Tag: 3646

Another engraved Ref. 3646 / Type D up for auction

by on Mai.12, 2015, under Allgemein

Christie’s New York features another rare Ref. 3646 / Type D (LOT 155)  in their upcoming Important Watches auction 3752 (June 17th). The watch with its anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial is recorded in our database since 2013.

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

The inner caseback engravings bear the Rolex SA stamp, reference and case number of the watch. In combination with the Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement, these details are matching with our database criteria for watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type D number group.

The caseback of the watch bears the additional “Marine Kampf-Schwimmer” (navy frogmen) engraving plus the year of its service (1945). The initials of the watch’s first owner “AM” were engraved in a german POW camp right after the war, where some of the remaining german frogmen units were imprisoned. After the war, many watches “changed ownership” with members of the allied forces and travelled to these servicemen’s home countries (UK, USA…).

Like other valuable asset, wrist watches were sometimes traded for other goods, which were urgently needed for life back in these days (“lucky strike currency”). This is why today some of these watches surfaced overseas, as it is the case with this watch. Since the end of the 2nd world war this Ref. 3646 / Type D watch remained in the United States, where the family of the 2nd owner (a former U.S. Navy serviceman) contacted us in 2013 to find out the history behind.

Similar watches of the 3646 / Type D number group are featured in our books “History1″ (chapter II) and “History2″ (chapter V and VII). You can read in these books many details about training and missions in which these Panerai watches were an important part of the frogmen’s equipment during the 2nd world war.

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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3646 / Type D of the “Keller Task Force” @ Christie’s

by on Mai.10, 2015, under Allgemein

Christie’s Geneva will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” in their Important Watches auction 1407 on may 11th, 2015 (LOT 224). The watch is already recorded in our database, known as one of only six watches of the “Einsatzgruppe Keller” (“Keller Task Force”) existing today.

The inner caseback engravings which bears the Rolex SA stamp, reference and case number, in combination with the Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement, are matching our database criteria for watches of the Reference 3646 / Type D number group.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer” (sandwich, anonymous)
Case number: 2604XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

The watch comes with an engraved caseback, done in the typical tatooing machine style, which can be found occasionally on similar 3646 watches used by german frogmen. The engraving “Einsatzgruppe Keller” in combination with initials of the first owner “ED” with  “Kampfschwimmer” (“frogmen” / combat swimmer) and the year of service “1945″ in the center is typical for watches of this group, which was founded in the end of February 1945 by Lieutenant Alfred Keller. The task force under his command consisted of sixteen voluntary combat swimmers who carried out numerous river missions on the Eastern Front from March to May 1945 against pontoon bridges of the approaching Soviets on their way to Berlin.

The history of the “Einsatzgruppe Keller” has been in the focus of our research during the last years. Four of the only six today known watches and the personal stories of their first owners are featured in our both books “History1″ and “History2″ including rare photos, documents and also with a diary of one of the combat swimmers. The first owner of the watch with the “ED” engraving (full name known to the authors, on behalf of Christies’, privacy is asked to remain anonymous) is visible on several photos published in chapter II and chapter VIII.

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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Antiquorum features a Ref. 3646 / Type D

by on Mai.08, 2015, under Allgemein

Antiqourum Geneva features a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kamfpschwimmer” in their upcoming Important Vintage & Modern Timepieces auction on sunday, may 10th, 2015 in (LOT 490).

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer” (sandwich, anonymous)
Case number: 2605XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

The watch has been up for auction six months before during last year’s Panerai Only auction by Artcurial which was held in Paris in December 2014 (click here to read our earlier description of this Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch).

Similar watches of this type with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” sandwich dials are featured in our books “History1″ (chapter II) and “History2″ (chapter V and chapter VII).

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]

[photo courtesy of www.antiqourum.com]

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Engraved Ref. 3646 / Type D @ Artcurial

by on Dez.01, 2014, under Allgemein

Artcurial presents a rare, engraved Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” during their “Panerai only” auction in Paris, december 8th (LOT 5). The watch is recorded since december 2009 in our database and appears by the provided photos in the same condition as five years ago. Aside the typical features on inner caseback engravings and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement, this Ref. 3646 / Type D watch appears with a light yellowish plexiglas and a replacement crown. The matte, dull appearance of the case, created by wearing the watch over a long period without polishing, creates an unique “patina”, which is typical for vintage watches of this age.

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

Unique and very interesting feature of this watch is its individually engraved caseback, which bears a combination of owners’ initials and the symbol of a probation insignia (sawfish in an s-shaped rope with two crossed swords in the background). The s-shaped rope could be also a hint on the first owner’s name, building the initial “SW” with the other elements of the engraving.

The “sawfish in rope with two swords” symbol represents the successful participation in two missions, which was very rarely awarded in shape of a shoulder patch to wear on a navy uniforms’ sleeve. You can find a detailled overview of the seven different award levels of german special navy units in our book “History2″ on page 804.

The description of the Artcurial auction LOT 5 explains, that this particular watch belonged to Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock (1911-1986), a well known german submarine commander during WW2, posted to Lorient, St. Nazaire (U-96) and Brest (U-256) from 1940 to 1944. He spent a total of 327 days at sea in 10 patrols. At the end of the 2nd World War, Lehmann-Willenbrock was commander of the 11th flotilla in Bergen/Norway. After one year in captivity he took part on salvage works in the Rhine river to recover sunken ships, around 1946/1947. This salvage work was done by the support of former frogmen (read more about salvage works post-WW2 in our “History” books in chapter II and V) and could have been a way for Lehmann-Willenbrock to get in touch with a frogmen’s watch, as we personally dont see the evidence that the watch was worn by Lehmann-Willenbrock during his active duty as a U-boat commander and / or commander of the 11th flotilla in 1944/1945 (the period in which german “Kampfschwimmer” units used these watches). However, the provided information about this watch, formerly owned by a high decorated WW2 veteran, is attached to the history of this watch and recorded for the future.

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.artcurial.com]

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Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” @ Artcurial

by on Nov.28, 2014, under Allgemein

Another Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” is up for auction. Artcurial’s LOT 32 will be on stage during the “Panerai only” auction, held in Paris on monday, december 8th. The LOT description explains that the onion shaped crown can’t be screwed down onto the tube (no windings of the tube visible), a small gap between case and crown can be seen on the photos.

The 47 mm cushion shaped case of the watch shows clear signs of wear, especially on the bezel. The plexiglass appears from the provided photos to be a shallower version, which is not untypical on these watches, as the plexilgass is usually one of the parts with the most wear-and-tear markings. The blued steel hands are still completely filled with luminous material and the anonymous sandwich dial shows the typical details and color shades in numbers and markers.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer” (sandwich, anonymous)
Case number: 2605XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

Once the caseback is removed, the movement of the watch can be observed: the typical Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 without Incabloc shock protection, with the also typical decorations on bridges and the “ROLEX 17 RUBIS” engraving on the center bridge. The balance cock is engraved with the S-F / A-R regulation device.

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.artcurial.com]

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Upcoming auction in November @ Dr. Crott

by on Okt.28, 2014, under Allgemein

The 2nd weekend of November will be interesting to follow the auction at Frankfurt’s Hotel Sheraton (saturday, november 15th). German auctioneer Dr. Crott will have their 90th auction with more than 600 lots. Earlier this year it was possible for us to see the two Vintage Panerai lots in advance for our reviews. Two Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watches with anonymous sandwich dials will be up for sale (LOT 78 and LOT 79). You can find the reviews in this blog by using the tag function for “Dr. Crott”. Detailled information can also be found at the auctioneers website.

We hope that the watches find good new homes and that they remain surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world.

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Rare brass dialed “G-Bird” on auction at Antiquorum

by on Okt.18, 2014, under Allgemein

We got attention of another rare Vintage Panerai Ref. 3646, which will be up for auction: the particular watch, featured as a Ref. 3646 / Type G in our database of today’s existing Vintage Panerai watches, is within the smallest of the seven different number groups and will be auctioned at Antiquorum in Geneva, November 8th/9th 2014 (LOT 783). Detailled technical illustrations explaining the seven different groups within the Reference 3646 are published in our book “History1″ on page 72, as well as in our book “History2″ on page 550.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type G
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer”  (painted brass, anonymous)
Case number: 317526
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 mod.

Find the illustrations of  Ref. 3646 / Type A – C casebacks here. You can compare the different inner caseback engravings in Ref. 3646 / Type D – G watches here.

Typical features of a Ref. 3646 / Type G watch are: the missing Rolex SA embossing on the inner caseback, bearing a plain center with the caseback number 317526 in the upper area, wich also marks the highest number in the Ref. 3646 / Type G number group (317488 – 317526) and can be called until today as “the last 3646″ recorded in our database. Another feature of Ref. 3646 / Type G watches is the center bridge of the movement (Rolex Cal. 618/ Type 1 mod.), which bears the “17 RUBIS FAB. SUISSE”, while earlier 3646 watches (Type A – Type D) bear the “ROLEX 17 RUBIS” engraved on the left of the center bridge.

All today known watches of this number group are equipped with a flat bezel as the dials are “California Dial” or the painted brass dial (not the typical Panerai sandwich construction dial, which needs a higher bezel to cover dial and hands).

This particular dial, a black painted brass disc with luminous material applied from the top, can be easily identified from a distance by its “closed” numbers 6 and 9, while on Panerai sandwich dials these two numbers are “open” because of the different production process.

Its a pleasure to see such a rare watch surfacing today being another full matching entry in our database, and one of the only less than ten watches known inside the Ref. 3646 / Type G number group. Watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type G represents the most anonymised versions of Ref. 3646 watches by their unsigned dial, unsigned inner caseback and unsigned movement (no Panerai or Rolex trademarks), in our understanding to hide the origins of these military tool watches, made in 1944.

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.antiquorum.com]

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“Chronos” on Panerai: “Keeper of the Grail”

by on Okt.11, 2014, under Allgemein

German editor Jens Koch wrote an excellent story about the unique design of Panerai watches, following their roots from the past until today and in the future. The actual special issue of “Chronos” watch magazine (“Uhrendesign” / “watch design”) features his story on page 92-100.

By describing the history of Panerai from the early beginnings as a supplier of the royal italian navy until today’s models, photos of Vintage Panerai watches are featured (Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer”, Ref. 6152/1 “Luminor Panerai” and a GPF 2/56 “Egiziano Grosso”). Koch explains in detail where Panerai today still use the DNA of the historic watches and how the brand can create new models by using the classic design elements today and in the future, as well as different case sizes and new materials.

Get your copy of the “Chronos Spezial Uhrendesign” at the newspaper stores across europe. Find more info at www.watchtime.net [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Engraved “Kampfschwimmer” at Dr. Crott’s 90th auction

by on Okt.07, 2014, under Allgemein

Another rare Vintage Panerai Ref. 3646 / Type D is up for sale at Dr. Crott in their 90th auction on november 15th in Frankfurt (LOT 79). Recently captured some photos of the watch, bearing a rare and unique “Kampfschwimmer” engraving, featuring the initials of the first owner (“VK” for Valentin Kohlmann), year of service (1944) and the number of the task force he belonged to (“Meeres-Kämpfer 11. Einsatzgruppe”).

The watch has been delivered to the auctioneer by the veteran’s grandson, accompanied by a rare compass (black 54 mm case, solid lugs, unsigned), photos of Valentin Kohlmann during his service in WW2 and a documentation compiled by his family.

Features of the watch can be lined-up as the following: the aged plexi bears very fine cracks in the outer area near to the bezel, the blued steel hour and minute hand are both coming with the complete luminous material, the four numbers and eight markers of the anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” sandwich dial from Panerai appear in various colors reaching from yellow to orange. The number one wear-and-tear part, the winding crown, has been replaced by a non-screw-down-crown. The original “neck” and the tube for holding a screw-down-crown (Type 11 or Type 13 matching the thread of the tube) are still present.

Once opened the engraved caseback, the engine of the watch can be observed: the typical Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement without incabloc shock protection, the typical decorations on bridges and the “ROLEX 17 RUBIS” engraving on the center bridge. The balance cock is engraved with the S-F / A-R regulation device.

A view onto the fully decorated inner caseback shows the Rolex SA embossing in the center, reference number 3646 and individual case number below, which is recorded in our database in the group of Ref. 3646 / Type D watches.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer”  (sandwich, engraved)
Case number: 2604XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

Similar watches of this type with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” sandwich dials are featured in our books “History1″ (chapter II) and “History2″ (chapter V and chapter VII). An identical compass is featured in our book “History2″ on page 598, 600 and 601 (chapter VI).

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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Just because… “volcano dome”

by on Sep.12, 2014, under Allgemein

Captured the domed shape of the plexi on this Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer”. Slightly above the bezel, the “volcano dome” starts its smooth rounded shape from the lower outside to the higher center. Ref. 3646 watches have been produced over several years with different shaped plexi glasses. Another known shape is the flat centered version with a stronger curved outside area (see this Ref. 3646 / Type C “Radiomir Panerai” to compare / see this Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” to compare).

As the plexiglass was, aside the onion shaped or tubular shaped winding crown, one of the most damaged and naturally worn off part of these watches, spare plexi glasses replaced the initial plexi glasses. Its great to see another watch which comes still with its original “volcano dome”.

Another Vintage Panerai Ref. 3646 / Type D with a similar plexi is featured in our book “History2″ on page 632 / chapter VI.

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