Author Archive

18 December 1941 – today in history…

by on Dec.18, 2018, 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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Christie’s New York to auction a Ref. 3646 / Type C

by on Nov.18, 2018, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2018_Christies_TypeC_1Christie’s will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type C with “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement with onion shaped “Brevet +” crown (Type 11) in their Sale 16202 – An Evening of Exceptional Watches, December 6, in New York (Lot 22). Read more about this new addition in our database at our watch point. Christie’s online catalogue of Sale 16202 can be found here.

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

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18 November 1944 – today in history…

by on Nov.18, 2018, under Allgemein

img_0626_600x600Read chapter VII of our book “History2” to find out what happened on 18 November 1944. Rare documents helped us to capture the history behind a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch, which can be found in this chapter.

Beside photos from the years 1944 and 1945 showing the watch on the frogman’s wrist, as well as his identification papers and travel documents issued in Venice (see photo), helped us to reconstruct the route Hanns-Martin Kaufhold took to the mission grounds in the last months of the Second World War.

Read more about chapter VII of “History2” (70 pages, 58 photos, 6 technical illustrations) here. and here. You can purchase your copy of “History2” in our bookstore.

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Ref. 3646 / Type C @ Christie’s New York

by on Nov.13, 2018, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2018_Christies_TypeCChristie’s will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type C with “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement with onion shaped “Brevet +” crown (Type 11) in their Sale 16202 – An Evening of Exceptional Watches, December 6, in New York (Lot 22). The watch is recorded in our database since October – the second Ref. 3646 / Type C for the year 2018.

According to Christie’s, this Ref. 3646 / Type C has been in the same family since the Second World War.

The inner caseback bears the typical engraving of Ref. 3646 / Type C watches – the Rolex SA hallmark, the reference number and the seven digit case number. The outer caseback of this watch is not engraved / plain. An overview of the caseback markings (different hallmarks inside) in Ref. 3646 watches can be found here: Type A-C and Type D-G.

Watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type C are featured in our book “The References” (first volume / 1930’s-1940’s) in chapter II.III (page 248-397). Earlier this year, Fellows auctioned a similar watch of the same number group with deep red numbers and markers, which marked the first new entry in our database in 2018. Read more here.

Christie’s online catalogue of Sale 16202 can be found here.

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.christies.com]

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A lot to read during the holiday season…

by on Nov.10, 2018, under Allgemein

rahmen_bild_2016_x-mas_8474_1000x700Read about watches and instruments from Guido Panerai & Figlio. Vintage Panerai watches from the 1930’s to the 1960’s are described and photographed in intricate detail for the reader, telling the stories of their first users during their dangerous underwater missions.

“History1” (420 pages)
“History2” (480 pages)
“The References” 1930’s-1940’s (696 pages)
“The References” 1950’s-1960’s (696 pages)

As a reference finder, as an addition to your library at home or as a special christmas gift for your friends: our Vintage Panerai books will be a great read for any Panerai collector. Each book comes with an embossed hardback jacket (leather and canvas) in a slipcase, sized 10.2 x 10.2″, trilingual (= German, Italian and English language).

Our four books are in stock and can be shipped immediately – just visit our bookstore. Use the browse by tags function to get further information about the content in each of the four books. Read how to place your order here.

Take your seat and enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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30 October 1940 – today in history…

by on Oct.30, 2018, 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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In stock: our coffee table books

by on Oct.16, 2018, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2018_1000x700_in_stockOur four books are in stock and can be shipped immediately – just visit our bookstore. Use the browse by tags function to get further information about the content in each of the four books.

“History1” (420 pages)
“History2” (480 pages)

“The References” 1930’s-1940’s (696 pages)
“The References” 1950’s-1960’s (696 pages)

Rahmen_Bild_2018_1000x700_in_stock2Each of our books comes with a hardback jacket (leather and canvas, black and blind embossed) in a slipcase (canvas, black embossed). The page size is 10.2 x 10.2″ / 26 x 26 cm.

All books are published trilingual (German, Italian and English language). Read how to place your order in our bookstore right here.

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

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30 September 1940 – today in history…

by on Sep.30, 2018, 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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Piers Motley to auction a Ref. 3646 / Type E

by on Aug.22, 2018, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2018_1000x700_PMA01Another souvenir from the Second World War in shape of a Ref. 3646 / Type E “Kampfschwimmer” with painted brass dial recently surfaced in the United Kingdom.

Piers Motley Auctions will feature this watch in their September auction. Read more about this interesting new addition to our database in our watch point.

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

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Ref. 3646 / Type E @ Piers Motley Auctions

by on Aug.22, 2018, under Watch Point

Piers Motley Auctions (Exmouth / United Kingdom) will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type E “Kampfschwimmer” with painted brass dial in their auction on 17 September, 2018 (Lot 245).

Rahmen_Bild_2018_1000x700_PMA03The watch appears in good condition from the photos provided by the auction house. The blued steel hands are completely filled with luminous material, the anonymous brass dial shows no broken off numbers or markers, which we know from other watches with such dials, recorded in our database. The watch comes with the flat version of the bezel, matching to its anonymous, flat dial. Both lead seals are still present. The caseback of the watch bears no individual engraving.

The watch is powered with a matching Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 mod. movement (17 RUBIS FAB. SUISSE instead of ROLEX 17 RUBIS on the left side of the central bridge). The onion shaped winding crown (“BREVET +” Type 11) is screwed down onto the collar of the 47 mm cushion shaped case with soldered lugs. The watch is fitted onto a custom made leather strap with underlay, showing a big portion of patina, too. There are service marks on the inner caseback which could be the reason for the ratchet wheel without sunburst design.

Rahmen_Bild_2018_1000x700_PMA02What makes this watch a Ref. 3646 / Type E in our database criteria? As we have pointed out different caseback engravings earlier here, a Ref. 3646 without the Rolex SA hallmark can be only Type E (26XXXX) or Type G (317XXX) from its six digit case number embossed on the inside of the caseback.

This specimen has enlarged the number group of Ref. 3646 / Type E watches from 260850 – 261097 to 260850 – 261111. Twentysix Ref. 3646 / Type E watches were registered in our records as of 1.1.2016, 27 watches since end of 2016 with the Ref. 3646 / Type E “California Dial” auctioned at Phillips, being the only “new” Type E entry in our records until this watch – the 261111 – surfaced and represents the 28th Ref. 3646 / Type E in our records.

Very interesting also (just like the overlap between Ref. 3646 / Type D and Type E watches – read more on page 535-543 in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s) that there exist watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type F (again with Rolex SA hallmark embossed in the center of the caseback) which have a lower case number than this Ref. 3646 / Type E.

You can read the press release from Piers Motley Auctions here.

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]

[Photos with kindly permission / courtesy of www.piersmotleyauctions.co.uk]

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