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Sotheby’s New York will auction an engraved Ref. 3646 / Type B

by on Nov.14, 2017, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2017_3646_B_Sothebys05Sotheby’s will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type B with “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial, Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement and engraved caseback (lot 946) in their New York auction Important Watches on 6 December 2017. Read more about the history behind this 3646, which carries you back to the last days of the Second World War at the river Elbe, here in our watch point.

[Photo of the Ref. 3646 / Type B watch with kindly permission / courtesy of www.sothebys.com]

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A war souvenir from the river Elbe in shape of a 3646

by on Nov.14, 2017, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_2017_3646_B_Sothebys04Sotheby’s will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type B “Radiomir Panerai” with engraved caseback in their New York auction Important Watches on 6 December 2017. The watch (lot 946) has been recorded in our database in 2016, along with information which we have received from the descendants of a British Army veteran who brought this watch back home as a souvenir from the Second World War.

Featuring the small Oyster Watch Co hallmark on its inner caseback, an onion shaped “Brevet +” crown (Type 11) and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement, the watch with a “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial stands in our database as another surfaced Ref. 3646 / Type B with an engraved caseback, providing a very interesting story in terms of how these watches changed ownership at the end of the war.

Rahmen_Bild_2017_3646_B_Sothebys03The history behind the engraving on the caseback of the watch in auction at Sotheby’s has been provided to us by the family of Captain Coltart.

Here is a little information on the watch since it came into the Coltart’s possession in 1945: Captain John Maxted Coltart, initially a member of the Black Watch Regiment (RHR) was transferred to the Gordon Highlanders of the 15th Scottish Regiment for the balance of the war.  After his marriage on March 17, 1945 he returned to duty in Germany to do his part in the crossing of the Elbe. He had tales of the struggle to build and maintain the bridge across the Elbe between Tespe on the South shore and the bridgehead at Tesperhude on the North bank. The bridge was under continuing assault by artillery fire, swimmers in the water and terrifyingly fast jet planes which had just entered the war. Captain Coltart brought a number of war souvenirs back to Scotland, including a Luger pistol, the Panerai divers watch and a dagger. He brought them to Canada when he and his family immigrated in 1955. His daughter inherited the watch upon his death in 1984. She had no idea the watch had value other than a keepsake until a Scottish cousin with a good memory emailed a clipping describing the sale of a similar Panerai watch. Captain Coltart had the back of the watch engraved to commemorate the last battle he took part in and the location where he obtained the watch. At this point it is unclear exactly how he managed to collect these mementos but it is clear that they were obtained while on active duty in Germany during the Second World War and have been in the family ever since.

On “Operation Enterprise” (source: wikipedia):
The particular distinction for the 15th Scottish was to be selected to lead the last set piece river crossing of the war, the assault across the River Elbe (“Operation Enterprise”) on 29 April 1945 spearheaded by the 1st Commando Brigade (commanded by Brigadier Derek Mills-Roberts), after which they fought on to the Baltic occupying both Lübeck and Kiel. The 15th (Scottish) was the only division of the British Army during the Second World War to be involved in three of the six major European river assault crossings; the Seine, the Rhine and the Elbe.

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The crossing of the river Elbe at Lauenburg has been part of our research for our book “History2”, chapter IX (page 825-845 with historic maps and photos taken during “Operation Enterprise” in the river Elbe area at Tespe – Artlenburg – Lauenburg) in which a surviving frogmen particularly mentioned the railway bridge of Lauenburg (see photo above, page 824-825) being one of their mission targets in the last days of the Second World War (19 April 1945), followed by the attemp to destroy the 946 ft. “Class 40 Bailey Pontoon Bridge” at Artlenburg (west of Lauenburg, 28/29 April 1945) by a group of German frogmen (see photos on page 842 and 843).

Rahmen_Bild_2017_3646_B_Sothebys01Photo left: view onto the Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement of the watch in auction. Similar watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type B with “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dials have been published earlier here and here.

A special thanks to the descendants of Captain Coltart who provided us information on the Ref. 3646 / Type B and its story behind. We hope that this watch will find a good new home and remains surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world.
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

[Photos of the Ref. 3646 / Type B watch with kindly permission / courtesy of www.sothebys.com]

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30 October 1940 – today in history…

by on Oct.30, 2017, 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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Ref. 6152/1 “Marina Militare” @ Phillips Winning Icons

by on Oct.07, 2017, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2017_PNY_39Phillips will feature a rare Ref. 6152/1 with “Marina Militare” dial in their Winning Icons – Legendary Watches of the 20th Century, which will be held on Thursday, 26 October 2017. The watch was recorded in our database in 2007 with a “non-matching” Ref. 6152 caseback. Taking the documented history for granted, this watch came directly from a veteran of the COMSUBIN and sold to the collector (the current owner / consignor) in the same year.

In 2013, the current owner of this Ref. 6152/1 added a very rare Ref. 6152 / Type B into his collection, which was recorded in our database with a “non-matching” Ref. 6152/1 caseback (read more here). Due to these circumstances, the owner of both watches (the Ref. 6152 with “non-matching” 6152/1 caseback and the Ref. 6152/1 with “non-matching” 6152 caseback) was able to swop the casebacks to get “matching” casebacks on both of his watches. The result was, that his 6152 / Type B has a “matching” 6152 caseback and the current lot 39 comes with “matching” Ref. 6152/1 caseback (engraved with S.M.Z M.M. 170). Lot 39 is published in our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s on page 894-901.

Furthermore we take into account that over the years we have recorded several Ref. 6152/1 watches with “non-matching” casebacks of the Ref. 6152. The first surfaced Ref. 6152 / Type B watch was recorded in 2010 with a “non-matching” caseback of a Ref. 6152/1, too. The owner of this watch was able to swop the caseback with a “matching” Ref. 6152 caseback as well. More about this can be read on page 767 in chapter VI.II of our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s.

At the release date of our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s, 87 specimen of the Ref. 6152/1 with Rolex movement were recorded in our database, and only 23 of them come with an 8 mm crown like the present watch on auction (the other 64 Ref. 6152/1 watches with Rolex movements have a Panerai crown-protecting devicve). Lot 39 is one of only eight watches of the Ref. 6152/1 with Rolex crown, which comes with a “Marina Militare” dial, known until today.

Further info on this watch (lot 39) can be found here.

We hope that this rare 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.phillips.com]

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Ref. 3646 / Type E “California Dial” @ Phillips Winning Icons

by on Oct.05, 2017, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2017_PNY_16Phillips will feature a rare Ref. 3646 / Type E with “California Dial” dial in their Winning Icons – Legendary Watches of the 20th Century, which will be held on Thursday, 26 October 2017. The watch comes with an onion shaped Rolex crown (Type 11) and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 mod. movement. The watch is recorded in our database since 2003. It is one of only two watches in the 3646 / Type E number group with the lettering “ROLEX” (presumably added later) engraved on the right-hand side of the central bridge (wheel train bridge).

At the release date of our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s, 26 specimen of the 3646 / Type E number group were recorded in our database (read page 532-573 in chapter II.V). Only one further 3646 / Type E watch with “California Dial” surfaced since then, and it was auctioned in 2016 at Phillips, too. Lot 16 is published in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s on page 552-559.

Further info on this watch (lot 16) can be found here.

We hope that this rare 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.phillips.com]

 

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Phillips WINNING ICONS featuring a 3646 and a 6152/1

by on Oct.03, 2017, under Allgemein

Phillips_NY_16_preview_600x600Two Vintage Panerai watches will be up for auction in the WINNING ICONS auction at Phillips on 26 October 2017 in New York. Inbetween a total of 50 watches in the auction with the subtitle “Legendary Watches of the 20th Century”, Lot 16 is a 3646 / Type E with “California Dial” (photo), followed by Lot 39, a Ref. 6152/1 with 8 mm Rolex crown and “Marina Militare” dial. Find further info on both watches in our Watch Point.

[Photo with kindly permission / courtesy of www.phillips.com]

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30 September 1940 – today in history…

by on Sep.30, 2017, 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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Two “Watches with History” @ Phillips GWA6

by on Sep.26, 2017, under Allgemein

canvas209Phillips will auction two Vintage Panerai watches on Sunday, 12 November 2017 during their Geneva Watch Auction: SIX. Lot 209 is a Ref. 6152/1 “Luminor Panerai” (photo) and Lot 210 is a Ref. 3646 / Type C “Kampfschwimmer”.

Read more on both “Watches with History” in our Watch Point. Lot 209 is featured in our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s – more info here. Lot 210 is featured in our book “History2” – more info here.

[Photo with kindly permission / courtesy of www.phillips.com]

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“The Rösel Radiomir” @ Phillips GWA6

by on Sep.25, 2017, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2017_GWA6_210Phillips will feature a rare Ref. 3646 / Type C with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial in their Geneva Watch Auction: SIX, which will be held on Sunday, 12 November 2017. The watch comes with a tubular shaped Rolex Oyster crown (Type 13) and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

Further info on this watch (lot 210) can be found here.

What makes this watch special for us:
The collectible items of the former combat swimmer Helmut Rösel, which was submitted for auction at Dr. Crott in November 2012 for the first time, contains not only his “Kampfschwimmer” watch but also several documents from his time as a combat swimmer, some of which are extremely rare in this day and age. Additional letters written personally by the first owner and a 1994 jewellery certificate for his 3646 are precious pieces of evidence which makes this a “full set” of which not many exist.

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The Ref. 3646 / Type C “Kampfschwimmer” and the history behind is featured in our book “History2” in chapter IX with 98 pages, 63 photos and 4 technical illustrations. Furthermore it is published in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.III on page 322-349. Read more about “The Rösel Radiomir” here.

We hope that this rare 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.phillips.com]

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“The Admiral’s Watch” @ Phillips GWA6

by on Sep.25, 2017, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2017_GWA6_209Phillips will feature a very rare Ref. 6152/1 “Luminor Panerai” in their Geneva Watch Auction: SIX, which will be held on Sunday, 12 November 2017.

It is one of very few existing Ref. 6152/1 watches with a rotating plexi bezel. Until today we have just four 6152/1 watches in our records that still feature such an additional rotating bezel – and one of them is the watch up for auction. The Rolex movement of the watch with “Luminor Panerai” dial is a typical Cal. 618 / Type 4 version with incabloc shock protection and 17 jewels. The watch came from the descendants of Admiral Gino Birindelli (1911 – 2008) and was auctioned for the first time only a few years ago at Sotheby’s in May 2014.

Further info on this watch (lot 209) can be found here.

heritage_696_birindelliWhat makes this watch special for us:
During the 2nd world war, Birindelli was a SLC pilot in the very early missions of the Mezzi d’Assalto against Alexandria (G.A.1) and Gibraltar (B.G.1 and B.G.2) in 1940. He was in fact the first SLC pilot who entered an enemy harbor with his device in the night of 30 October 1940, for which he was awarded with the gold medal for galantry at war (M.O.V.M.). Birindelli survived being a prisoner of war from October 1940 to March 1944. After the 2nd world war his career in the Italian Navy continued and became quite unique. Birindelli was commander of the Incursori (COMSUBIN) from 26 September 1948 to 30 April 1950, once again from 1 May 1954 to 5 June 1956. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1959, headed the I Divisione Navale as well as the fleet command (Comandante in Capo della Squadra Navale). Gino Birindelli headed the Allied naval forces in southern Europe before he retired in December 1973 in the rank of Ammiraglio di Squadra. Read more on Admiral Gino Birindelli here.

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The watch of Admiral Gino Birindelli and the unique story behind his career can be read in our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s (chapter VIII.II, page 1006 to 1043).

We hope that this remarkable 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.phillips.com]

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