Tag: “Kampfschwimmer”

From tool watch to war souvenir – the journey of a 3646

by on Nov.25, 2017, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2017_3646_B_Sothebys07Only a few days until the Important Watches auction of Sotheby’s New York will start. We have published earlier some information about the Ref. 3646 / Type B (lot 946) with “Radiomir Panerai” dial here, which will be part of this sale.

Since we got additional information about the second owners’ history, we see also a well travelled piece of time to find a new owner. Switzerland, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada (for the most part of its existence) and now an “interstation” in New York City at Sotheby’s. Which route will this Vintage Panerai watch take after the auction is over? We don’t know it for now, and maybe we will never see it again… However, it would be great to see it on a collector’s wrist in the future, since this watch has a lot more to tell than just the time.

By the support of the second owner’s family we received some additional information from the time when this watch changed its function from tool watch into a war souvenir in April 1945. Part of the documentation is an excerpt from the Coldstream Guards regimental diary. It contains details of their tanks crossing the bridge and significantly one of the few references to Tesperhude. This diary tells us after many years: “No.3 Sqn after concentrating at 834362 waited until 1600 hrs. before they were called forward to Tesperhude 802383 where they spent the night.”

preview_Roesel_826-827
Rahmen_Bild_2017_3646_B_Sothebys06Tesperhude, a small town at the north bank of the river Elbe, made our eyebrows lift when we read this part of the regimental diary. Since we were hunting for historic maps of this area in Germany, we remembered Tesperhude featured on the map which we published on page 826-827 in our book “History2” (see above) together with information about the crossing of the river Elbe by allied forces at the end of April, 1945.

We don’t know anything about the fate of the “Kampfschwimmer” who used this watch in this area where he was sent for duty, as we don’t know it on so many other watches of which all the history behind got lost in the last decades. We don’t know if he survived his mission and became a POW shortly after. We don’t know if the frogman was KIA and the watch was just discovered by those who guarded a bridge. Maybe he was just happy to survive and gave away his diving watch to a sentry who treated him well or maybe he swapped it for something he needed more than a watch then. And maybe he crossed the river Elbe on his way to an allied POW camp on the very same pontoon bridge which he just tried to attack a few days before? All these questions can never be answered. But: The text engraved on the backside of this Ref. 3646 / Type B (even for the fact that Tesperhude was engraved like vocalized Tespahude) let this watch speak a little about what happened, where, when and why.

Captain_Coltart_17_March_1945Again, we express our special thanks to the descendants of Captain Coltart who provided us information on the Ref. 3646 / Type B and its story behind. We even received a photo of Captain Coltart and his bride taken on March 17, 1945 – just before his return to the front. This makes it for us even more special to be able to put a face behind an (engraved) name. He made it home and he carried this watch back from the front – as a war souvenir.

Switzerland, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, United States – which way will this Vintage Panerai watch go into the future? Will we ever see it again?

We hope that this watch will find a good new home and remains surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Two “Watches with History” @ Phillips GWA6

by on Sep.26, 2017, under Allgemein

canvas210Phillips will auction two Vintage Panerai watches on Sunday, 12 November 2017 during their Geneva Watch Auction: SIX. Lot 209 is a Ref. 6152/1 “Luminor Panerai” and Lot 210 is a Ref. 3646 / Type C “Kampfschwimmer” (photo).

Read more on both “Watches with History” in our Watch Point. Lot 209 is featured in our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s – more info here. Lot 210 is featured in our book “History2” – more info here.

[Photo with kindly permission / courtesy of www.phillips.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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Found: another Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer”

by on Jun.29, 2017, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2017_1000x700_3646_D_KS1Introducing another piece of the puzzle – and one more surfaced in Germany: a Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous sandwich dial and rare “Kampfschwimmer” engraving with initials of the first owner and year of service (1945) on its outer caseback. The watch is accompanied with matching paperwork of the first owner, dating back to 1944, as well as a small compass.

The watch has been added into our database in early May 2017 and appears with high bezel (a typical feature of the watches with sandwich dials), onion shaped “Brevet +” crown (Type 11) and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement. The watch has never been polished and still has its original “volcano dome” plexi as well as the original leather strap and large, nickel-plated brass pin buckle. The blued steel hands still hold their complete luminous material. The inner caseback is signed with the Rolex SA hallmark, reference and case number.

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2017_700x1000_3646_D_KS2Watches of the Reference 3646 / Type D are featured in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.IV (page 398-531). Small compasses are featured in chapter IV (where a similar version is shown on page 672-675). Chapter V holds information on straps and buckles (page 679-685 featuring the “bottle opener” shaped pin buckles).

Thanks to the owner who provided information for our database.
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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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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