Tag: “Radiomir Panerai”

“Like Men From Mars!”

by on Jan.21, 2018, under Allgemein

In addition to the story published at Fellows and wornandwound.com about the Ref. 3646 / Type C watch, which Sgt. George W. Rowson brought home from his service in the 43rd (Wessex) Reconnaissance Regiment, we have gathered some information about the attemp of twelve German “Kampfschwimmer” units (three teams of four) to attack both bridges across the river Waal at Nijmegen in the night of 28/29 September, 1944. The first team was sent to attack the railroad bridge, the second and third team to attack the road bridge.

The story of Sgt. Rowson’s “Radiomir Panerai” is matching with information on the capture of both, second and third team which failed to attack the road bridge of Nijmegen. These eight “Kampfschwimmer” units (of which one of them belonged the Ref. 3646 / Type C) were: Orlowski, Ohrdorf, Weber, Schmidt, Kolbruch, Dyck, Gebel and Halwelka (two KIA, six POW).

Rahmen_Bild_2018_1000x700_Nijmegen_drawingThe caption of a drawing by War Artist Captain Bryan de Grineau of the British Army in Holland, to which we give our credits, published in an undated British newspaper (part of a collection of documents, provided to us by German frogmen veteran Karl-Heinz Kiefer during our research of the book “History1”) reads as the following:

“Like men from Mars! Amphibious German assault troops captured near Nijmegen, presenting a fantastic appearance in skin-tight rubber suits, extraordinary rubber flappers, rubber skull-caps, and oxygen masks. The whole denoted a daring night attemp to blow up the Nijmegen bridges, the men being detected struggeling upstream in the early morning.”

Furthermore, in this interesting story, the attack of the two Nijmegen bridges, with a focus on the attack of the road bridge (located around 500 metres before the railroad bridge) is written below:

“One of the most daring enemy acts of the war was an attempt on the night of September 28 to blow up the Nijmegen railroad and road bridges spanning the Waal. If successful it would have cut communications between the British troops each side of the river. The men selected for the task – twelve in all – were first-class swimmers who underwent three months special training at Venice. They wore rubber skull-caps, rubber skin-tight suits, and paddle-shaped rubber flaps attached to their boots, which enabled them to cut through the water downstream with remarkable speed. They were also equipped with rubber masks which enabled them to swim long distances under water, being connected with oxygen flasks. Entering the Waal 17.5 miles above Nijmegen at night, they carried three floating charges of powerful Hexanite explosive, each like a twin torpedo, and split up into three parties, one making for the railway bridge, the other two for the road bridge, each charge provided with a time fuse. They were nearly successful but the strength of the eight-knot current prevented them from fixing the charges quite successfully. They made the mistake of swimming back upcurrent. After covering 6.25 miles exhaustion forced them to rest in the shallows. British soldiers saw them and fired, killing two. The remainder surrendered. Our War Artist at Nijmegen illustrates the prisoners coming in. The first charge exploded by the road bridge, doing little damage, the second was heroically rendered harmless by a naval lieutenant who dived under the bridge.”

An interesting photoof the attacked railroad bridge (dated 30 September 1944), attacked by the first group of four German “Kampfschwimmer” units (Bretschneider, Jäger, Olle and Wolchendorf), can be found in the archives of the Imperial War Museum here. Only Bretschneider and Jäger returned to their lines, while Olle and Wolchendorf were caught after the attack and became POW.

Another small but interesting detail (in terms of the Panerai watches worn by the frogmen of the second and third team) of the well documented attack of the Nijmegen bridges, can be read in the book “The Frogmen” by Waldron & Gleeson, published 1954 and part of our library, on page 119:

“The minutes ticked by as the other eight swimmers sat huddled on the bank conversing in low tones, and glancing often at the luminous dials of their underwater watches. When the time came, they put on their oxygen sets and slipped quietly into the water.”

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First 2018 “new entry” in our records: a Ref. 3646 / Type C

by on Jan.20, 2018, under Allgemein

wornandwound.com published a Ref. 3646 / Type C  watch and its interesting history behind earlier this week. The Vintage Panerai watch with “Radiomir Panerai” dial and Rolex 618 / Type 1 movement marks the first “new entry” in our database in 2018, being another piece of the puzzle added into our records of today known Ref. 3646 / Type C watches. The “Radiomir Panerai” with deep red numbers and markers, blued hands, remaining original strap and nickel-plated brass pin buckle will be auctioned at Birmingham (UK) based Fellows on 30 January, 2018 (lot 188). Read more in their blog here.

In our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s the watches of the entire reference 3646 are featured in chapter II with more than six hundred pages in the chapters II.I-II.VII. The seven different variations (including the number group 3646 / Type C – page 248-397 – to which this watch belongs) can be found in our reference quickfinder on page 14-20. Pin buckles like the remaining one which comes with this watch are featured in chapter V (page 677-691).

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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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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Sotheby’s New York will auction an engraved Ref. 3646 / Type B

by on Nov.14, 2017, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2017_3646_B_Sothebys05Sotheby’s will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type B with “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial, Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement and engraved caseback (lot 946) in their New York auction Important Watches on 6 December 2017. Read more about the history behind this 3646, which carries you back to the last days of the Second World War at the river Elbe, here in our watch point.

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

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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.

preview_Roesel_824-825
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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#solderedlugsunday

by on Aug.13, 2017, under Allgemein

3646_Type_C_Radiomir_600x600More than two hundred watches of the Reference 3646 are registered in our database today. Among all different Vintage Panerai models, the 3646 marks the reference with the most known specimen in our records. In 2009, eight years ago, 143 recorded watches were featured in the first (sold out) edition of our book “The References”. Within the entire serial number sequence of the reference 3646, we differentiate between seven different variations (3646 / Type A – Type G). The photo on the left shows a Ref. 3646 / Type C with “Radiomir Panerai” dial, which is featured in chapter II.III (page 306-321).

In our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s the watches of the entire reference 3646 are featured in chapter II with more than six hundred pages in the chapters II.I-II.VII following an intro on page 40-49. The seven different variations can be found in our reference quickfinder on page 14-20.

Chapter II.I = Reference 3646 / Type A
(featuring two different watches on page 50-169).

Chapter II.II = Reference 3646 / Type B
(featuring four different watches on page 170-247).

Chapter II.III = Reference 3646 / Type C
(featuring seven different watches on page 248-397).

Chapter II.IV = Reference 3646 / Type D
(featuring nine different watches on page 398-531).

Chapter II.V = Reference 3646 / Type E
(featuring four different watches on page 532-573).

Chapter II.VI = Reference 3646 / Type F
(featuring two different watches on page 574-607).

Chapter II.VII = Reference 3646 / Type G
(featuring two different watches on page 608-645).

See the different inner casebacks of Ref. 3646 / Type A – Type C watches here, as well as the inner casebacks of Ref. 3646 / Type D – Type G watches here. Enjoy reading!

Our “The Reference” books are available in our bookstore.

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New in our database: A Ref. 3646 / Type B “Radiomir Panerai”

by on May.24, 2017, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2017_3646_B_RP1Another Ref. 3646 / Type B watch with “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial has been added into our database. The actual owner of the watch provided us further information on the first owner with the very rare ID of the german frogman Robert E., dating back to the last months of the Second World War.

The watch appears with its original leather strap and nickel-plated brass pin buckle. The inner caseback bears the typical Rolex hallmark, case and reference number, known in watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type B as well as the Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement. The initial Rolex screw-down crown has been replaced with the crown mounted on the watch, shown in the actual photos.

Rahmen_Bild_2017_3646_B_RP2At the age of 17, Robert E. posted to the Kommando der Kleinkampfverbände in February 1945. He took part at a special training course for frogmen and divers, held at a small Danish Island (see page 203 of our book “History1”) documented in his ID by the stamp “Kampfschwimmer- und Tauchlehrgang”.
Another signature in his ID is showing a stamp of the Kampfschwimmergruppe Ost (eastern combat swimmer group), to which he was posted after the training, dating back to April 1945.

A very interesting supplementary note can be found in his ID, hand written below the field post number: Ausgabe einer Dienstarmbanduhr Modell “Radiomir” confirming that a diving watch was issued to him for duty, even more mentioning the particular model being a “Radiomir”.

Rare documentation, such as an ID of a frogman, providing interesting information about which ways these watches took many years ago. Thanks to the owner for providing the additional info aside the details of the watch, being a new entry in our Vintage Panerai database!

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One more engraved Ref. 3646 / Type B with “Radiomir Panerai” dial surfaced

by on Mar.20, 2017, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2017_3646_C_rpd_KS_2You never know how long it takes until a “new”, yet unknown watch surface after many years. This happened quickly twice in the last weeks, with another addition into our database in shape of a Ref. 3646 / Type B with “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial and completely engraved “Kampfschwimmer” caseback.

Different to the Ref. 3646 / Type C with riveted plastic dial introduced earlier here (which included a month-lasting research for the family of the frogman), this rare Ref. 3646 / Type B “Radiomir Panerai” watch was introduced to us by the grandson of the frogman. Complete with the original strap and nickel-plated brass buckle, the watch with the small Oyster Watch Co hallmark on its inner caseback appears after 72 years with the original domed plexiglas, onion shaped “Brevet +” crown (Type 11) and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2017_3646_B_HE_2The caseback of the watch bears the initials “HE” of the first owner. The frogman belonged to the “Einsatzgruppe Heyden” which is engraved around the word “Kampfschwimmer” and the year of service, 1945. Lieutenant-Commander Günter Heyden was a founding member of the newly formed German commando frogmen (Kommando Spezialkräfte Marine) in the 1950’s.

The watch is accompanied with historic photos of the veteran as well as a very rare pay book (silmiar to only two others known which are made of the same material, see page 138 in our book “History1”) and which was issued to the members of the “Lehrkommando 700″ in the last months of the Second World War. Not enough rarity, there is a swordfish probation insignia (see page 802-804 in our book “History2”) and a nose clip which was used by the frogmen during the use of a small breathing apparatus (without face mask, see page 671 of our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s and page 718 of our book “History2”).

Watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type B are featured in our book “The References” (first volume / 1930’s-1940’s) in chapter II.II on page 170-247.

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Surfaced after 72 years: one more Ref. 3646 / Type C with riveted plastic dial

by on Mar.19, 2017, under Allgemein

When we started to search for the veteran at the beginning of 2017, we could not know wether the search would be successful or not (like many times before). We knew the frogman only by his name, featured in battlefield reports since the mid 1950’s several times, and we knew the city in Germany where he lived after the end of the Second World War.

When we virtually knocked at his door, nobody was there to open anymore. With a big portion of luck and the cooperation of his family, we connected a few months later to finally ask his family some questions, which the veteran himself was sadly not able to answer anymore. We provided some photos of the German “Kampfschwimmer” from 1944 and 1945 to the family, which they had never seen before, but which were part of our records since several years.

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2017_3646_C_rpd_KSRecently we got photos of the Vintage Panerai watch, which the frogman stored in a safe place before the war was over and before he became a POW of the British. Before we saw the first photos, our “wild guess” was, that it could be a Ref. 3646 / Type D. But the soon later arrived photos of the dial let us think it might be an earlier version: a 3646 with riveted plastic dial. Maybe it would be a Ref. 3646 / Type B like most of the watches with such dials are recorded? The final proof to which number group it belongs to, was the look onto the inner caseback of the watch: a Ref. 3646 / Type C with Rolex SA hallmark in the center and a seven digit number underneath the reference number 3646. So, one more piece of the Vintage Panerai puzzle added in shape of a Ref. 3646 / Type C with riveted plastic dial.

The remarkable “untouched” condition, since it was keepsake for the veteran and has remained in the possession of the frogman’s family during all these years (72 years, to be exactly), can be pointed out by the fact that the watch has still the original leather strap sewn onto the soldered lugs of the cushion shaped case and the nickel-plated brass buckle (in the typical “bottle opener” shape with sharp edges) as well as a Rolex 618 / Type 1 movement with details known in more than 90% of all recorded watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type C in our database. The still complete luminous material on the blued steel hands can be rarely found on watches of this age, as well as the original domed plexi and the onion shaped crown (“Brevet +” / Type 11). More about watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type C can be found in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s on page 248-397 in chapter II.III.

We hope that the watch remains as a keepsake for the family and maybe the veteran’s grandchildren enjoy wearing it in the future. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Ref. 3646 / Type C @ Bonhams

by on Dec.03, 2016, under Watch Point

rahmen_bild_2016_1000x700_bonhams_c_rpBonhams London will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type C with “Radiomir Panerai” dial in their upcoming Fine Watches and Wristwatches sale on December, 14th (Lot 88). The high bezel, as well as the Rolex 618 / Type 1 movement in combination with the half polished inner caseback, bearing the Rolex SA hallmark with reference and case number, are typical features of Ref. 3646 / Type C watches.

The watch is recorded in our database since November 2016. Watches of the Ref. 3646 / Type C are featured in our book “The References” (first volume / 1930’s-1940’s) in chapter II.III (page 248-397). A watch with a similar shaped crown neck can be found on page 306-321. A chart on different decorative polish styles on the inside of casebacks on Ref. 3646 / Type A – G watches can be found on page 486 in chapter II.IV.

Additional Bonhams lot details / salesroom notices on Lot 88:
17-jewel manual wind movement, matte black sandwich dial with baton hour markers and Arabic numeral quarters, blued steel pointed baton hands with luminous inserts, polished cushion form case with screw down back, screw down crown, fixed wire lugs, fitted brown leather strap with polished buckle, together with Panerai Certificate of Authenticity, case and movement signed Rolex, dial signed Panerai 47mm. Please note this watch does not have a sandwich dial. The dial is inserted with luminous material.

We hope that this Ref. 3646 / Type C with “Radiomir Panerai” 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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