Author Archive

Farewell, Mr. Kiefer!

by on Jan.20, 2016, under Allgemein

Sad news arrived us in January. German veteran Karl-Heinz Kiefer, one of the last remaining WW2 frogmen, died on 23 December 2015 at the age of 90. We send our condolences to his family.

Mr. Kiefer’s personal story as a frogmen was featured in chapter III of our 2011 book “History1″ with information he provided us during several meetings and interviews until 2011. Mr. Kiefer received a Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial after he was successfully instructed to become a “Kampfschwimmer” in the last weeks of the Second World War. Karl-Heinz Kiefer was taken prisoner of war by the British at the island of Sylt, which was the final headquarter of the German frogmen units (codename “Weisskoppel”) before the end of the Second World War. Mr. Kiefer’s Panerai watch is one of the very few watches in our records which can be tracked from present day back to its use in early 1945.

Karl-Heinz Kiefer started his navy career in the Kriegsmarine in October 1943. He completed his recruit training in Stralsund (Baltic Sea) as member of the “Crew 10/43″. After his recruit training he went on board the destroyer Z 25 in Gotenhafen in January 1944, where he completed his second part of his officer training, the so-called “on-board recruit period” until July 1944.

From this part of his career, Karl-Heinz Kiefer found a photo of himself in 2012 at his home, which he provided us for adding in our history records. As it was too late to feature it in the already published book “History1″, we want to share this photo to remember him. The backside of the photo bears a date stamp (18 March 1944) and the photographer’s stamp, based in Danzig (Baltic Sea).

After his officer training he posted to the special marine unit (“Kampfschwimmer”) in December 1944, as he was an excellent swimmer who participated several swimming competitions, such as the German youth championships in 1942. Released from the POW camp after only eight weeks, he left the island of Sylt in June 1945. Mr. Kiefer became a school teacher in 1946 until his retirement as principal.

Related to his Ref. 3646 / Type D Panerai watch, we remember his many detailed memories during the 2011 interview at the age of 85: “Whoever had his own diving watch, and no longer needed to return it to the store after exercises along with the other pieces of equipment, was a fully-trained combat swimmer, ready for action. Whoever wore the Panerai on his arm really belonged.” 

We are glad, that we had the chance to meet Mr. Kiefer in person, listened to his very personal experiences of his time when he became a frogmen. We asked him questions, on which we received helpful, interesting but also moving answers. Questions, which sadly one day non of those veterans will be able to answer anymore…

“Auf Wiedersehen!” – farewell, Mr. Kiefer – rest in peace!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann] 

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The “closer” in 2015: a Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial

by on Dez.30, 2015, under Allgemein

Latest entry in our Vintage Panerai database is a Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial, located in the United Kingdom. According to the family of the british WW2 veteran, this watch has been brought from Germany at the end of the war and has been kept untouched for seventy years.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer”  (painted brass, anonymous)
Case number: 2608XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

By the end of the year 2015 we have 383 records in our Vintage Panerai database.

Have a good start into 2016!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

 

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Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” @ Phillips HK

by on Nov.16, 2015, under Allgemein

Phillips will feature a Ref. 3646 / Type D in their upcoming The Hong Kong Watch Auction: ONE (December 1st, 2015). The watch (LOT 223) is recorded in our database since 2010 and is one of the more than 70 recorded watches of the 3646 / Type D number group. The watch has been auctioned in November 2012 at Sotheby’s Geneva before.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer”  (sandwich, anonymous)
Case number: 260XXX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

Similar Ref. 3646 / Type D watches with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial will be featured in the 2016 edition of our new book “The References” in volume 1, chapter II.IV on page 398-531.

Ref. 3646 / Type D watches with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dials are featured in our books “History1″ (chapter II) and “History2″ (chapter V and chapter VII).

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

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Vintage Panerai book “History1″ is in stock.

by on Nov.15, 2015, under General, Watch Point

Our book “History1″ is in stock. It can be ordered directly at our bookstore. “History1″ comes in a solid slipcase (on the right in the photo) which has been constructed to protect the hardcover book and keep it in perfect shape when stored in a bookshelf upright.

Both together, the hardcover book and the slipcase, are weighing more than 3 kilos. The size of the book is 26 x 26 cm, 420 pages, trilingual (German, Italian and English language in one book). Further photos can be found in our bookstore’s gallery.

The four chapters of our book “History1″ are introduced below:
Chapter I / Chapter II / Chapter III / Chapter IV

The four watches featured in the book “History1″ can be found here:
The Lehmann Radiomir / The Pape RadiomirThe Kiefer Radiomir / The Arillo Luminor

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Vintage Panerai book “History2″ is in stock.

by on Nov.14, 2015, under General, Watch Point

Our book “History2″ is in stock. It can be ordered directly at our bookstore. “History2″ comes in a solid slipcase (on the right in the photo) which has been constructed to protect the hardcover book and keep it in perfect shape when stored in a bookshelf upright. The size of the book is 26 x 26 cm, 480 pages, trilingual (German, Italian and English language in one book).

Both together, the hardcover book with 480 pages and the slipcase, are weighing more than 3 kilos. Further photos can be found in our bookstore’s gallery.

The five chapters of our book “History2″ are introduced below:
Chapter V / Chapter VI / Chapter VII / Chapter VIII / Chapter IX

The Vintage Panerai watches featured in the book “History2″ can be found here:
“The Köneke Radiomir” / “The Kaufhold Radiomir” /
“The Lewandowski Radiomir” / “The Rösel Radiomir”

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Rare “Luminor Trittico” @ Christie’s

by on Sep.26, 2015, under Allgemein

Christie’s Geneva will have a rare “Luminor Trittico” (LOT 174, set of watch, compass and depth gauge) in their upcoming Important Watches 1410 Auction (November 9th, 2015).

The Ref. 6152/1 watch with “Luminor Panerai” dial, Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 4 movement and crown protecting device is accompanied by a compass and depth gauge, both “Luminor” versions. The compass with this luminous material is – compared to the more existing pieces with “Radiomir” a very rare example. The Ref. 6152/1 watch and the “Luminor Panerai” depht gauge (aimed to 40 meters) are both marked with a very rare matriculation number of the italian Polizia di Stato (P.S.).

Features of the watch:
Reference: 6152/1
Dial: “Luminor Panerai” (sandwich, engraved)
Case number: 124XXX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 4

Today, less than 90 watches of the Reference 6152/1 with Rolex movements are recorded in our database, of wich ca. 3/4 are featured with the patented crown protecting device by Panerai. The today known 1/4 of these watches come with a Rolex 8 mm crown. More than 80% of all recorded Ref. 6152/1 watches with a crown protecting device are featured with the – typical – Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 4 movement (with 17 jewels and Incabloc shock protection), such as the present watch appears in the Christie’s auction.

Watches of the Ref. 6152/1 with Rolex movement and Panerai crown protecting device will be featured in chapter VII.II of our upcoming book “The References” (2nd edition). Compasses and depht gauges will be featured in chapter X.

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]

[Photos with kindly permission / courtesy of www.christies.com]

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Ref. 3646 / Type C “Radiomir Panerai” @ Christie’s

by on Sep.24, 2015, under Allgemein

Christie’s Geneva will have a Ref. 3646 / Type C “Radiomir Panerai” (LOT 173) in their upcoming Important Watches 1410 Auction (November 9th, 2015).

This watch is recorded in our database since 2007 and is one of the few 3646 / Type C watches with dark red numbers and markers. Most of the today known watches (more than 50 Ref. 3646 / Type C watches are recoded in our database) of this number group hold a “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial. The watch is powered by the typical Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement. Under all today known watches in this number group, more than 90% are having this movement version (with 17 jewels and without Incabloc shock protection).

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type C
Dial: “Radiomir Panerai”  (sandwich, engraved)
Case number: 1010XXX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

Further details of the watch are the high version of the bezel, long loops soldered to the case, typical blued steel hands with complete luminous material and the “Brevet +” onion shaped winding crown (Type 11). The inner caseback bears the engraving of Ref. 3646 / Type C watches – the Rolex SA embossing, reference and case number. An overview of the different caseback markings in Ref. 3646 watches can be found here: Type A-C and Type D-G.

This watch will be featured in chapter I.III of our upcoming book “The References” (2nd edition) on page 292-297. A similar watch with dark red aged “Radiomir Panerai” dial is featured in our book “History1” in chapter I.

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]

[Photos with kindly permission / courtesy of www.christies.com]

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Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” @ Dr Crott

by on Sep.23, 2015, under Allgemein

A new entry in our records, another great example of a typical Ref. 3646 / Type D watch made in 1943 / 1944 and used in the 2nd world war, reached our database: Auctioneers Dr. Crott received a yet unknown Ref. 3646 / Type D watch for their 92nd Auction which will be held in Frankfurt, November 14th 2015 (LOT 27).

Surfaced to the market 70 years after the 2nd world war for the first time, consigned by the family of a german “Kampfschwimmer” veteran, this Ref. 3646 / Type D Vintage Panerai watch is marking one of less than 80 watches of this number group Type D known until today.

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

Beside the typical features of the watch, such as the high version of the bezel, neccessary for the high sandwich dial from Panerai, the onion shaped Rolex crown (“Brevet +” / Type 11), the short bent soldered lugs and also the Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement, its unpolished case and original “volcano dome” plexi are striking features. Actually the onion crown can’t be screwed down to the case as the tube has no winding grip anymore. Known as “the #1 part to be worn off”, the onion shaped crown is always something to be sensible with. Imagine that the crown has to be used every day and if the watch gets many wrist time (which has obviously been the case in this piece…) one day a new tube is needed. The unpolished surfaces of the cushion shaped case, its original blued hands and the original plexi are giving this Ref. 3646 /Type D watch an unique and rare patina.

The outer caseback of the watch bears no personal engraving, the inside of the caseback shows the typical decoration and the Rolex SA stamp with reference and case number. The blued steel hands hold the original luminous material, the four numbers and eight markers of the Panerai sandwich dial faded from dark yellow to a deep orange.

Similar watches of this type with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dials are featured in our books “History1″ (chapter II) and “History2″ (chapter V and chapter VII). Watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type D number group will be featured in chapter I.IV of our upcoming book “The References” (2nd edition) on page 398-531.

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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WW2 compass @ Dr. Crott

by on Sep.16, 2015, under Allgemein

A rare WW2 frogmen’s compass recently surfaced. Auctioneers Dr. Crott features a rare WW2 compass in their 92nd Auction on november 14th, 2015 (LOT 26). Attributed to Panerai, these compasses have been used by german “Kampfschwimmer” units together with Ref. 3646 watches as part of their underwater equipment.

The wrist compass (53 x 65 mm brass base with solid lugs) has a height of 27 mm including the plexiglass dome, which is screwed onto the base by six screws. The luminous compass rose, a transparent plexiglas disc (diameter 31 mm), has the german language orientation “N – O – S – W” (Nord, Ost, Süd, West), four arrows at 45 degrees and eight pointed markers at 22.5 degrees between the four cardinal points (all luminous). The domed plexiglas is also having a luminous bearing line (applied from the inside of the plexiglas dome).

A black calf leather strap with light alloy buckle is riveted onto the fixed bars of the lugs. The damping liquid can be filled into the compass thru a hole on top of the domed plexiglas, which is closed by a screw. Without the damping liquid, this compass has a weight of 91 grams.

Historic photos, showing the same type of compasses on several “Kampfschwimmer” wrists are featured in chapter II of our book “History1″ (page 94, 102) and “History2″ (page 674, 756 and 760). Similar compasses (both, italian and german version of the cardinal points, with flexible and solid lugs) are featured in chapter VI of our book “History2″ and will be featured in chapter III of our upcoming book “The References” (2nd edition) on page 660-675.

Compared to the today’s known number of Ref. 3646 watches, compasses of the same age can be called very rare. We hope the compass will find a good new home and that it remain surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world – maybe as an additional collectible piece aside a frogmen’s Ref. 3646 watch. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Arrivederci, Emilio Bianchi

by on Aug.16, 2015, under Allgemein

Sad news from Italy: Emilio Bianchi passed away on Saturday, august 15th 2015 at the age of 103. We send our condolences to his family in Torre del Lago / Tuscany.

The Marina Militare published an online note on Sig. Bianchi’s funeral here. British online news “The Telegraph” published a note here. Italian online news “La Repubblica” published a note here.

Emilio Bianchi was the last living member of the “fab six” SLC commandos, who took part at the mission “G.A. 3″ in December 1941. For being co-pilot of Luigi Durant De La Penne’s SLC221 against the “HMS Valiant” in the harbour of Alexandria / Egypt, he was awarded with the Italian Gold Medal for Gallantry at War (M.O.V.M.).

Emilio Bianchi took part on several Club Panerai meetings in Viareggio / Tuscany. The visit of the former training camp for SLC commandos during WW2, an old farm house at Bocca di Serchio, will remain unforgettable to Panerai enthusiasts who took part back in May 2005.

[photo: Emilio Bianchi with members of the Club Panerai meeting at Bocca di Serchio, 2005]

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