Tag: “The References”

30 October 1940 – today in history…

by on Oct.30, 2017, under Allgemein

1940. The first mission against the Port of Gibraltar (B.G.1) was aborted when it became clear that the British fleet had already left for Operation “Menace”. The transport submersible Scirè under the command of Junio Valerio Borghese was still 50 nautical miles off Gibraltar. Disappointed, the SLC teams returned to their secret base at Bocca di Serchio, where they intensively discussed the feasibility of this type of attack. This happened at the same time when „Operazione G.A.2“ was about to end with the sinking of the transport submersible Gondar.

R_SMG_Scire_Crest_600x600Initial, decisive proof of the feasibility and the successful, secret penetration of enemy ports was achieved by Comandante Borghese and his men in mission B.G.2. Again, three SLCs were dispatched: Teseo Tesei with Alcide Pedretti, Luigi Durand de la Penne with Emilio Bianchi and Gino Birindelli with Damos Paccagnini.

The Scirè came into position at around 1.30 a.m. on 30 October 1940 in order to allow the SLC teams to disembark from the conning tower of the submersible. The Scirè only remained at the surface for a short time so that the three SLC teams could reach the cylindrical pods on the deck of the submersible. The Scirè then retreated back beneath the surface. Under water, the three teams manoeuvred their SLCs out from the pods and started their attack on the Port of Gibraltar. The three teams experienced problems almost as soon as the attack began. While Tesei and his co-pilot Pedretti had problems with their breathing apparatus, Durand de la Penne and his co-pilot Bianchi experienced problems with their electric engine. Both teams decided to abort the attack and sink their SLCs. However, only De la Penne managed to do this. Tesei’s SLC was washed up on the Spanish coast near La Linea and caused quite a stir among both the Spanish authorities and the British secret service. Both teams swam to the Spanish coast and were able to return safely to Italy with the help of the Italian secret service.

BG2_Gibraltar_600x600The fate of the entire operation now lay in the hands of Gino Birindelli and his co-pilot Damos Paccagnini. Unaware of the fact that their comrades-in-arms had already had to terminate their mission, they launched their attack on the Port of Gibraltar. Although mission B.G.2 was in principle a failure because not one enemy ship was sunk, Birindelli and his co-pilot Paccagnini were able to prove for the first time that a “maiale” was able to enter an enemy port unnoticed.

„Operazione B.G.2“ marked the start of a three year war that took place noiselessly and under water in the Bay of Gibraltar. For Gino Birindelli, however, the mission marked the start of a journey through Allied POW camps that would last many months. Read more on mission B.G.2 and the story of Gino Birindelli in our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s in chapter VIII.II on page 1014-1043.

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30 September 1940 – today in history…

by on Sep.30, 2017, under Allgemein

R_SMG_Gondar_Crest_600x600The afternoon of 30 September 1940 marks the end of the mission „Operazione G.A.2“. Just five weeks after the sinking of the Iride, the Gondar (photo: historic crest of the submarine, showing SLC containers on its deck) was the second transport submarine of the Mezzi d’Assalto to be sunk.

The submarine Gondar (built in 1937) under the command of Tenente di Vascello Francesco Brunetti was dispatched from La Spezia with Alexandria as her target. On board the Gondar was the officer-in-charge of mission G.A.2, Mario Giorgini, three SLC teams and a reserve team.

When the Gondar reached the target area on 29 September 1940, she received a sobering radio message from reconnaissance: The British fleet had left the Port of Alexandria – so mission G.A.2 was aborted. The Gondar headed now for Tobruk and was already on its return journey when it was discovered by the Australian destroyer, HMAS Stuart. A second destroyer, HMS Diamond and a corvette now tracked the Gondar throughout the night alongside HMAS Stuart.

R_SMG_Gondar_SeaD_600x600After hours of attempting to evade capture, the Gondar gave up in the early hours of 30 September 1940. Commander Brunetti gave the order to dive down and abandon the Gondar, which effectively saved his team and the SLC pilots from going down after being sunk by the mighty enemy. A British Sunderland flying boat bombarded the Gondar while the crew was already in the water – effectively sealing the fate of the second transport submersible for SLCs (see historic photos on the left). For one of the two inventors of the new weapon, Elios Toschi, this second journey was also to be his last. He was taken prisoner by the British alongside the crew of the Gondar and his comrades – “missione fallita”.

The launch of the new weapon appeared to be ill-fated: Two operations (G.A.1 and G.A.2) failed, two valuable transport submersibles had been sunk and four SLC teams and their officers-in-charge had been taken as prisoners of war. It was to take over a year until another attempt could be made to penetrate the Port of Alexandria in December 1941…

Read more about “The birth of a legend – the first Panerai watches (1935-1939)” in chapter I on page 34-39, followed by the timeline of the missions during the Second World War in chapter II.I on page 106-109. Mario Giorgini, officer-in-charge of the mission G.A.2 is also featured in the second volume of “The References” on page 1016-1022. The Gondar is also featured in our book “History1” in chapter IV on page 288-357.

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“The Admiral’s Watch” @ Phillips GWA6

by on Sep.25, 2017, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_hoch_2017_GWA6_209Phillips will feature a very rare Ref. 6152/1 “Luminor Panerai” in their Geneva Watch Auction: SIX, which will be held on Sunday, 12 November 2017.

It is one of very few existing Ref. 6152/1 watches with a rotating plexi bezel. Until today we have just four 6152/1 watches in our records that still feature such an additional rotating bezel – and one of them is the watch up for auction. The Rolex movement of the watch with “Luminor Panerai” dial is a typical Cal. 618 / Type 4 version with incabloc shock protection and 17 jewels. The watch came from the descendants of Admiral Gino Birindelli (1911 – 2008) and was auctioned for the first time only a few years ago at Sotheby’s in May 2014.

Further info on this watch (lot 209) can be found here.

heritage_696_birindelliWhat makes this watch special for us:
During the 2nd world war, Birindelli was a SLC pilot in the very early missions of the Mezzi d’Assalto against Alexandria (G.A.1) and Gibraltar (B.G.1 and B.G.2) in 1940. He was in fact the first SLC pilot who entered an enemy harbor with his device in the night of 30 October 1940, for which he was awarded with the gold medal for galantry at war (M.O.V.M.). Birindelli survived being a prisoner of war from October 1940 to March 1944. After the 2nd world war his career in the Italian Navy continued and became quite unique. Birindelli was commander of the Incursori (COMSUBIN) from 26 September 1948 to 30 April 1950, once again from 1 May 1954 to 5 June 1956. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1959, headed the I Divisione Navale as well as the fleet command (Comandante in Capo della Squadra Navale). Gino Birindelli headed the Allied naval forces in southern Europe before he retired in December 1973 in the rank of Ammiraglio di Squadra. Read more on Admiral Gino Birindelli here.

heritage_1392_birindelli_1012-1013

The watch of Admiral Gino Birindelli and the unique story behind his career can be read in our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s (chapter VIII.II, page 1006 to 1043).

We hope that this remarkable 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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21 August 1940 – today in history…

by on Aug.21, 2017, under Allgemein

R_Somm_Iride_600x600Gulf of Bomba (Lybia). In August 1940, the time had finally come to put the new SLC weapon to the test. Alexandria in the eastern Mediterranean was the main base of the British Mediterranean fleet. The battleships at anchor there were the first targets for missions of the Mezzi d’Assalto involving the SLCs.

The transport submersible Iride, under the command of Tenente di Vascello Francesco Brunetti, prepared for its tour of duty with the SLCs on 21 August 1940, ready to attack the Port of Alexandria in the night of 25/26 August 1940. Eleven servicemen with four SLCs aboard the torpedo boat Calipso were dispatched to the Gulf of Bomba on the Libyan coast. There, the SLCs were tested at held ready for departure until they were ready to launch mission G.A.1 a few days later with the submersible Iride.

GA1_Iride_Bomba_Bay2_600x600Right at the start of its test run, however, the submersible Iride was spotted by three Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers, which had launched from the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. The enemy bombers began their attack straight away (see historic map on the left).

The shallow water in the Gulf of Bomba prevented the Iride from descending quickly. Instead, it attempted to ward off the attack at full speed with its anti-aircraft cannons. At the same time, Brunetti tried in vain to direct the bow of the submersible towards the attackers in order to reduce the area of the Iride exposed to attack. However, the Iride was soon hit by a torpedo and sank. The boats quickly dispatched to the scene managed to rescue some of the shipwrecked crew members from the Iride. A dramatic race against time began.

GA1_Iride_Birindelli_600x600 The SLC teams under Gino Birindelli (right in the photo), Teseo Tesei, Elios Toschi, Luigi Durand de la Penne and Emilio Bianchi dived straight down to the wreck of the Iride in order to save the survivors who were trapped down there. Although the equipment belonging to the SLC pilots on board the Iride was lost, but the three SLCs were recovered for use in later missions. The SLCs pilots returned to the Bocca di Serchio on board the Calipso.

During the rescue of the survivors from the Iride, they had pushed themselves to the very limit of what was humanly possible. Loss of human life and equipment was the sobering result of the first mission „Operazione G.A.1“ with the new weapon of the Mezzi d’Assalto.

Read more on Gino Birindelli, one of the surviving SLC teams, in chapter VIII.II on page 1014-1043 or click also here. More information on the historic content in our “The References” book set can be found here. Read about the featured watches from Guido Panerai & Figlio in the first and second volume here.

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25 July 1941 – today in history…

by on Jul.25, 2017, under Allgemein

Giobbe_Malta_600x600Augusta (Sicily) 11 pm. The night of 25 July 1941 marks the beginning of the “Operazione Malta 1”, known by its disastrous result for the Mezzi d’Assalto, only three months after the first successful attack with MT explosive boats against British ships in Souda Bay (Crete) on 26 March 1941. One day later, in the early morning of 26 July 1941, the Decima MAS lost the head of the flotilla (Capitano di Fregata Vittorio Moccagatta), the head of explosive boats (Capitano di Corvetta Giorgio Giobbe), the doctor of the flotilla (Tenente Medico Bruno Falcomatà), SLC pilots (including their inventor, Teseo Tesei) and MT explosive boats pilots during the attack of the harbour of La Valetta (Malta).

Giobbe_Panerai_600x600On a side note of the history, the commander of the explosive boats / “Mezzi di Superficie”, Giorgio Giobbe (1906-1941), is well known for wearing his Panerai watch on his right wrist in a photo taken prior the mission against Malta (see page 111-115 in chapter II.I). More about missions and watches of the Decima MAS can be found here.

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 can be found here. Read about the featured watches from Guido Panerai & Figlio in the first and second volume here.

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Summer Read – “back to the fifties and sixties”

by on Jun.13, 2017, under Allgemein

IMG_3811_600x600How about taking a seat in your frontyard, backyard or in a quiet corner of your garden? If your coffee table has a free corner for one of our four books, it could be a cozy time for a summer read:

“History1” – four chapters, 420 pages
“History2” – five chapters, 480 pages
“The References” 1930’s-1940’s – five chapters, 696 pages
“The References” 1950’s-1960’s – seven chapters, 696 pages

The coffee table shot shows the book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s, with the famous “8 GIORNI BREVETTATO” symbol embossed into the green canvas hardcover, on the right. The 696 pages feature watches from Guido Panerai & Figlio made in the 1950’s and 1960’s: Reference 6152, 6154, 6152/1, GPF 2/56 and modified References. Furthermore this book holds a chapter about compasses and depth gauges, as well as straps and buckles of this era.

All books are in stock and can be shipped soon – just visit our bookstore. Use the browse by tags function to read information about the content in each of the four books. Read how to place your order here.

Take a seat and enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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Evolution.

by on Feb.18, 2017, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2017_1000x700_evolutionThe evolution of Vintage Panerai watches from Guido Panerai & Figlio from the 1930’s to the 1960’s can be symbolized in a photo like the one shown here: from a cusion shaped case with soldered lugs and an onion shaped crown to a much stronger, massive case with solid lugs and the legendary crown-protecting device.

The early References 2533 (chapter I) and 3646 (chapter II) are explained and with rich reference to several variants by their number groups in the first volume “The References” 1930’s-1940’s. This overview is complimented by the legendary Mare Nostrum chronograph (chapter III), rare compasses (chapter IV) used in the Second World War and some of the few straps and buckles which rarely survived after more than 70 years (chapter V). Find information about the content of our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s by using the “browse by tag” function. The tag 696 is connected with all stories published about the first volume: watches, history, instruments and straps of the 1930’s-1940’s.

“The References” 1950’s-1960’s features numerous images and historic information on Vintage Panerai watches from the 1950’s to 1960’s. The References 6152 (chapter VI) and 6154 (chapter VII), are followed by Reference 6152/1 with the famous crown-protecting device are explained in detail and many variations in chapter VIII. Followed by the Reference GPF 2/56 with Angelus movement (chapter IX), “The References” 1950’s-1960’s features in chapter X the Modified References 3646, Transitional 3646 and Modified Reference 6152/1. Chapter XI is about compasses and depth gauges, followed by the last chapter XII, an overview of the straps and buckles used on watches and instruments from Guido Panerai & Figlio in this era. Find information about the content of our book “The References” 1950’s-1960’s by using the “browse by tag” function. The tag 1392 is connected with all stories published about the second volume: watches, history, instruments and straps of the 1950’s-1960’s.

Rahmen_Bild_2017_1000x700_spine“The References” 1930’s-1940’s
Embossed hardback jacket (leather and canvas), slipcase,
696 pages, five chapters, trilingual
(German, English and Italian language)

“The References” 1950’s-1960’s
Embossed hardback jacket (leather and canvas), slipcase,
696 pages, seven chapters, trilingual
(German, English and Italian language)

The spine of our both “The References” books are embossed with the symbols of evolution, just like the first photo above shows it at a glance: from a cusion shaped case with soldered lugs and an onion shaped crown (“The References” 1930’s-1940’s) to a much stronger, massive case with solid lugs and the legendary crown-protecting device (“The References” 1950’s-1960’s). Visit our bookstore and enjoy reading soon!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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18 December 1941 – today in history…

by on Dec.18, 2016, under Allgemein

After the failed missions in August and September 1940, the Decima MAS returned to the eastern Mediterranean in order to make a second attemp to attack the Harbour of Alexandria with SLC devices of the Mezzi d’Assalto.

img_0628_600x600What turned out to be one of the most famous SLC missions in the Second World War has been announced in the Italian War Bulletin N. 585 of the 8th of January 1942: “On the night of the 18th December assault craft of the Italian Royal Navy entered the Harbour of Alexandria and attacked two British battleships anchored there. It has only just been confirmed that a battleship of the Valiant class was seriously damaged and put inito dock for repairs, and is still there.”

Bulletin N. 586 of the 9th of January 1942, added the following: “In the Operation conducted by assault craft fo the Royal Italian Navy in the Harbour of Alexandria and reported in yesterday’s Bulletin we now have definite further intelligence that, in Addition to the Valiant, a second battleship of the Barham class was also damaged.”

Winston Churchill announced in a speech before a secret session of the House of Commons on the 23rd of April 1942: “A further sinister stroke was to come. On the early morning of December 19 half a dozen Italians in unusual diving suits were captured floundering about in the Harbour of Alexandria… Four hours later explosions occurred in the bottoms of the Valiant and the Queen Elizabeth, produced by limpet bombs fixed with extra-ordinary courage and ingenuity, the effect which was to blow large holes in the bottoms of both ships and to flood several compartments, thus putting them both out of Actions for many months…”

Read chapter II.I of our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s to find out what happened on 18 December 1941. More on the historic content in our “The References” book set with a total of 1392 pages can be found here and here. You can purchase “The References” 1930’s-1940’s  in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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A lot to read during the holiday season…

by on Dec.10, 2016, under Allgemein

rahmen_bild_2016_x-mas_8474_1000x700Read about watches and instruments from Guido Panerai & Figlio. Vintage Panerai watches from the 1930’s to the 1960’s are described and photographed in intricate detail for the reader, telling the stories of their first users during their dangerous underwater missions.

“History1” (420 pages)
“History2” (480 pages)
“The References” 1930’s-1940’s (696 pages)
“The References” 1950’s-1960’s (696 pages)

As a reference finder, as an addition to your library at home or as a special christmas gift for your friends: our Vintage Panerai books will be a great read for any Panerai collector. Each book comes with an embossed hardback jacket (leather and canvas) in a slipcase, sized 10.2 x 10.2″, trilingual (= German, Italian and English language).

Our four books are in stock and can be shipped immediately – just visit our bookstore. Use the browse by tags function to get further information about the content in each of the four books. Read how to place your order here.

Take your seat and enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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One reference, seven variations: The 3646 / Type A-G

by on Oct.12, 2016, under Allgemein

img_0072_600x600_roesel More 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, seven 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-G).

In our new 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. The coffee table shot on the left shows one of seven specimen of the Ref. 3646 / Type C, introduced on page 322-349. Read also the extensively documented story of Helmut Rösel, first owner of this watch, in chapter IX of our book “History2”. Each of the seven variations of the reference 3646 are published here:

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).

img_0067_600x600_bullinAside numerous photos and technical illustrations of these 30 different watches, we have also published several yet unreleased historic photos of frogmen wearing watches of the reference 3646 during the Second World War.

One of these rare photos shows “Kampfschwimmer” Werner Bullin on page 275 in chapter II.III, wearing his 3646 with “Radiomir Panerai” dial. The coffee table shot on the left shows this photo which was taken at Piazza San Marco / Venice in summer 1944. Another rare photo has been introduced earlier here. Read the extensively documented story of Werner Bullin and Heinz Günter Lehmann over the 75 pages of chapter I in our book “History1”.

The new “The References” books can be ordered only in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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