Tag: “Kampfschwimmer”

Engraved Ref. 3646 / Type D @ Dr. Crott

by on Jan.22, 2017, under Watch Point

Watch_Point_2017_01_3646_KG_DrCrott1Dr. Crott Auctioneers will have a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” with painted brass dial and rare engraved caseback (bearing the initials of the first owner “KG”) in their upcoming 95th Auction on May, 6th 2017 (Lot 424).

The watch has been recorded into our database since 2004 when it was on display in a museum. After seeing it again for the second time in 2006, it surfaced now, eleven years later, for sale on auction to find a new home.

Watch_Point_2017_01_3646_KG_DrCrott2Noteworthy about this watch is the original leather strap (double keeper) and the coated brass buckle as well as the unpolished condition of the case with flat bezel and typical internal details (decorative polish on the inside of the caseback, Rolex SA hallmark with reference and individual case number, Rolex 618 / Type 1 movement) matching our database criteria for being a Ref. 3646 / Type D.

A tubular crown (signed “Oyster Patent” / Type 13) is screwed down on the neck of the 47 mm cushion shaped case. At this stage of our research, we are not able to link the engraved initials “KG” definitely to one of the frogmen veterans in our records.

Watch_Point_2017_01_3646_KG_DrCrott3Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type D
Dial: “Kampfschwimmer”  (painted brass, anonymous)
Case number: 260XXX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1

Watches of the Reference 3646 / Type D are featured in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.IV (page 398-531) including a historic photo of a “Kampfschwimmer” wearing a 3646 with brass dial on page 475. Brass dialed Ref. 3646 / Type D are featured on page 468-493). In this part of the book, an overview of different decorative polish on the inside of the caseback (Type A – Type G) can be found on page 486. A Ref. 3646 / Type D with painted brass dial is featured in our book “History1” in chapter III together with information about the first owner, a German “Kampfschwimmer”.

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.uhren-muser.com]

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Three columns of the Panerai DNA in auction at Phillips

by on Sep.25, 2016, under Allgemein

rahmen_bild_2016_1000x700_gwa4November will bring remarkable Vintage Panerai watches to auction. Phillips announced to have three columns of the Panerai DNA in their Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR.

A German “Kampfschwimmer” Ref. 3646 / Type D, used in the Second World War, has been introduced in our Watch Point here. This warbird with anonymous sandwich dial is one of the very few watches with original strap and pin buckle – unpolished and with quite some patina.

The “Maserati” amongst Vintage Panerai references because of its flat, elegant and streamlined case is introduced in our Watch Point here. This rare Ref. 6154 “Small Egiziano” with brown “Radiomir Panerai” dial is up for auction being a “collectors’ set”, including a Guido Panerai & Figlio depth gauge, underwater torch and replacement strap with “GPF – Mod. Dep.” pin buckle.

The third column of the Panerai DNA in the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR is a Ref. 6152/1 “Luminor Panerai” with Rolex movement and the legendary crown-protecting device from Panerai – an icon of the brand. Read more about this watch in our Watch Point here.

[Photos with kindly permission / courtesy of www.phillips.com]

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Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” @ Phillips GWA4

by on Sep.24, 2016, under Watch Point

rahmen_bild_hoch_2016_phillips_gwa4_3646dPhillips will feature a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” in their Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR. The watch is recorded in our database since 2006, when it was auctioned for the first time in Germany at Dr. Crott Auctioneers. By its inner and outer details it is representing a typical “Kampfschwimmer” watch with anonymous sandwich dial, onion shaped “Brevet +” crown (Type 11) and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

It appears to be one of only a few specimen which still have their original leather strap and original pin buckle. This particular watch is featured – in detail – in our new book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.IV (Ref. 3646 / Type D) on page 516-523 as well as in chapter V (Straps and Buckles) on page 678.

Further info on this watch (lot 152) can be found here.

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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One more 3646 / Type D with brass dial surfaced in the UK

by on Sep.18, 2016, under Allgemein

rahmen_bild_2016_1000x700_3646dbrassukIntroducing another piece of the puzzle – and one more surfaced in the United Kingdom: a Ref. 3646 / Type D with black painted brass dial and rare “Kampfschwimmer” engraving with initials of the first owner on its outer caseback. After more than 70 years the watch changed ownership once again and recently found a good new home at a Panerai collector from Germany, who provided the photo shown on the left.

The watch has been added into our database in March 2016 and comes with flat bezel (a typical feature of the watches with flat dials), onion shaped “Brevet +” crown (Type 11) and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement. The watch has never been polished and has still its original plexi, showing the typical traces of aging. The inner caseback is signed with the Rolex SA hallmark, reference and case number. A similar 3646 / Type D watch with flat bezel and black painted brass dial will be auctioned in Glasgow on September 23rd, 2016 at Great Western Auctions.

A Ref. 3646 / Type D watch with black painted brass dial is featured in our book “History1” in chapter III together with the history of its first owner, a German “Kampfschwimmer” who provided us very interesting information about his service, training and how some of these Panerai watches “changed ownership” during the time when he was a POW (prisoner of war) in the summer of 1945 (page 206-207).

Watches of the Reference 3646 / Type D are also featured in our new book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.IV (page 398-531) including a historic photo of a German “Kampfschwimmer” wearing a 3646 with brass dial on page 475.

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Ref. 3646 / Type D @ Great Western Auctions

by on Sep.18, 2016, under Watch Point

rahmen_bild_hoch_2016_gwaThe Great Western Auctions Ltd. (GWA) in Glasgow / United Kingdom is selling a Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous, black painted brass dial in their upcoming Fine Art & Antiques auction (Lot 237) on friday, September 23rd, 2016.

The 3646 / Type D is recorded in our database since August 2016. The watch features a typical Rolex 618 / Type 1 movement, flat bezel and an onion shaped “Brevet +” crown (Type 11), original leather strap and large, nickel-plated brass pin buckle. The outer caseback of the watch has no personal engravings of the first owner. The inner caseback (with full polish decoration) bears the typical Rolex SA hallmark, reference and case number known for 3646 / Type D watches.

Watches of the Reference 3646 / Type D are featured in our new “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.IV (page 398-531) including a historic photo of a German “Kampfschwimmer” wearing a 3646 with brass dial on page 475. Similar nickel-plated brass pin buckles of the WW2 era are featured in chapter V Straps and Buckles (page 677-685).

A similar watch with painted brass dial is featured in our book “History1” in chapter III together with information about the first owner, a German “Kampfschwimmer”.

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.greatwesternauctions.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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How to visualize a frogman’s pencil written diary from 1945?

by on Jul.09, 2016, under General

During the research on the history behind a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” with engraved caseback, we were able to study the diary of the first owner of the watch. This diary survived the last days of the Second World War and the veteran kept it for decades, willed to share it with us and partially featured in chapter II of our book “History2”.

Thanks to the many detailed descriptions (e.g. the water temperature, current, weather conditions and explosive charges carried) which the frogman wrote down and the examination of historical maps of the 1940’s it was possible to analyze his diary entries precisely and visualize his memories to the readers of our book in an impressive way. The collected documents and additional information let this chapter become one of the unique stories behind a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch.

History1_frontal_300x300Reading page 83 of “History1” reminds on a part of our research which did happened not often. The frogman wrote the following lines in his diary at the beginning of March 1945:

“The next morning we set off towards the east in a truck. With unbelievable power, the Russians have pushed thru as far as the [river] Oder in their last offensive. They even managed to build two bridgeheads at Fürstenberg [in November 1961 the city was renamed Eisenhüttenstadt]. Reconnaissance flights tell us that they are putting tremendous amounts of people and material into these bridgeheads”.

Reconnaissance flights? Having this information in mind, we started to search various archives for still existing aerial photographs – maybe the one which the frogmen mentioned in his diary still exists? After the war, some remaining photos were transferred to archives which stored these photos for bomb clearance works. Good luck on the hunt! Guess how easy this search would be? Where to start? To find a aerial photo from the same date, same area and even showing the target, not knowing if its existing at all? We found it – a needle in a haystack – the photo which was shown to the frogmen as their next target.

IMG_3659_600x600Dated to 1 March 1945, the photo taken by a reconnaissance flight shows one of the pontoon bridges built across the Oder by the Russian troops just shortly before – which became soon later the target for the “Keller Group” just as the frogman wrote it down in his diary. Read more on the diary and various historic documents which helped us to visualize this source of information during our research on a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch here.

The coffee table shot shows page 110-111, chapter II of “History2” next to one of the few original photos of the “Keller Group” taken shortly before their missions at the eastern front (spot some Panerai gear in it). This photo is published on page 94 in the same chapter. The coffee table shot includes also a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer”, featured in chapter V of “History2” – the watch of frogman Siegfried Köneke, who was also a member of the “Keller Group”. Read more about this chapter here.

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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Ref. 3646 / Type D @ Bonhams

by on Jun.09, 2016, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_2016_Bonhams_D_brass1Bonhams London will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial in their upcoming Fine Watches and Wristwatches sale on June, 22nd (Lot 76). The flat bezel, as well as the Rolex 618 / Type 1 movement in combination with the (full decorated) inner caseback, bearing the Rolex SA hallmark with reference and case number, are typical features of Ref. 3646 / Type D watches.

The watch is recorded in our database since October 2015. It is mentioned several times in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in the chronological classification on page 17, as well as in chapter II (page 44), chapter II.IV (page 401, 471) and chapter II.V (535-537), being the Ref. 3646 / Type D with the highest case number recorded in our database until today.

Rahmen_Bild_2016_Bonhams_D_brass2Noteworthy, this watch is another specimen found in the United Kingdom, where some watches were brought to as souvenirs from the Second World War by allied servicemen. After more than 70 years they re-emerge in different conditions, such as the watch up for auction at Bonhams.

A similar Ref. 3646 / Type D watch with painted brass dial is featured in our book “History1” in chapter III together with the history of its first owner, a German “Kampfschwimmer” who provided us very interesting information about his service, training and how some of these Panerai watches “changed ownership” during the time when he was a POW (prisoner of war) in the summer of 1945 (page 206-207).

We hope that this Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial will find a good new home and remains surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

[Photos with kindly permission / courtesy of www.bonhams.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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