• Sale 1348

    Important Pocket Watches and Wristwatches

    12 November 2007, Geneva

  • Lot 321

    Rolex made for Officine Panerai. An extremely rare, large and attractive stainless steel water-resistant diver's wristwatch with black lacquer "California" dial

    SIGNED RADIOMIR PANERAI AND MONTRES ROLEX S.A., REF. 3646, CASE NO. 260719, MANUFACTURED IN 1943

    Price Realised  

    Rolex made for Officine Panerai. An extremely rare, large and attractive stainless steel water-resistant diver's wristwatch with black lacquer "California" dial
    Signed Radiomir Panerai and Montres Rolex S.A., ref. 3646, case no. 260719, manufactured in 1943
    Rolex cal. 618 16''' nickel-finished lever movement, 17 jewels, the black lacquer dial with luminous Roman numerals to the upper half and luminous Arabic numerals to the lower half, luminous hands, in large cushion-shaped water-resistant-type case with screw back, screw down crown, wire lugs, large stainless steel buckle stamped GPF, case and movement signed Rolex
    47 mm. wide


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    The present watch is from the very early series of reference 3646, fitted with a Rolex dial also known as the "California dial", coated with half Arabic and half Roman numerals on black lacquer background. Panerai equipped watches with these dials and also with their own "Radiomir" dials consisting of two discs, the upper black one with cut-out numerals. These "sandwich" dials were thicker than the Rolex version and consequently, the bezels had to be changed against a deeper type (see the previous lots). In fact, the bezel of the present watch is flatter than the version with "Radiomir" dials.

    According to tradition, a small group of such "California" dial ref. 3646 watches were intended to be presented to high ranking Navy officials during a ceremony. However, likely due to the turmoil of the war, the delivery never took place and the watches were forgotten in a warehouse. Rediscovered only decades later, these watches remained unused and are spectacular witnesses to the history of Panerai. The present watch is believed to be from this group of watches.

    Special Notice

    On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in lots consigned for sale which may include guaranteeing a minimum price or making an advance to the consignor that is secured solely by consigned property. This is such a lot. This indicates both in cases where Christie's holds the financial interest on its own, and in cases where Christie's has financed all or a part of such interest through a third party. Such third parties generally benefit financially if a guaranteed lot is sold successfully and may incur a loss if the sale is not successful.
    Prospective buyers should be aware that the importation of Rolex watches into the United States is highly restricted. Rolex watches may not be shipped into the USA and can only be imported personally. Generally a buyer may import only one watch into the USA. For further information please contact our specialists in charge of the sale. Please note other countries may have comparable import restrictions for luxury watches.