21 August 1940 – today in history…

by on Aug.21, 2018, 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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Eppli to auction an engraved Ref. 3646 / Type D

by on Aug.07, 2018, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2018_Eppli_TypeD_6Auction House Eppli (Stuttgart/Germany) features a Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous, painted brass dial and engraved caseback in their auction on September 1st, 2018 (Lot 560). Eppli is known for auctioning another Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial two years ago in April 2016.

This Ref. 3646 / Type D has been consigned for auction at Eppli by the family of the first owner Horst Muntau, who was a “Kampfschwimmer” in the Kriegsmarine / German Navy at the end of the Second World War.

Rahmen_Bild_2018_Eppli_TypeD_5Several documents of this era, as well as historic photos of Horst Muntau are part of the lot and making it a very rare “full set”. This 3646 / Type D is recorded in our database since April 2018 and appears for auction for the first time.

The watch features a typical Rolex 618 / Type 1 movement and comes with an original leather strap sewn onto the soldered lugs of the cushion shaped case including its original nickel plated brass pin buckle (“ergonomically” customised – bent down, like we know it from many other buckles of this type).

Rahmen_Bild_2018_Eppli_TypeD_7The engraved initials on the caseback “HM” (surrounded by the year of his service as “Kampfschwimmer” in 1945) are matching the name of the “Kampfschwimmer”. We have published more on this watch earlier in our Watch Point.

Recently we have published an update on today’s existing pieces of this number group in our database. With the beginning of August 2018, Horst Muntau’s “Kapmfschwimmer” watch is one of nineteen watches with painted brass dial within the 95 watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type D registered in our database.

We hope that this watch will find a good new home and remains surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

[Historic photo of Horst Muntau courtesy of Auktionshaus Eppli e.K.]

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At a glance: The Reference 6152/1

by on Jul.28, 2018, under Allgemein

Vita_sul_Mare_IMG_7069_600x600Watches of the Reference 6152/1 are featured in four of the twelve chapters of our book “The References” and are part of the second volume (1950’s-1960’s). The photo shows a 6152/1 with Rolex movement, “Luminor Panerai” dial and crown-protecting device (chapter VIII.II, page 942-955).

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 order of the movement version, 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).

Each of the four chapters shows the different movement and dial versions recorded in our database with charts, e.g. 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. Enjoy reading!

Our “The Reference” books are available in our bookstore.

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25 July 1941 – today in history…

by on Jul.25, 2018, 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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“Luminor Panerai” Compass

by on Jul.14, 2018, under Allgemein

Bussole_IMG_6473_600x600Compasses and depth gauges made by Guido Panerai & Figlio are featured in several versions (with “Radiomir” and “Luminor” luminous material) in chapter XI of the second volume of our book “The References”.

Chapter XI.I is featuring compasses from Guido Panerai & Figlio. Five different models are featured from page 1320 to 1333. Three with “Radiomir”, two with “Luminor”, similiar to the instrument which can be seen in the photo.  

Our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s is featuring several historic photos in which such compasses from Guido Panerai & Figlio can be spotted on page 794, 1064, 1068, 1316, 1318.

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Summer Read – “back to the fifties and sixties”

by on Jul.10, 2018, under Allgemein

IMG_3811_600x600How about taking a seat in your frontyard, backyard or in a quiet corner of your garden? If your coffee table has a free corner for one of our four books, it could be a cozy time for a summer read:

“History1” – four chapters, 420 pages
“History2” – five chapters, 480 pages
“The References” 1930’s-1940’s – five chapters, 696 pages
“The References” 1950’s-1960’s – seven chapters, 696 pages

The coffee table shot shows the book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s, with the famous “8 GIORNI BREVETTATO” symbol embossed into the green canvas hardcover, on the right. The 696 pages feature watches from Guido Panerai & Figlio made in the 1950’s and 1960’s: Reference 6152, 6154, 6152/1, GPF 2/56 and modified References. Furthermore this book holds a chapter about compasses and depth gauges, as well as straps and buckles of this era.

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

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

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Watches of the Reference 3646 / Type A – Type G

by on Jun.27, 2018, under Allgemein

3646_Type_E_California_Dial_600x600More than two hundred watches of the Reference 3646 are registered in our database today. Among all different Vintage Panerai models, the 3646 marks the reference with the most known specimen in our records. Nine years ago, in 2009, 143 recorded watches were featured in the first (sold out) edition of our book “The References”. Within the entire serial number sequence of the reference 3646, we differentiate between seven different variations (3646 / Type A – Type G). The photo on the left shows a Ref. 3646 / Type E with “California Dial”, which is featured in chapter II.V (page 544-551).

In our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s the watches of the entire reference 3646 are featured in chapter II with more than six hundred pages in the chapters II.I-II.VII following an intro on page 40-49. The seven different variations can be found in our reference quickfinder on page 14-20.

Chapter II.I = Reference 3646 / Type A
(featuring two different watches on page 50-169).

Chapter II.II = Reference 3646 / Type B
(featuring four different watches on page 170-247).

Chapter II.III = Reference 3646 / Type C
(featuring seven different watches on page 248-397).

Chapter II.IV = Reference 3646 / Type D
(featuring nine different watches on page 398-531).

Chapter II.V = Reference 3646 / Type E
(featuring four different watches on page 532-573).

Chapter II.VI = Reference 3646 / Type F
(featuring two different watches on page 574-607).

Chapter II.VII = Reference 3646 / Type G
(featuring two different watches on page 608-645).

See the different inner casebacks of Ref. 3646 / Type A – Type C watches here, as well as the inner casebacks of Ref. 3646 / Type D – Type G watches here. Read about the 3646 watches with disappeared hallmarks here.

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26 May 1941 – today in history…

by on May.26, 2018, under Allgemein

BG3_Fulgor_Cadiz_600x600In May 1941, the Decima MAS continued its attacks on the Port of Gibraltar. This time, the SLC pilots’ energy was preserved because they were flown over to Spain disguised as crew members and shipping company employees so that they wouldn’t have to go through the lengthy approach by submarine. Once they had arrived in Spain, they travelled overground to the Port of Cádiz, where the Italian tanker Fulgor had been detained since Italy joined the war.

On 15 May 1941, the transport submarine Scirè left the Port of La Spezia with the “maiali” on board, but without their pilots. After passing the Strait of Gibraltar on 22/23 May, Borghese reached the Port of Cádiz and overnight took on board the six SLC pilots who had previously been on the Fulgor: Decio Catalano and Giovanni Giannoni, Amedeo Vesco and Amelio Franchi (replaced by reserve Antonio Marceglia), Licio Visintini and Giovanni Magro.

Siluri_Umani_SLC_600x600Despite the successful deployment of the three SLCs on 26 May 1941, the B.G.3 mission failed due to technical problems and a good deal of bad luck in the last phase of the attack when an explosive charge that had been successfully attached to the hull of a ship became detached at the last second. All six SLC pilots reached the Spanish coast and were able to return to their base at Bocca di Serchio with the aid of the Italian Consul in Algeciras.

However, the mission B.G.3 still had some positive aspects: The British did not notice the operation and the element of surprise was not wasted. The use of the tanker Fulgor as a forward base on Spanish territory proved extremely useful and effective.

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“Luminor Panerai” Depth Gauge

by on May.20, 2018, under Allgemein

IMG_5838_600x600Compasses and depth gauges made by Guido Panerai & Figlio are featured in several versions (with “Radiomir” and “Luminor” luminous material) in chapter XI of the second volume of our book “The References”.

Chapter XI.I is featuring compasses from Guido Panerai & Figlio. Five different models are featured from page 1320 to 1333. Three with “Radiomir”, two with “Luminor”. Chapter XI.II is featuring depth gauges from Guido Panerai & Figlio, similiar to the instrument which can be seen in the photo. Ten different models are featured from page 1334 to 1367. Six with “Radiomir”, aimed to 7, 30, 35 (2 versions: adjustable and non-adjustable dial), 50 and 60 meters. Four with “Luminor”, aimed to 7, 15, 16, 30 and 40 meters.  

Click on the link to see the video of a pressure test on a “Luminor Panerai” 16 meter depth gauge: Vintage_Panerai_Depth_Gauge. Click on the link to see the pressure release – “the surfacing” in this video: Vintage_Panerai_depth_gauge_surfacing

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May summary: three watches in two auctions

by on May.04, 2018, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2018_DrCrott_TypeD_5The month of May will see three Vintage Panerai watches offered in two different auctions. A Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” will be offered in Frankfurt during Dr. Crott Auctioneers‘ 97th Auction on Saturday, 12 May, 2018. Earlier this year, this watch (lot 114) marked the first new recorded specimen in our database for the year 2018 inside the Ref. 3646 / Type D number group. Read more on this “Kampfschwimmer” here in our watch point.

One day later, on 13 May, Phillips offers two Vintage Panerai watches in their Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN (session two / Sunday). Lot 212 is a Ref. 6152/1 with “Luminor Panerai” dial. Read more on this 6152/1 with a very rare matriculation number of the Guardia di Finanza engraved on the caseback here. The third watch up for auction in May is another Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” which was auctioned 21 years ago in 1997 at Christie’s “Ravenborg Collection of Rolex Watches”. It is now lot 213 in Phillips’ Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN and you can read more about it here in our watch point (please note also the update on this watch from 7 May, 2018).

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