Tag: 3646

Meeting a legendary 3646 – a family affair

by on Jun.02, 2016, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2016_1000x700_LFW1Always a special moment, which does not happen very often: Meeting a family member of a veteran who used a Panerai watch in duty many years ago. Not that its already something special to let such a meeting become real. But when its about one of the most famous Italian frogmen of the Second World War, its getting an even more special occasion to look forward with great excitement.

So, finally – it happened. After being connected with Paolo Ferraro, son of Luigi Ferraro M.O.V.M. since a few years when we had the idea to put a spotlight onto the Vintage Panerai Ref. 3646 / Type B watch, which was on Luigi Ferraro’s wrist during the four “Stella” missions in the eastern Mediterranean back in the summer of 1943 – almost 73 years ago.

Not sure about the reaction of the family towards us when we made the initial contact back some years ago… some yet unknown strangers from the internet asking for info on their father’s watch may sound strange… go figure. But very soon it started to become a very nice conversation, answers to questions, interesting informations and the feeling to be recognized for the attemp to not only publish photos and details about their father’s watch, but also to remember the person behind it – a family affair.

Rahmen_Bild_2016_1000x700_LFW3One day it was the moment to finally meet Paolo Ferraro in person, and “by the way” (it always turns out great when these words are used) being able to look not only at the watch but also more interesting memorable things which the family kept since their father passed away in 2006 – the ultimate way to “get in touch” with these fantastic timepieces with a real history behind.

Opening an old grey box, carefully, looking at the watch which clearly shows its age and use in decades – holding a piece of Panerai history for an exciting moment to remember. The table became soon loaded with more. More historic relicts, which were kept together since many years (and hopefully many more): the woolen cap with web to cover his face. A float to carry mines for miles on his way thru the night to reach his targets. The heavy steel clamp to fix the charges on the bilge keel of an enemy ship. And last but not least even the fuses, which found their way back on land – two from each “Stella” mission, making it a bundle of eight in total. Allora – all on that table – equipment used by Luigi Ferraro, a member of the “Gruppo Gamma”. Here and now.

Rahmen_Bild_2016_1000x700_LFW4At a corner of the table an old photo found my attention, a photo that I did not remember from any books I gathered in my library about Luigi Ferraro in years before. Easy to identify him in the center, holding a note in front of a microphone for giving a speech, joking with a friend on the left. Paolo pointed on the tall man on the right “and the gentlemen standing next to my father is Jacques Piccard, the famous deep sea explorer”. Both clearly sported watches on their left wrists. Not very sure about Piccard’s, but even more sure about the watch on Ferraro’s wrist: the same watch which was resting on the table I was sitting in front of, holding that photo from the 1950’s …made my day.

We would like to express our sincere words of thanks to Paolo Ferraro for making his father’s watch accessible for our records and to become a part in our new book. Not that this would have been more than we expected, he even connected us with another famous watch.

Grazie, Paolo Ferraro!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

Read more about how how the watch and the story of Luigi Ferraro M.O.V.M. found their place in chapter II.II of our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s here.

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Ref. 3646 / Type E @ Sotheby’s

by on May.30, 2016, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_2016_Sothebys_Lot166Sotheby’s New York features a Ref. 3646 / Type E in their Important Watches auction on June 8th, in New York (Lot 166). The watch has been added into our database back in 2007 with painted brass dial, Rolex 618 / Type 1 mod. movement and caseback without Rolex SA hallmark – features of a Ref. 3646 / Type E watch. In its actual condition, the watch is equipped with a re-manufatured dial (a sandwich construction of two brass discs and transparent plastic disc in the middle) with “Radiomir Panerai” lettering, made during restoration at the Officine Panerai customer service, dated March 2016.

Extract of Sotheby’s lot description about the re-manufactured dial:
The present 3646 recently underwent restoration at Officine Panerai, which included a re-manufactured dial with Superluminova and a complete service with extreme care made to retain original components and finishes, including remarkably retaining its original crystal.

The watch is mentioned together with other known Ref. 3646 watches with brass dials in our book “The References” in chapter II.IV on page 471 and in chapter II.V on page 565. Further information on painted brass dials in combination with the flat version of the bezel can be found in the chapter II.IV on page 472-479.

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 of the Ref. 3646 / Type E watch with kindly permission / courtesy of www.sothebys.com]

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Inventors, pilots and a royal visitor…

by on May.24, 2016, under Allgemein

The first watches for the pilots of the “new weapon” SLC were delivered in the middle of the 1930’s by Guido Panerai & Figlio to the Commando del 1° Gruppo Sommergibili of the Royal Italian Navy. According to the timeline of the development of the top secret slow running torpedos (siluro a lenta corsa, short: SLC) by the inventors Teseo Tesei and Elios Toschi, waterproof and luminous instruments for the pilots were necessary to carry out proper exercises and to control the SLC in depth and darkness.

IMG_2635_600x600The chapters I and II, dedicated to the first watches for underwater use (Ref. 2533 and 3646) take the readers of our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s into these early years. Teseo Tesei and Elios Toschi’s ideas became real. But strategic decisions after the Italo-Ethiopian War stopped the secret SLC project. The tests with these small weapons were archived and the Royal Italian Navy focused their interest in huge battleships, cruisers and destroyers.

The SLC project was re-started by the 1st Flottiglia MAS in 1939 at the advent of the Second World War. With the first missions of the Mezzi d’Assalto carried out from August 1940 onwards, the demand for skilled operators as well as new equipment – and more instruments for the operators – grew fast. An early Ref. 3646 / Type A, dated to April 1940, is featured in chapter II.I followed by the timeline of the missions carried out by the operators of the Decima Flottiglia MAS, the special commandos of the Royal Italian Navy.

IMG_3106_600x600The photo shows page 96 of “The References” with a historic photo from June 1940: The two inventors of the SLC, Teseo Tesei and Elios Toschi, Alberto Franzini and Gino Birindelli above their co-pilots stand together with a royal visitor: Principe Aimone di Savoia Aosta, Duca di Spoleto –  just a few weeks before the first missions of the new weapon SLC were about to write naval history.

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 with a total of 1392 pages can be found here. Read about the featured watches from Guido Panerai & Figlio in the first and second volume here.

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“Operazione Stella” – Luigi Ferraro’s Panerai watch

by on May.18, 2016, under Allgemein

IMG_3065_600x600A “Gamma” frogman who wrote history. A photo from 1998 which was a reminder not to miss the chance to capture Luigi Ferraro’s story in our book “The References” – together with the 3646 / Type B watch he was wearing during the “Operazione Stella” in 1943.

One of the few watches which can be followed back to the first owner, which is also a very famous one: Luigi Ferraro (M.O.V.M.). Not easy to capture as much as possible of his story in a part in the first volume of “The References”, which filled several books of Italian authors with hundreds of pages. Even in the first Panerai books, written by Giampiero Negretti in 1998, Luigi Ferraro’s famous missions in the mediterranean sea found their place to be mentioned.

IMG_3071_600x600To get in touch with the family of the veteran Luigi Ferraro (1914-2006) was a very intensive and exciting time during the research about his Ref. 3646 / Type B “Radiomir Panerai” with riveted plastic dial (chapter II.II page 190-203). Paolo Ferraro, one of Luigi Ferraro sons, provided excellent photos and made personal documents available for us to be featured in our book, which gave us the chance to illustrate the history behind his father’s watch.

In January 1943 Luigi Ferraro obtained his qualification to carry out underwater missions. Initially posted to North Africa to attack enemy targets in the Port of Tripoli, he had to leave the area and returned to Italy. In May 1943 he was posted to La Spezia, where he received instructions from commander Borghese for a new mission – this time not in North Africa, but in the eastern Mediterranean: the Turkish ports of Alexandretta and Mersina. Luigi Ferraro’s four “Stella” missions, for which he was awarded with the M.O.V.M., are described in chapter II.II (page 204-225).

IMG_3070_600x600Aside several tools of his time as a “Gamma” frogman, Luigi Ferraro’s 3646 / Type B “Radiomir Panerai” never changed ownership and remained a memorable piece for him and his family since he returned from war. The watch shows intensive proof of aging and is an example of how different these rare watches have aged after more than 70 years. The watch still has its original strap, as well as its original domed plexiglas crystal – intensively aged with countless fissures. Numbers, indices and the typical “Radiomir Panerai” lettering on the riveted plastic dial can still be made out at some points.

Luigi Ferraro’s watch has been recorded in our database in 2014, however the watch was known to us already years before. The Rolex 618 / Type 1 movement in combination with the small Oyster Watch Co hallmark, embossed on the inner caseback together with the reference and case number, is matching our criteria for being a watch of the Reference 3646 / Type B. The outer caseback bears a rare matriculation number, of which only a very few 3646 watches are known today. We have published further information about the different matriculation numbers on some of these watches in chapter II.III (page 301-303).

Luigi Ferraro’s 3646 / Type B “Radiomir Panerai” with riveted plastic dial is published extensively in chapter II.II (page 190-203) of the book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s.

More 3646 watches with an interesting history, related to their first owners and the missions they carried out during the Second World War, are introduced in chapter II.I (Ernesto Notari) and in chapter II.III (Licio Visintini). Enjoy reading!

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Ref. 3646 / Type E “California Dial” @ Phillips Geneva

by on May.14, 2016, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_2016_Phillips_TypeE_1One more piece to the puzzle added, another gap closed and a remarkable and noteworthy match in our Vintage Panerai database: Phillips features a rare Ref. 3646 / Type E “California Dial” on May, 15th (lot 122, The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE). Added into our records in March 2016, this specimen bears the important and typical internal and external details of a Ref. 3646 / Type E watch.

Watches of the Reference 3646 / Type E are featured in our new book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.V (page 532-573). With this new addition we have now recorded 27 watches in this group, extending the 3646 / Type E number range downwards by six numbers, filling another gap between the watches of the Reference 3646 / Type D and 3646 / Type E.

Rahmen_Bild_2016_Phillips_TypeE_2The information and measurement results provided by Phillips confirmed the cross-section of a 3646 / Type E caseback, which we put in the focus on page 536-539 of our new book. The caseback of this watch has been engraved with a name, date of birth and hometown of the first owner from Bavaria/Germany.

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

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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Engraved “Kampfschwimmer” @ Wright Marshall

by on Apr.29, 2016, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_2016_1000x700_WM_Lot153After the sale of a Ref. 3646 / Type D earlier this year, auctioneer Wright Marshall features with lot 153 one more Ref. 3646/ Type D with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial, blued steel hands and onion shaped crown (Type 11) in their Fine Antique & Collectible Sale on 10 May 2016 in Knutsford, Cheshire (United Kingdom).

The watch has been added into our database, matching the Ref. 3646 / Type D criteria by its Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement in combination with the Rolex hallmark, reference and case number embossed on the inner caseback.

WrightMarshall_engraved_casebackThe outer caseback of the watch bears a rare engraving, featuring initials of the first owner, the year 1945 and the words “Kampf-Schwimmer” (combat swimmer) and “L.K. 700”. Only a very few number of Ref. 3646 watches are known today, which are decorated / personalized in a similar way. Another well known example with painted brass dial and identical engraving on the caseback is part of the Museo Panerai Collection.

About the Lehrkommando 700 (short: L.K. 700, as engraved on the caseback): In 1944, several training schools were built for different type of Small Naval Assault in the German Kriegsmarine. Aside the training school for combat swimmers (frogmen), there were schools for explosive boats (Lehrkommando 200 and 600) and further four different types of midget submarines (Lehrkommando 250, 300, 350 and 400).

IMG_2904_600x600We have documented and illustrated the various training schools of the Small Naval Assault Command in our book “History1” on page 202-203 in chapter III (see coffee table shot on the left).

The Lehrkommando 700 was based in Valdagno and Venice (Italy) until November 1944 and moved to the island of Sylt (Germany) until the end of the Second World War. Remaining units of the Lehrkommando 700 have been arrested POW by British forces at Sylt. Many Panerai watches changed ownership in these days and became a “souvenir” for returning troops of the allied nations after their service. Some of these watches have survived the war and surfaced after more than 70 years to the public. We expect further watches to be discovered in the future which went a similar way than the Ref. 3646 / Type D offered at Wright Marshall in May.

Wright Marshall provided the following provenance:
“This watch has been in the northeast of England since the early 1960’s when the vendors late father swapped the watch for a carriage clock, it has remained in the family since that date, the watch was serviced by a local jeweller on 20/5/88 for the sum of £28 and the watch has never been used since that date.”

Wright Marshall CONDITION REPORT: 
The watch was last serviced from a local jeweller on 20/05/88 for the sum of £28 and has been left in a drawer since, light scratches and marks to outer case and U-shaped crack to plexi-glass, minor bending to large fingertip, minor chipping to hands, light wear/use marks throughout around back outer case, green colour around edges, crown partly releases, unable to move the fingers with crown, a simple shake and the watch starts to tick for around 10 seconds, not complete with original led seal.

We hope that 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.wrightmarshall.co.uk]

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Ref. 3646 watches with “California Dials”

by on Apr.25, 2016, under Allgemein

IMG_2882_600x600Vintage Panerai watches with “California Dials” are recorded in several number groups of the Reference 3646. Read our new “The References” book (first volume / 1930’s-1940’s) to find out, in which of the seven number groups (3646 / Type A – 3646 / Type G) this type of dial has been used and which number group features almost half of all known 3646 watches with “California Dial” today.

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 coffee table shot shows a Ref. 3646 / Type F with “California Dial” in chapter II.VI, page 586-587.

Information on “The References” 1930’s-1940’s can be found here. The new “The References” books can be ordered only in our bookstore.

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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The 3646 watches with riveted plastic dials

by on Apr.23, 2016, under Allgemein

IMG_2880_600x600Only less than a dozen Reference 3646 watches with a riveted plastic dials were recorded in our database until our new book “The References” was published. Among the more than 200 recorded watches of the Reference 3646 in total, this dial version can be called one of the rarest.

Read in the first volume (1930’s-1940’s) of “The References”, in which of the seven different number groups (3646 / Type A to 3646/ Type G) we have recorded watches with this version of the famous “Radiomir Panerai” dial from Guido Panerai & Figlio.

The coffee table shot shows one of these few watches with riveted plastic dial, a Ref. 3646 / Type B, documented in chapter II.II on page 176-189.

Enjoy reading! Our new “The Reference” books are in stock and can be ordered only in our bookstore.

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The 3646 which returned from Gibraltar to Italy…

by on Apr.18, 2016, under Allgemein

IMG_2843_600x600…but alone – without the SLC pilot who used it on his wrist during the mission B.G.5 in December 1942: Licio Visintini.

Born 1915 and enterred the Royal Italian Navy in 1933, Licio Visintini took part in several missions against the allied fleet in Gibraltar as a member of the Decima MAS. In 1941 Visintini was promoted to Tenente di Vascello. After surviving from SLC missions B.G.3 (May 1941) and B.G.4 (September 1941), carried out by the transport submersible “Scirè” under the command of Junio Valerio Borghese, Visintini returned to Gibraltar undercover in June 1942 where he built the core of the “Orsa Maggiore” on board the tanker Olterra – the hidden base for the SLC units in the bay of Gibraltar.

IMG_2842_600x600According to legend, Visintini’s „Radiomir Panerai“ was returned to his mother after the end of the Second World War by his former enemy, Lieutenant „Buster“ Crabb (head of the Underwater Working Party in Gibraltar). The return of personal items to relatives showed a great respect that the combatants on different sides had for one another. Crabb, who was himself an experienced diver serving the British Navy, knew from experience all too wellt he level of courage and determination that was neccessary to carry out missions of this kind. Before Visintini’s mother died, she gave the watch to Vittorio Stradi, her son’s best friend. Vittorio Stradi was a „Gamma“ frogman in the Second World War. Fourty years later he passed the watch to his friend Isidoro Mario Nardin, who was also a member of the „Gamma“ frogmen during the Second World War.

IMG_2841_600x600To commemorate the order of ownership, the three names were inscribed for posterity on the caseback, as shown on page 358-359 and 360. For Isidoro Mario Nardin, Licio Visintini’s Panerai watch became a symbol of cameraderie and a memento of his fallen comrade.

Chapter II.III in our new book “The References” (first volume / 1930’s-1940’s) features the story behind this Ref. 3646 / Type C „Radiomir Panerai“ and its three owners, Licio Visintini (M.O.V.M.), Vittorio Stradi and Isidoro Mario Nardin, on page 350-397.

Information on “The References” 1930’s-1940’s (first volume) can be found here.

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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One depth gauge and two Ref. 3646 watches @ Christie’s

by on Apr.13, 2016, under Watch Point

Christie’s features two different Ref. 3646 watches an a “40 metri” depth gauge from Guido Panerai & Figlio in their upcoming auction on 16 May 2016 in Geneva (Sale 1413).

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2016_Christies_Lot133_LPDG40_GLot 133: A “Luminor Panerai” depth gauge (case size: 70 x 90 mm) for 40 metres with anti-reflective coating. The back of the depth gauge is signed “OFFICINE PANERAI · FIRENZE · BREVETTATO”, the steel GPF buckle, sewn to the strap, is unsigned. The Guido Panerai & Figlio instrument is accompanied by a heavy, stainless steel knife for underwater works, made by Galeazzi (La Spezia).

Similar depth gauges in various versions (aimed for proper use in different depths depending on the underwater activities) are featured in our new book “The References” (second volume / 1950’s-1960’s) in chapter XI (page 1314-1367). An identical “40 metri” depth gauge is shown on page 1364-1366. A similar Galeazzi knife with tool grip has been introduced earlier here.

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2016_Christies_Lot134_KSLot 134: This watch has been added recently in our database. New to the market, representing another typical “Kampfschwimmer” of the Ref. 3646 / Type D number group with anonymous sandwich dial. 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.

Watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type D are featured in our new book “The References” (first volume / 1930’s-1940’s) in chapter II.IV (page 398-531).

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2016_Christies_Lot135_RPLot 135: Again up for auction at Christies, the Ref. 3646 / Type C with “Radiomir Panerai” dial, as introduced in earlier postings from a past auction in November and December 2013. The outer caseback is engraved with a matriculation number of the Italian Decima Flottiglia MAS (short “Xa FLOTMAS No. 048”).

Watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type C are featured in our new book “The References” (first volume / 1930’s-1940’s) in chapter II.III (page 248-397).

We hope the depth gauge and the 3646 watches will find good new homes and 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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