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    Sale 1348

    Important Pocket Watches and Wristwatches

    12 November 2007, Geneva

  • Lot 319

    Rolex made for Officine Panerai. An extremely rare and large stainless steel water-resistant diver's wristwatch with early unsigned dial, probably made for German Navy's Special Forces

    SIGNED RADIOMIR PANERAI AND MONTRES ROLEX S.A., REF. 3646, CASE NO. 260603, MANUFACTURED IN 1943

    Price Realised  

    Rolex made for Officine Panerai. An extremely rare and large stainless steel water-resistant diver's wristwatch with early unsigned dial, probably made for German Navy's Special Forces
    Signed Radiomir Panerai and Montres Rolex S.A., ref. 3646, case no. 260603, manufactured in 1943
    Rolex cal. 618 16''' nickel-finished lever movement, 17 jewels, the dial consisting of two discs, the lower one coated with a luminous substance visible through the cut out Arabic and baton numerals in the black matte upper disc, luminous hands, in large cushion-shaped water-resistant-type case with screw back, screw down crown, wire lugs, large stainless steel buckle, case and movement signed Rolex
    47 mm. wide


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    The present watch is from the so-called "no name" series with blank dial, generally reserved for the German Navy's Special Forces. It furthermore stands out by its lesser known type of leather strap and the unusual buckle, probably both precursors to the later final version.

    For a detailed description and illustration of such watches see Military Timepieces by Konrad Knirim, pp. 271 - 277.

    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.


    Pre-Lot Text

    Rolex made for Officine Panerai Reference 3646
    In the 1930s and following disappointing tests carried out on watches available at that time, the Royal Italian Navy approached Panerai with the request of designing a watch resistant to extreme conditions while at the same time keeping exact time. The prototype which Panerai submitted to the First Submarine Group Command was called "Radiomir" and passed all tests successfully.

    Consequently as of 1938 until the 1950s, small series of reference 3646 watches were produced, mainly for the Italian Navy. The models were fitted with hand-wound movements and waterproof cases supplied by Rolex, the dials consisted of two discs, a lower one coated with "Radiomir" luminous substance visible through the cut out numerals in the black upper disc, enabling the easy reading in the dark or under water. The large cushion-shaped cases had a diameter of 47 mm, wire lugs and a screw-down crown.

    The selection of diver's watches in this collection comprises three different versions of the celebrated reference 3646.