General

How to visualize a frogman’s pencil written diary from 1945?

by on Jul.09, 2016, under General

During the research on the history behind a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” with engraved caseback, we were able to study the diary of the first owner of the watch. This diary survived the last days of the Second World War and the veteran kept it for decades, willed to share it with us and partially featured in chapter II of our book “History2”.

Thanks to the many detailed descriptions (e.g. the water temperature, current, weather conditions and explosive charges carried) which the frogman wrote down and the examination of historical maps of the 1940’s it was possible to analyze his diary entries precisely and visualize his memories to the readers of our book in an impressive way. The collected documents and additional information let this chapter become one of the unique stories behind a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch.

History1_frontal_300x300Reading page 83 of “History1” reminds on a part of our research which did happened not often. The frogman wrote the following lines in his diary at the beginning of March 1945:

“The next morning we set off towards the east in a truck. With unbelievable power, the Russians have pushed thru as far as the [river] Oder in their last offensive. They even managed to build two bridgeheads at Fürstenberg [in November 1961 the city was renamed Eisenhüttenstadt]. Reconnaissance flights tell us that they are putting tremendous amounts of people and material into these bridgeheads”.

Reconnaissance flights? Having this information in mind, we started to search various archives for still existing aerial photographs – maybe the one which the frogmen mentioned in his diary still exists? After the war, some remaining photos were transferred to archives which stored these photos for bomb clearance works. Good luck on the hunt! Guess how easy this search would be? Where to start? To find a aerial photo from the same date, same area and even showing the target, not knowing if its existing at all? We found it – a needle in a haystack – the photo which was shown to the frogmen as their next target.

IMG_3659_600x600Dated to 1 March 1945, the photo taken by a reconnaissance flight shows one of the pontoon bridges built across the Oder by the Russian troops just shortly before – which became soon later the target for the “Keller Group” just as the frogman wrote it down in his diary. Read more on the diary and various historic documents which helped us to visualize this source of information during our research on a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch here.

The coffee table shot shows page 110-111, chapter II of “History2” next to one of the few original photos of the “Keller Group” taken shortly before their missions at the eastern front (spot some Panerai gear in it). This photo is published on page 94 in the same chapter. The coffee table shot includes also a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer”, featured in chapter V of “History2” – the watch of frogman Siegfried Köneke, who was also a member of the “Keller Group”. Read more about this chapter here.

Our two “History” books can be ordered only in our bookstore.

Enjoy reading stories behind these watches!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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One reference, four different versions: The 6152/1

by on Jun.25, 2016, under General

IMG_3531_600x600More than one hundred watches of the Reference 6152/1 are registered in our database today. Since 2009 the number of registered 6152/1 watches has more than doubled – seven years ago, 49 recorded watches were featured in our first edition book “The References” (sold out). Within the entire serial number sequence of the Reference 6152/1, we differentiate between watches with Rolex movements and the much rarer variations with Angelus movements.

How do we explain four different versions in our new book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s? Watches of the Reference 6152/1 are presented in four chapters, in order of the movement, the type of winding crown used and sorted chronological by their casing reference number, as follows:

Chapter VIII.I = Reference 6152/1
with Rolex movement and 8 mm Rolex crown
(featuring four different watches on page 878-921).

Chapter VIII.II = Reference 6152/1
with Rolex movement and Panerai crown-protecting device
(featuring ten different watches on page 922-1057).

Chapter X.III = Modified Reference 6152/1
with Angelus movement and 8 mm Rolex crown
(featuring three different watches on page 1212-1259).

Chapter X.IV = Modified Reference 6152/1
with Angelus movement and Panerai crown-protecting device
(featuring four different watches on page 1260-1313).

IMG_3535_600x600Each of the four chapters shows the different movement and dial versions recorded in our database with charts as can be seen on the coffee table shot of page 874-875, illustrating the relationship between registered watches with 8 mm Rolex crown and Panerai crown-protecting device of the Reference 6152/1.

Additional information on different hands, caseback engravings for different forces which used the watches as well as historical background on two 6152/1 watches first owners can be found, too. The overview of the four different chapters about Reference 6152/1 watches can be found in the first volume of “The References” 1930’s-1940’s on page 25-26 and 30-31 (chronological classification / reference quickfinder).

The new “The References” books can be ordered only in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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Vintage Panerai book “History1” is in stock.

by on Nov.15, 2015, under General

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

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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The Arillo Luminor featured @ watchtime.net

by on Oct.29, 2013, under General

The german watch portal www.watchtime.net featured the Vintage Panerai Ref. 6152/1 – “The Arillo Luminor”– with an overview about the details of the watch and the history behind its first owner, italian commander of the submarine “Ambra”, Mario Arillo (M.O.V.M.).

“The Arillo Luminor” is fully described in our book “History1″ in Chapter IV on 165 pages with 106 photos and 7 technical illustrations. Thanks to www.watchtime.net for putting a spotlight onto Panerai’s DNA. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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paneristi.com Singapore GTG 2013

by on Oct.11, 2013, under General

In October 2013 I joined the paneristi.com Singapore GTG 2013. Fantastic days in Asia, meeting many old and new passionated Panerai collectors.

The four parts of my personal report can be found in the public forum at www.paneristi.com: part 1 / part 2 / part 3 / part 4.

Yeu Huan from Singapore captured the moment when I surprised Hammer on the arriving thursday: The Biff Is Back. Jimmy captured that priceless moment as well. Enjoy reading! [Volker Wiegmann]

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Just because… the “Open Six”

by on Sep.29, 2013, under General

Close look onto the sandwich dial of a Vintage Panerai. The “Open Six” carries the DNA of the brand from the 1930s until today.

The milled numbers and markers of the sandwich dial construction aged different in many ways – some changed their colors in different intensity and got cracks in the luminous “Radiomir” substance during the past decades. The self-iluminating substance was patented by Guido Panerai in 1915, which enabled the use of instruments and watches made by Panerai even in complete darkness.

Different to the “Luminor” substance used in later produced watches and instruments, “Radiomir” does not react instantly under the impact of light anymore. To see how a “Luminor Panerai” dial glows under impact of intensive light, click here. Once the human eye has been in todal darkness for a couple of hours, the remaining glow of the “Radiomir” substance becomes visible. That said, the still existing radioactivity of the substance in the dial can be measured with a Geiger counter easily.

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…Swimming Saboteur

by on Sep.20, 2013, under General

Great find! An interesting historic document has been provided to us as an additional proof of the authentic story in our new book “History2”. During the research for Chapter V on Jochen Burnus’ frogmen mission against the pontoon bridges across river Elbe in April 1945, we were able to localize a photo showing him, standing in the river Elbe after he was captured by american troops. Not enough that we were lucky to find a matching and impressive photo (published on page 490) as an addition to the informations the veteran gave us in an interview, a copy of a newspaper from may 1945 surfaced. The photo of Jochen Burnus (visibly beaten after he was interrogated before) was made to be published in american newsreel but until today it was not known in which specific newspaper this photo was ever published…

With the support of one of our image sources / local archives of the WW2 battle area, a copy of the newspaper has been forwarded to us. And in fact: the photo which is published in our book on page 490 was published in the Official Weekly Newspaper of the 83rd “Thunderbolt” Infantry Division. The story was published on may 12th, 1945 in no. 3 issue of the “83rd Thunderbolt” on page 2 with the headline “…Swimming Saboteur”. Very intersting to read the caption below the photo: “This man from Mars, guarded by T/5 Serafino Ferrante of the 234th Engineers, is one of the six suicide swimmers who attempted to blow up the Truman Bridge.” The caption underlines how extraordinary and untypical the appearance of a captured “Kampfschwimmer” in his diving suit was in the eye of the enemy.

Further information on the pontoon bridge across the river Elbe can be found on the same page of the newspaper. It gives us today an insight view how important these pontoon bridges have been back then:
“83rd Engineers set new record – Members of Co. A., 308th Combat Engineers believe they established a record of some sort in their recent ferrying operations on the Elbe river. After putting the 329th Infantry across the river in an assault crossing, three platoons constructed two infantry support rafts and a treadmay raft. These were in operation within an hour after the first wave through the dense smoke screen prepared by Division Arty and hit the eastern shore of the Elbe. In the 16 hours that followed, over 1.000 vehicles of all types were ferried across the swift current of the Elbe to the bridgehead, even before the first bridge was completed. After that, the ferries were used to relieve congestion resulting from the one-way traffic on the bridge and were reserved for potential emergencies. The intensive stream crossing exercises conducted on the Mass river in Holland paid rich dividends in this historic river crossing operation.”

A few days ago we forwarded a printed copy of the newspaper from 1945 to veteran Jochen Burnus, who was very surprised to see himself inside. Next to a copy of our book “History2”, which he received from Ralf Ehlers in june, the newspaper of the “83rd Thunderbolt” became another piece of memory and his personal history – alomst 70 years after the photo was taken at the river Elbe…

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“History2″ recorded in the Library of the Federal Archives

by on Sep.06, 2013, under General

We are glad to announce that also our book “History2″ has been recorded in the Library of the Federal Archives of Germany. Visitors of the library in Koblenz can see and read our book (with the signature B I 318 -2-) there.

Aside further international archives (The National Archives of the United Kingdom, The Imperial War Museum in London, The Ufficio Storico della Marina Militare), the Federal Archives have been a helpful source for us during the research, in Chapter V, Chapter VI, Chapter VII and Chapter VIII[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Spot on: inner caseback of Ref. 6154

by on Sep.03, 2013, under General

View on the inner caseback of a Ref. 6154 “Egiziano Piccolo” – the unique and beautiful decorated Montres Rolex S.A. Symbol, different to the other references made for Panerai in the 1950s (6152, 6152/1).

You can find an overview on the differences in the inner caseback of the three references 6152, 6154 and 6152/1 here.

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