Tag: 3646

Farewell, Mr. Kiefer!

by on Jan.20, 2016, under Allgemein

Sad news arrived us in January. German veteran Karl-Heinz Kiefer, one of the last remaining WW2 frogmen, died on 23 December 2015 at the age of 90. We send our condolences to his family.

Mr. Kiefer’s personal story as a frogmen was featured in chapter III of our 2011 book “History1” with information he provided us during several meetings and interviews until 2011. Mr. Kiefer received a Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial after he was successfully instructed to become a “Kampfschwimmer” in the last weeks of the Second World War. Karl-Heinz Kiefer was taken prisoner of war by the British at the island of Sylt, which was the final headquarter of the German frogmen units (codename “Weisskoppel”) before the end of the Second World War. Mr. Kiefer’s Panerai watch is one of the very few watches in our records which can be tracked from present day back to its use in early 1945.

Karl-Heinz Kiefer started his navy career in the Kriegsmarine in October 1943. He completed his recruit training in Stralsund (Baltic Sea) as member of the “Crew 10/43”. After his recruit training he went on board the destroyer Z 25 in Gotenhafen in January 1944, where he completed his second part of his officer training, the so-called “on-board recruit period” until July 1944.

From this part of his career, Karl-Heinz Kiefer found a photo of himself in 2012 at his home, which he provided us for adding in our history records. As it was too late to feature it in the already published book “History1”, we want to share this photo to remember him. The backside of the photo bears a date stamp (18 March 1944) and the photographer’s stamp, based in Danzig (Baltic Sea).

After his officer training he posted to the special marine unit (“Kampfschwimmer”) in December 1944, as he was an excellent swimmer who participated several swimming competitions, such as the German youth championships in 1942. Released from the POW camp after only eight weeks, he left the island of Sylt in June 1945. Mr. Kiefer became a school teacher in 1946 until his retirement as principal.

Related to his Ref. 3646 / Type D Panerai watch, we remember his many detailed memories during the 2011 interview at the age of 85: “Whoever had his own diving watch, and no longer needed to return it to the store after exercises along with the other pieces of equipment, was a fully-trained combat swimmer, ready for action. Whoever wore the Panerai on his arm really belonged.” 

We are glad, that we had the chance to meet Mr. Kiefer in person, listened to his very personal experiences of his time when he became a frogmen. We asked him questions, on which we received helpful, interesting but also moving answers. Questions, which sadly one day non of those veterans will be able to answer anymore…

“Auf Wiedersehen!” – farewell, Mr. Kiefer – rest in peace!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann] 

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The “closer” in 2015: a Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial

by on Dec.30, 2015, under Allgemein

Latest entry in our Vintage Panerai database is a Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial, located in the United Kingdom. According to the family of the british WW2 veteran, this watch has been brought from Germany at the end of the war and has been kept untouched for seventy years.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer”  (painted brass, anonymous)
Case number: 2608XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

By the end of the year 2015 we have 383 records in our Vintage Panerai database.

Have a good start into 2016!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

 

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Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” @ Phillips HK

by on Nov.16, 2015, under Watch Point

Phillips will feature a Ref. 3646 / Type D in their upcoming The Hong Kong Watch Auction: ONE (December 1st, 2015). The watch (LOT 223) is recorded in our database since 2010 and is one of the more than 70 recorded watches of the 3646 / Type D number group. The watch has been auctioned in November 2012 at Sotheby’s Geneva before.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer”  (sandwich, anonymous)
Case number: 260XXX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

Similar Ref. 3646 / Type D watches with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial will be featured in the 2016 edition of our new book “The References” in volume 1, chapter II.IV on page 398-531.

Ref. 3646 / Type D watches with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dials are featured in our books “History1″ (chapter II) and “History2″ (chapter V and chapter VII).

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.phillips.com]

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Ref. 3646 / Type C “Radiomir Panerai” @ Christie’s

by on Sep.24, 2015, under Watch Point

Christie’s Geneva will have a Ref. 3646 / Type C “Radiomir Panerai” (LOT 173) in their upcoming Important Watches 1410 Auction (November 9th, 2015).

This watch is recorded in our database since 2006 and is one of the few 3646 / Type C watches with dark red numbers and markers. Most of the today known watches (more than 50 Ref. 3646 / Type C watches are recoded in our database) of this number group hold a “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial. The watch is powered by the typical Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement. Under all today known watches in this number group, more than 90% are having this movement version (with 17 jewels and without Incabloc shock protection).

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type C
Dial: “Radiomir Panerai”  (sandwich, engraved)
Case number: 1010XXX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

Further details of the watch are the high version of the bezel, long loops soldered to the case, typical blued steel hands with complete luminous material and the “Brevet +” onion shaped winding crown (Type 11). The inner caseback bears the engraving of Ref. 3646 / Type C watches – the Rolex SA embossing, reference and case number. An overview of the different caseback markings in Ref. 3646 watches can be found here: Type A-C and Type D-G.

This watch will be featured in chapter II.III of our upcoming book “The References” (2nd edition) on page 292-297. A similar watch with dark red aged “Radiomir Panerai” dial is featured in our book “History1” in chapter I.

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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Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” @ Dr Crott

by on Sep.23, 2015, under Watch Point

A new entry in our records, another great example of a typical Ref. 3646 / Type D watch made in 1943 / 1944 and used in the 2nd world war, reached our database: Auctioneers Dr. Crott received a yet unknown Ref. 3646 / Type D watch for their 92nd Auction which will be held in Frankfurt, November 14th 2015 (LOT 27).

Surfaced to the market 70 years after the 2nd world war for the first time, consigned by the family of a german “Kampfschwimmer” veteran, this Ref. 3646 / Type D Vintage Panerai watch is marking one of less than 80 watches of this number group Type D known until today.

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

Beside the typical features of the watch, such as the high version of the bezel, neccessary for the high sandwich dial from Panerai, the onion shaped Rolex crown (“Brevet +” / Type 11), the short bent soldered lugs and also the Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement, its unpolished case and original “volcano dome” plexi are striking features. Actually the onion crown can’t be screwed down to the case as the tube has no winding grip anymore. Known as “the #1 part to be worn off”, the onion shaped crown is always something to be sensible with. Imagine that the crown has to be used every day and if the watch gets many wrist time (which has obviously been the case in this piece…) one day a new tube is needed. The unpolished surfaces of the cushion shaped case, its original blued hands and the original plexi are giving this Ref. 3646 /Type D watch an unique and rare patina.

The outer caseback of the watch bears no personal engraving, the inside of the caseback shows the typical decoration and the Rolex SA stamp with reference and case number. The blued steel hands hold the original luminous material, the four numbers and eight markers of the Panerai sandwich dial faded from dark yellow to a deep orange.

Similar watches of this type with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dials are featured in our books “History1″ (chapter II) and “History2″ (chapter V and chapter VII). Watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type D number group will be featured in chapter II.IV of our upcoming book “The References” (2nd edition).

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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Another engraved Ref. 3646 / Type D up for auction

by on May.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 May.10, 2015, under Watch Point

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 May.08, 2015, under Watch Point

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 Dec.01, 2014, under Watch Point

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 Watch Point

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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