Panerai and Rolex, made for Panerai. An extremely fine and rare "Luminor Trittico" comprising a stainless steel wristwatch with "tropical" dial, a wrist compass and a depth gauge, supplied to the Polizia di State
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Panerai and Rolex, made for Panerai. An extremely fine and rare "Luminor Trittico" comprising a stainless steel wristwatch with "tropical" dial, a wrist compass and a depth gauge, supplied to the Polizia di State

THE WRISTWATCH SIGNED LUMINOR PANERAI, REF. 6152-1, CASE NO. 124'816, CASE AND MOVEMENT SIGNED ROLEX, THE WRIST COMPASS SIGNED PANERAI, THE DEPTH GAUGE SIGNED LUMINOR PANERAI, ALL CIRCA 1955

Details
Panerai and Rolex, made for Panerai. An extremely fine and rare "Luminor Trittico" comprising a stainless steel wristwatch with "tropical" dial, a wrist compass and a depth gauge, supplied to the Polizia di State
The wristwatch signed Luminor Panerai, ref. 6152-1, case no. 124'816, case and movement signed Rolex, the wrist compass signed Panerai, the depth gauge signed Luminor Panerai, all circa 1955
The wristwatch with Rolex cal. 618 15 3/4''' nickel-finished lever movement, 17 jewels, soft iron protective cap, the dial consisting of two discs, the lower one coated with "Luminor" luminous substance visible through the cut out Arabic and baton numerals in the black matte upper disc, luminous hands, large cushion-shaped water-resistant-type case, crown protecting bridge, screw back with engraving, screw down crown, Panerai period leather strap and large metal buckle, the wrist compass with plexiglass dome with luminous rubber line to the inside, black dial, "Luminor" luminous capital letters for the cardinal points in Italian and indexes in high relief, immersed in a water-line and shock-absorber petroleum-based liquid, stainless steel case with amagnetic base stamped "4", Panerai leather strap and large metal buckle, the depth gauge with plexiglass dome, black dial graduated to 40 meters with "Luminor" luminous indexes and hand, stainless steel case with amagnetic base with engraving, Panerai leather strap and large metal buckle numbered 808, the wristwatch case and movement signed Rolex, dial signed Luminor Panerai, the compass case signed Officine Panerai Firenze, the depth gauge case signed Officine Panerai Firenze, dial signed Luminor Panerai
Watch 47 mm. wide, 18.5 mm. thickness; compass 69.5 mm. wide, 32.5 mm. thickness; depth gauge 69.5 mm. wide, 40 mm. thickness (3)
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Lot Essay

The present lot is one of the exceedingly scarce complete sets of a "Luminor" triptych or "Trittico" made by Panerai for the Italian Navy and other Armed Forces to appear in public to date. The rarity is further enhanced by the engraving "P.S." and number on the case backs of the wristwatch and the depth gauge, indicating that they were supplied to members of the Polizia di State or State Police.

All three of these "diving instruments" are in exceptionally good condition, still preserving original parts particularly susceptible to damages and consequently replacement, such as the plexiglass crystal and domes, showing fine spidering cracks consistent with age.

Over time, the black dial colour of the wristwatch has begun to change to a most charismatic, uniform dark chocolate tone, rendering it a very unique look. All three cases impress with their full bodies and have evidently neither been subject to extensive use nor to unprofessional polishing. The three buckles are original and from the period as is the leather strap of the wristwatch. The straps of the compass and the depth gauge are original straps from the Italian Navy, replacing the worn out original straps.

One of the best preserved sets to be offered in public in recent years, this lot represents a true collector's piece for the aficionado of these super rare "Luminor Tritticos".

Reference 6152-1
In the early 1950s, reference 3646, the first "Radiomir" wristwatch made by Rolex for Panerai, was replaced by references 6152 and 6154, created following the request from the Italian Navy to supply an improved version of their diver's wristwatch. The new models featured more solid cases made out of one massive block of steel, with increased water-resistance, wider downturned lugs replaced the less solid wire lugs. Manufacture of reference 6154 was soon ceased; reference 6152 was replaced around 1955 by reference 6152-1, now featuring the crown protecting bridge invented by Panerai already in 1943 but patented only in 1956. Its main functions were preventing 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. The height of the cases remained unchanged, the lugs however were increased from 5 mm. to 5.6 mm.

Other important features introduced with reference 6152-1 were the watch's individual serial number engraved between the lugs at 6 o'clock and the mention "BREVET 6152" and the Swiss cross at 12 o'clock. The engraving to the inside case backs changed to read "Montres Rolex S.A. Geneva Patented Stainless Steel Swiss Made 6152 1".

The Rolex calibre 618 was retained, with one key modification though, the addition of the Incabloc shock absorption system. The movements varied from each other by number of jewels, some 17, such as the present watch, some 15. A soft iron cover was added to protect the movements from the effect of magnetic fields.

The writing on the dials changed over time, the first series still using the "Radiomir" mix were marked "Radiomir Panerai", later models "Luminor Panerai" and then "Marina Militare", some featured even both designations. These upgraded models are predominantly known as "Luminor", derived from the non-radioactive luminous substance based on tritium used for the numerals and hands and for which Panerai obtained the patent in 1949.

According to literature, Rolex produced 500 reference 6152-1 models for Panerai, their serial numbers ranging from 124'4xx to 124'9xx, all made during one year, in 1955, however most likely sold to the Navy in separate lots over time.

All members of Armed Forces attending underwater courses were given a ref. 6152-1, a compass and a depth gauge with the corpses' relevant designation engraved to the case back. This included C.C. for Carabinieri (Police), V.F. for Vigili del Fuoco (Fire Brigade), G.F. for Guardia di Finanza (Financial Police) and, as in the present lot, P.S. for Polizia di State (State Police).

For a detailed description and images of reference 6152-1 see Panerai - Una Storia Italiana by Luciano Cipullo & Loris Pasetto, pp. 188 - 277. Reference 6152-1 no. 124'537 is described and illustrated in Vintage Panerai - Watches with History by Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann, pp. 116 - 124, a complete Luminor "Trittico" on p. 138, Luminor depth gauge and wristwatch on pp. 210 - 219.
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