The present watch is a fine example of the very rare and much sought-after vintage Panerai reference 6152-1, which at the time was supplied to the Italian navy. Reference 6152-1 was made with or without Panerai's classic crown guard with locking lever. The watch on offer here has the simple Rolex crown without crown guard, is correctly fitted with a Rolex movement and shows the rounded band typically found on this particular reference.
Rolex made for Officine Panerai References 6152 and 6152-1
Following a decade of successful production of reference 3646, the Italian Navy requested an improved and updated version of their diver's wristwatch. Sometime in the mid-1940s, the new reference 6152 was presented, more solid and with increased water-resistance, its case made out of one massive block of steel and with wider, downturned lugs replacing the less solid wire lugs.
This upgraded model was entered under reference numbers 6152 and 6152/1, predominantly known as the "Luminor". This designation was derived from the luminous substance based on tritium used for the numerals and hands and for which Panerai obtained the patent in 1949. It replaced the previously used "Radiomir" mix developed between 1910 and 1915. Early examples of reference 6152 still feature the "Radiomir Panerai" signed dials dating from before the introduction of "Luminor". Most of the models were fitted with a crown protecting bridge, invented by Panerai as early as 1943 but patented only in 1956. Its main functions were protecting the crown from shocks, compressing the sealing gasket with the lever to make the watch water-resistant to a depth of 200 meters while allowing the winding of the movement even when submerged.
For the majority of reference 6152 production Panerai used exclusively cases and movements made by Rolex. These watches were "time only", e.g. showed only the hours and minutes. Later versions were fitted with the Angelus 8-day movement with the subsidiary seconds function to 9 o'clock, the cases were made locally.
Watches supplied to the frogmen, SLC torpedo riders and commandos of the Italian Naval Forces were requested to bear the designation "Marina Militare" on the dial.
The main difference between reference 6152 and reference 6152/1 is the band. The band of reference 6152 has an edge in the middle, while the band of reference 6152/1 his rounded.