: 70 pages, 58 photos, 6 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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From Hamburg to the Lagoon of Venice…

by on Sep.07, 2019, under Allgemein

history2_6lau_600x600CHAPTER VI @ “History2”: The chapter about the contemporary witness and author of the book “Schiffssterben vor Algier”, Manfred Lau, with whom we have been friendly since 2003, is a very special one. It is the “chapter without a watch”. Nevertheless, precisely his personal story is of great interest to us, as he is a veteran of the “Lehmann pig group”, who were trained for deployments with two-man torpedoes (SLC and SSB devices) on the island of Le Vignole in the Lagoon of Venice. In impressive and precise detail he describes the difficult journey from Hamburg through a Germany that was, by the autumn of 1944, severely marked by the scars of war, and down to northern Italy, where the secret training centre of the combat swimmers was located.

The detailed memories of his training period to become a pilot of the two-man torpedoes (SLC / SSB), more than 70 years ago, and supplemented with historical maps and pictures, take the reader on a journey to the Adriatic coast. There the midshipman ended his time as a sea fighter with a march into captivity, from which he returned to Germany in 1948.

The book “History2″ (480 pages / chapter VI: 82 pages, 39 photos) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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The journey of a frogman’s 3646…

by on Sep.06, 2019, under Allgemein

history2_5koeneke_600x600CHAPTER V @ “History2”: The chapter on Jochen Burnus describes his period of duty as a combat swimmer, from his posting away from Yugoslavia in 1944 and his training in northern Italy to his missions at the Elbe, where he ended up in American captivity in April 1945. After his release he worked in Hamburg Harbour as a recovery diver, together with other former combat swimmers, including Siegfried Köneke, who also belonged to the “Einsatzgruppe Keller” in the Second World War.

Jochen Burnus later received his friend’s 3646 from Köneke’s parents, after Sigi was killed at the age of 28 in tragic circumstances while working in Hamburg harbour on March 14th, 1949. Thus the stories of two combat swimmers merge inseparably and allow us to trace the journey of a combat swimmer watch and its earlier owners from 1944 to the present day.

CHAPTER V.II features “The Köneke Radiomir”, a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch with anonymous sandwich dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History2″ (480 pages / chapter V: 112 pages, 67 photos, 4 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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