Author Archive

How the ‘Ambra’ became a transport submarine for SLC units…

by on Aug.26, 2019, under Allgemein

history1_4arillo_600x600CHAPTER IV @ “History1”: The chapter on Mario Arillo begins with an interview conducted with him in 1989. Numerous as yet unpublished pictures and documents from the family possessions of the famous commander from La Spezia augment the personal descriptions of his submarine missions as a means of transport for Italian Gamma swimmers and the SLC units of the Decima MAS.

Mario Arillo’s impressive and moving interview, taken 11 years before he died, holds many interesting details on the missions against the harbours on the north african coast with very rare photos taken aboard the submarine Ambra together with SLC pilots and Gamma frogmen.

CHAPTER IV.I features “The Arillo-Luminor”, a Ref. 6152/1 with “Luminor Panerai” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 4 movement.

The book “History1″ (420 pages / chapter IV: 165 pages, 106 photos, 7 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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Exercised to become a frogman at the Baltic Sea…

by on Aug.25, 2019, under Allgemein

history1_3kiefer_600x600CHAPTER III @ “History1”: The story of Karl-Heinz Kiefer, who received fast-track training in the last months of the Second World War, already provided proof in the first edition of this book (2007 / sold out) about period of use of the rare watch-face version of his Panerai watch, which for a long time had been ascribed to an earlier date. In chapter III of “History1”, his winter training in a toughening-up camp at the Baltic Sea is described in more detail.

CHAPTER III.I features “The Kiefer-Radiomir”, a Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial (painted brass) and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History1″ (420 pages / chapter III: 55 pages, 39 photos, 3 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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Reading a frogman’s diary – an unique story…

by on Aug.24, 2019, under Allgemein

history1_2pape_600x600 CHAPTER II @ “History1”: For the most part the chapter about Heinz Pape is taken from his surviving diary and presented as a firstperson narrative, with comprehensive supplementation.

Thanks to extremely rare aerial photographs of the assignment targets described by him and the examination of several maps it was possible to analyse his diary entries precisely and thus present them to the reader in such an impressive manner – an unique story.

CHAPTER II.I features “The Pape-Radiomir”, a Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History1″ (420 pages / chapter II: 91 pages, 44 photos, 3 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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From elite swimmer to frogman – and back again…

by on Aug.23, 2019, under Allgemein

history1_1lehmann_600x600CHAPTER I @ “History1”: The story of the German elite swimmer Heinz Günter Lehmann is told with numerous photos (including maps and documents of the allied secret intelligence), covering the period from his training in Venice to his countless sporting successes on the international stage after the Second World War.

CHAPTER I.I features “The Lehmann-Radiomir”, a Ref. 3646 / Type C with “Radiomir Panerai” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History1″ (420 pages / chapter I: 75 pages, 38 photos, 4 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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21 August 1940 – today in history…

by on Aug.21, 2019, under Allgemein

R_Somm_Iride_600x600Gulf of Bomba (Lybia). In August 1940, the time had finally come to put the new SLC weapon to the test. Alexandria in the eastern Mediterranean was the main base of the British Mediterranean fleet. The battleships at anchor there were the first targets for missions of the Mezzi d’Assalto involving the SLCs.

The transport submersible Iride, under the command of Tenente di Vascello Francesco Brunetti, prepared for its tour of duty with the SLCs on 21 August 1940, ready to attack the Port of Alexandria in the night of 25/26 August 1940. Eleven servicemen with four SLCs aboard the torpedo boat Calipso were dispatched to the Gulf of Bomba on the Libyan coast. There, the SLCs were tested at held ready for departure until they were ready to launch mission G.A.1 a few days later with the submersible Iride.

GA1_Iride_Bomba_Bay2_600x600Right at the start of its test run, however, the submersible Iride was spotted by three Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers, which had launched from the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. The enemy bombers began their attack straight away (see historic map on the left).

The shallow water in the Gulf of Bomba prevented the Iride from descending quickly. Instead, it attempted to ward off the attack at full speed with its anti-aircraft cannons. At the same time, Brunetti tried in vain to direct the bow of the submersible towards the attackers in order to reduce the area of the Iride exposed to attack. However, the Iride was soon hit by a torpedo and sank. The boats quickly dispatched to the scene managed to rescue some of the shipwrecked crew members from the Iride. A dramatic race against time began.

GA1_Iride_Birindelli_600x600 The SLC teams under Gino Birindelli (right in the photo), Teseo Tesei, Elios Toschi, Luigi Durand de la Penne and Emilio Bianchi dived straight down to the wreck of the Iride in order to save the survivors who were trapped down there. Although the equipment belonging to the SLC pilots on board the Iride was lost, but the three SLCs were recovered for use in later missions. The SLCs pilots returned to the Bocca di Serchio on board the Calipso.

During the rescue of the survivors from the Iride, they had pushed themselves to the very limit of what was humanly possible. Loss of human life and equipment was the sobering result of the first mission „Operazione G.A.1“ with the new weapon of the Mezzi d’Assalto.

Read more on Gino Birindelli, one of the surviving SLC teams, in chapter VIII.II on page 1014-1043 or click also here. More information on the historic content in our “The References” book set can be found here. Read about the featured watches from Guido Panerai & Figlio in the first and second volume here.

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Another piece of the “3646 puzzle” added

by on Jul.26, 2019, under Allgemein

Rahmen_2019_3646TypeG_Cali_04We recently added another Ref. 3646 / Type G with “California Dial” into our records. It will replace the watch formerly called “the last 3646” since its case number is higher than the Ref. 3646 / Type G with painted brass dial, auctioned at Antiquorum back in 2014 (read more here).

Typical features of Ref. 3646 / Type G watches are the removed / not existing Rolex stamp in the inner caseback. You can compare the different inner caseback engravings in Ref. 3646 watches here. The center of the caseback (with all-over decorative polish inside, not engraved on the outside) on this watch is thinner than watches featuring the Rolex SA hallmark. Read more about these interesting details in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s on page 486-487 (decorative polish) and page 645 (topography).

Rahmen_2019_3646TypeG_Cali_01The “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. A black leather strap with small pin buckle is fitted onto the soldered lugs of the watch.

Rahmen_2019_3646TypeG_Cali_03The Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 mod. movement in this “California Dial” watch is another important element, which appears with confirming details of the today recorded watches in the number group 3646 / Type G.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type G
Dial: “California Dial”
Case number: 31753X
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 mod.

Read more about the Ref. 3646 / Type G in chapter II.VII of our book “The References” 1930’s-1940′s on page 608-645.

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25 July 1941 – today in history…

by on Jul.25, 2019, under Allgemein

Giobbe_Malta_600x600Augusta (Sicily) 11 pm. The night of 25 July 1941 marks the beginning of the “Operazione Malta 1”, known by its disastrous result for the Mezzi d’Assalto, only three months after the first successful attack with MT explosive boats against British ships in Souda Bay (Crete) on 26 March 1941. One day later, in the early morning of 26 July 1941, the Decima MAS lost the head of the flotilla (Capitano di Fregata Vittorio Moccagatta), the head of explosive boats (Capitano di Corvetta Giorgio Giobbe), the doctor of the flotilla (Tenente Medico Bruno Falcomatà), SLC pilots (including their inventor, Teseo Tesei) and MT explosive boats pilots during the attack of the harbour of La Valetta (Malta).

Giobbe_Panerai_600x600On a side note of the history, the commander of the explosive boats / “Mezzi di Superficie”, Giorgio Giobbe (1906-1941), is well known for wearing his Panerai watch on his right wrist in a photo taken prior the mission against Malta (see page 111-115 in chapter II.I). More about missions and watches of the Decima MAS can be found here.

Read more about “The birth of a legend – the first Panerai watches (1935-1939)” in chapter I, followed by the timeline of the missions during the Second World War in chapter II.I – more information on the historic content in our “The References” book set can be found here. Read about the featured watches from Guido Panerai & Figlio in the first and second volume here.

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Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” @ Sotheby’s

by on Jul.01, 2019, under Watch Point

Sotheby’s will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial in their upcoming auction Watches Online on 8 July, 2019 (lot 8).

Rahmen_hoch_2019_Sothebys_3646DFeatures of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer”  (sandwich, anonymous)
Case number: 260579
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

Watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dials are featured in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s on page 398-531 in chapter II.IV.

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 of the Ref. 3646 / Type D watch courtesy of www.sothebys.com]

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Ref. 3646 / Type C “Kampfschwimmer” @ Artcurial

by on Jun.24, 2019, under Watch Point

Rahmen_hoch_2019_Artcurial_3646_RoeselArtcurial will feature “The Rösel Radiomir” – a Ref. 3646 / Type C with anonymous sandwich dial – in their upcoming auction on 18 July, 2019 (Lot 705) in Monaco.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type C
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer”  (sandwich, anonymous)
Case number: 1010351
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

This Ref. 3646 / Type C “Kampfschwimmer” is recorded in our database since 2012. The watch has been auctioned in the same year for the first time at Dr. Crott and for the second time, five years later, in 2017 at Phillips GWA6.

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 (see photo below). 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.

preview_Roesel_872-873

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.artcurial.com]

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In stock: our coffee table books

by on Jun.13, 2019, 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_2017_1000x700_ctb_H2Each 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]

preview_refv2_1136-1137

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