Tag: “History2”

Farewell, Jochen!

by on Jan.10, 2018, under Allgemein

Burnus_condolences_full
Sad news arrived us in January. German veteran Jochen Burnus, one of the last remaining WW2 frogmen, died on 30 December 2017 at the age of 94. We send our condolences to his Family.

Jochen Burnus’ personal story as a frogmen was featured in chapter V of our book “History2” with information and documents he provided us during several meetings and interviews between 2010 and 2013.

The chapter on Jochen Burnus described his period of duty as a frogman, from his posting away from Yugoslavia in 1944 and his training in northern Italy to his missions at the Elbe, where he ended up in American captivity in April, 1945. After his release he worked in the Hamburg Harbour as a recovery diver (photo). In 1949 he ended his career as a recovery diver and worked afterwards as a mechanic and boiler maker for the German Railways in Zwickau. In 1951 Jochen Burnus commenced a graphics course at the Robert Schumann Academy in Zwickau, and switched from there to the master school in Berlin in 1952. In 1953, Jochen Burnus resumed his activities as a diver. In the disarmament of Potsdam he was in the Brandenburg on the search for remnants of the Second World War and removed unexploded bombs, weapons and munitions from lakes, rivers and fields, and also helped to defuse them as an explosives assistant. In 1957 he transferred to the main waterways department in East Berlin, where he worked as a diver in facilitating shipping once again, which had collapsed in 1945 in Berlin and the surrounding waterways. Divers carried out works over weeks and months with salvage ships on the Spree. In 1960 Jochen Burnus returned to the shipyards in Hamburg. After around a year of work as a diver in the Hamburg Harbour, which was greatly expanded during this time, He became site supervisor for a Hamburg based company, and worked in many harbours and rivers across Europe in the field of culvert construction (a special procedure to lay pipes below dykes or shipping channels). Until his retirement in 1988, Jochen Burnus worked for two more water construction companies as a site manager. In 1972 he moved from Hamburg to the Cologne for four years, and laid pipes for water, power cables and telephone lines in the rivers Lippe, Main, Danube, Elbe and Rhine, as well as in the North Sea. In 1976 he moved to a company in Munich, where he was active in culvert construction in many rivers, but also in the construction of the 90 km-long Ring Canal, to save the Chiemsee, which was threatened by incoming wastewater. Towards the end of his career, in 1985, Jochen Burnus was involved as site manager in laying an 8 km long gas pipe through the Tegernsee Lake.

The element of water, whether sea or river, has had a special significance in the life of Jochen Burnus. Whether as a ship’s boy in the 1930s, as a frogman in the Second World War, a professional diver in the post-war-era – water always had a special role. We are glad that we had the chance to meet Jochen Burnus in person several times, where we listened to his very personal experiences of his time when he was a frogman and from his life as a professional diver in the post-war era. We have lost a great source of information and a good friend.

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

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A war souvenir from the river Elbe in shape of a 3646

by on Nov.14, 2017, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_2017_3646_B_Sothebys04Sotheby’s will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type B “Radiomir Panerai” with engraved caseback in their New York auction Important Watches on 6 December 2017. The watch (lot 946) has been recorded in our database in 2016, along with information which we have received from the descendants of a British Army veteran who brought this watch back home as a souvenir from the Second World War.

Featuring the small Oyster Watch Co hallmark on its inner caseback, an onion shaped “Brevet +” crown (Type 11) and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement, the watch with a “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial stands in our database as another surfaced Ref. 3646 / Type B with an engraved caseback, providing a very interesting story in terms of how these watches changed ownership at the end of the war.

Rahmen_Bild_2017_3646_B_Sothebys03The history behind the engraving on the caseback of the watch in auction at Sotheby’s has been provided to us by the family of Captain Coltart.

Here is a little information on the watch since it came into the Coltart’s possession in 1945: Captain John Maxted Coltart, initially a member of the Black Watch Regiment (RHR) was transferred to the Gordon Highlanders of the 15th Scottish Regiment for the balance of the war.  After his marriage on March 17, 1945 he returned to duty in Germany to do his part in the crossing of the Elbe. He had tales of the struggle to build and maintain the bridge across the Elbe between Tespe on the South shore and the bridgehead at Tesperhude on the North bank. The bridge was under continuing assault by artillery fire, swimmers in the water and terrifyingly fast jet planes which had just entered the war. Captain Coltart brought a number of war souvenirs back to Scotland, including a Luger pistol, the Panerai divers watch and a dagger. He brought them to Canada when he and his family immigrated in 1955. His daughter inherited the watch upon his death in 1984. She had no idea the watch had value other than a keepsake until a Scottish cousin with a good memory emailed a clipping describing the sale of a similar Panerai watch. Captain Coltart had the back of the watch engraved to commemorate the last battle he took part in and the location where he obtained the watch. At this point it is unclear exactly how he managed to collect these mementos but it is clear that they were obtained while on active duty in Germany during the Second World War and have been in the family ever since.

On “Operation Enterprise” (source: wikipedia):
The particular distinction for the 15th Scottish was to be selected to lead the last set piece river crossing of the war, the assault across the River Elbe (“Operation Enterprise”) on 29 April 1945 spearheaded by the 1st Commando Brigade (commanded by Brigadier Derek Mills-Roberts), after which they fought on to the Baltic occupying both Lübeck and Kiel. The 15th (Scottish) was the only division of the British Army during the Second World War to be involved in three of the six major European river assault crossings; the Seine, the Rhine and the Elbe.

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The crossing of the river Elbe at Lauenburg has been part of our research for our book “History2”, chapter IX (page 825-845 with historic maps and photos taken during “Operation Enterprise” in the river Elbe area at Tespe – Artlenburg – Lauenburg) in which a surviving frogmen particularly mentioned the railway bridge of Lauenburg (see photo above, page 824-825) being one of their mission targets in the last days of the Second World War (19 April 1945), followed by the attemp to destroy the 946 ft. “Class 40 Bailey Pontoon Bridge” at Artlenburg (west of Lauenburg, 28/29 April 1945) by a group of German frogmen (see photos on page 842 and 843).

Rahmen_Bild_2017_3646_B_Sothebys01Photo left: view onto the Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement of the watch in auction. Similar watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type B with “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dials have been published earlier here and here.

A special thanks to the descendants of Captain Coltart who provided us information on the Ref. 3646 / Type B and its story behind. We hope that this watch will find a good new home and remains surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world.
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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

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“The Rösel Radiomir” @ Phillips GWA6

by on Sep.25, 2017, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2017_GWA6_210Phillips will feature a rare Ref. 3646 / Type C with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial in their Geneva Watch Auction: SIX, which will be held on Sunday, 12 November 2017. The watch comes with a tubular shaped Rolex Oyster crown (Type 13) and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

Further info on this watch (lot 210) can be found here.

What makes this watch special for us:
The collectible items of the former combat swimmer Helmut Rösel, which was submitted for auction at Dr. Crott in November 2012 for the first time, contains not only his “Kampfschwimmer” watch but also several documents from his time as a combat swimmer, some of which are extremely rare in this day and age. Additional letters written personally by the first owner and a 1994 jewellery certificate for his 3646 are precious pieces of evidence which makes this a “full set” of which not many exist.

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The Ref. 3646 / Type C “Kampfschwimmer” and the history behind is featured in our book “History2” in chapter IX with 98 pages, 63 photos and 4 technical illustrations. Furthermore it is published in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.III on page 322-349. Read more about “The Rösel Radiomir” here.

We hope that this rare 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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Reading a frogman’s battle report…

by on Jul.19, 2016, under Allgemein

One of the rarest historical documents which we came across during the research of our book “History2”: a handwritten battle report of a frogmen mission at the Pomeranian coast, dated April 3rd, 1945.

IMG_3727_600x600Documents from the last weeks of the Second World War are today, without a doubt, very hard to find – if existing after more than 70 years at all… With the support of the family of the German “Kampfschwimmer”, who once wrote this report after he returned safely from the combat zone, we were able to include this battle report (page 672-673 shown on the coffee table shot on the left) in chapter VII of “History2” (featuring the chapters V-IX with a total of 480 pages).

Interesting details in his handwritten battle report are the times which he mentioned aside other details, all easily readable on the sandwich dial of the Ref. 3646 / Type D (with 5 minute markers / indices) he was wearing during the mission: He wrote down 21:50, 23:30, 23:45, 23:50-0:30 and finally 2:05 AM – the moment he left the waters – after 4:15 hours trying to attack the Wollin railroad bridge together with a group of four frogmen from the “Einsatzgruppe Keller”, towing two mines thru the waters of the Dievenow. 

One of these five frogmen is featured in our book “History1”. Several pages of his diary are published in chapter II, where he wrote down what happened during the frogmen attack of the Gristow bridge at the Pomeranian coast (page 134-143).

IMG_3726_600x600Read more on further rare documents which helped us to capture the history behind the Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch, shown on the coffee table shot on the left here. Photos from the years 1944 and 1945 showing this watch on the frogman’s wrist, as well as his identification papers and travel documents issued in Venice, helped us to reconstruct the route he took to the mission grounds.

Obviously his handwritten battle report never reached the headquarters but somehow he managed to keep it safe for his personal records, giving us today, more than 70 years later, a detailed inside view on a mission he carried out together with four frogmen at the Eastern Front in April 1945…

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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Meeting one of the last WW2 “Kampfschwimmer”

by on Jul.17, 2016, under Allgemein

IMG_3775_600x600A long overdue meeting finally became reality: The invitation to visit one of the last WW2 “Kampfschwimmer” frogmen just had to be returned… one day! What better occasion for that one day than a personal shake hands on this veteran’s 93rd birthday? It was without a doubt an unforgettable meeting. Surrounded by his family and friends we finally met in person. Sitting together on his table, having a traditional Bavarian “Brotzeit” was more than a good time. Thanks for your hospitality, Jochen – stay in such a good shape!

Since 2010 we have been connected with veteran Jochen Burnus to publish the history behind a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” in our book “History2”. Many personal documents and memories were provided by him for our research which helped us to capture not only the history of his friend Sigi, a member of the “Einsatzgruppe Keller” but also his personal history as a German frogman who ended up in American captivity in April 1945 after his mission against a pontoon bridge of the 83rd Thunderbolt Division at the river Elbe.

By his extraordinary good memories Jochen Burnus was able to give us a very detailed report on what happened before, during and after his mission, from training in northern Italy to the combat zones during the last months of the Second World War.

History2_frontal_300x300One part of chapter V is dedicated to his work as a recovery diver in Hamburg in the late 1940’s and bomb squad in the numerous waterways of Berlin in the 1950’s, followed by his career as professional diver across Europe until the end of the 1960’s. Accompanied with more than 60 historical photos and maps from various sources, the 112 pages of chapter V became the starting chapter of “History2” with a total of 480 pages. More information on chapter V can be found also here.

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

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

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“Watches with History” – our two history books

by on Apr.27, 2016, under Allgemein

IMG_2709_600x600Our first book, published in 2007 and entitled “Watches with History” opened with the words “In this book we would like to give the reader an overview of historic Panerai watches and their documented history.” Years passed since then, during which we have embarked on many interesting trips into the past while researching this subject.

The personal stories of the first owners of these watches were mostly forgotten in the last years, reaching back more than 70 years since their use in war times. Only a few Vintage Panerai watches can tell their story, and the story of many others will never be told. In 2012 we were able to take an even deeper and more comprehensive look at the wearers and the uses of these watches in the book “History1”.

IMG_2720_600x600The stories in this book take the reader back to the time of the Second World War. Rare pictures from this period bear silent and impressive witness to the conditions and living circumstances, which we have also been able to supplement with rare map and image materials from various international archives. A small number of Vintage Panerai watches reveal their secrets to the collector and answer the ever-recurring question: Who used the watch? When did the operations take place, and to what purpose? And further: where and under what conditions did the comprehensive training of the special maritime unit take place? How and by what means were the deployments of the combat swimmers carried out? What do the veterans think of those missions today? We pursued the answers to these questions and, thanks to the help of some surviving veterans, their descendants, or by means of analyzing previously unknown documents such as diaries, interview records or recordings by opposing spies, we managed to compile some very impressive and authentic chapters.

The four chapters of our book “History1″ (420 pages) are introduced below:
Chapter I / Chapter II / Chapter III / Chapter IV

IMG_2694_600x600In the book “History2” (2013) we once again took our readers on a journey through time with five more stories: five exciting and moving fates of frogmen, for whom their Panerai watch was not an item of jewellery, but rather an important piece of equipment during the Second World War.

„History2“ outlines the personal experiences of the combat swimmers and describes in the smallest detail their fate, which has, during conversations or in written correspondence, evoked at times painful memories and great emotions after many decades.

The watches presented in this book were in action under “real” battle conditions in the Second World War. They accompanied their original owners since combat swimmer training and indeed for many years after the war.

The five chapters of our book “History2″ (480 pages) are introduced below:
Chapter V / Chapter VI / Chapter VII / Chapter VIII / Chapter IX

Our books “History1” and “History2″ can be ordered directly in our bookstore.

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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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Spot on: chapter IX of “History2”

by on Aug.22, 2014, under Allgemein

CHAPTER IX – “Helmut Rösel”
(98 pages, 63 photos, 4 technical illustrations)

The collectible items of the former combat swimmer Helmut Rösel, which was submitted for auction to the auctioneer Dr. Crott, contains not only his Panerai watch but also some documents from his time as a combat swimmer, some of which are extremely rare in this day and age. They give precise information about the stages of his training and his successful missions at the western and eastern fronts. The German Federal Cross of Merit, which was awarded to him in 1983 provided new insights, following our enquires at the Office of the Federal President, into his professional career in the Protestant Church, in which he was a pastor from 1961 and a military chaplain for the Bundeswehr from 1971. Letters written personally by him and a 1994 jewellery certificate for his Panerai watch are precious pieces of evidence are just as difficult to find in this day and age as the historic Panerai watches themselves.

Vintage Panerai “History2”
26 x 26 cm, 480 pages,
trilingual (= german, italian and english language in one book),
hardback jacket, slipcase.

“History2″ is in stock and can be ordered directly at our bookstore.

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Spot on: chapter VIII of “History2”

by on Aug.15, 2014, under Allgemein

CHAPTER VIII – “Walter Lewandowski”
(72 pages, 48 photos, 4 technical illustrations)

Walter Lewandowski also followed an unusual path in the Second World War. In 1943 he was initially with the Luftwaffe as a paratrooper and pilot of a transport glider in “Battle Squadron 200”, then posted to the Navy, and immediately afterwards trained as a combat swimmer in Valdagno and in the Lagoon of Venice. After a failed mission on the Adriatic coast, where he managed to find his way back to his own lines overland after many days, he was then sent back to the Eastern Front in Germany for the last weeks of the war. There, as a member of the “Einsatzgruppe Keller”, he carried out a number of missions against the Soviet pontoon bridges. He first escaped captivity by the Soviet troops, who were advancing on Berlin with immense superiority of strength, but then on the island of Sylt he shared the fate of many other combat swimmers and was a British prisoner of war until 1946.

Vintage Panerai “History2”
26 x 26 cm, 480 pages,
trilingual (= german, italian and english language in one book),
hardback jacket, slipcase.

“History2″ is in stock and can be ordered directly at our bookstore.

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Spot on: chapter VII of “History2”

by on Aug.08, 2014, under Allgemein

CHAPTER VII – “Hanns-Martin Kaufhold”
(70 pages, 58 photos, 6 technical illustrations)

The chapter about Hanns-Martin Kaufhold shows comprehensively just how helpful a collection of field post letters has been when researching this member of the “Einsatzgruppe Keller”. His correspondence with his then-girlfriend, which lasted more than three years from his entry into the Navy in 1942 until the end of his imprisonment in July 1945, provides information about the stages of his time as a trainee officer and combat swimmer. These rare documents, including identification papers and travel documents issued in Venice, allow us to reconstruct the route he took to the mission grounds at the Eastern Front. A mission report written by Hanns-Martin Kaufhold on April 3rd, 1945 – an unique and extremely rare document – describes a mission carried out by him and four comrades in the “Einsatzgruppe Keller”.

Vintage Panerai “History2”
26 x 26 cm, 480 pages,
trilingual (= german, italian and english language in one book),
hardback jacket, slipcase.

“History2″ is in stock and can be ordered directly at our bookstore.

Enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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