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Rolex Made For Officine Panerai. A Very Rare and Large Stainless Steel Cushion-shaped Diver's Wristwatch, Made for the Italian Navy
Rolex Made For Officine Panerai. A Very Rare and Large Stainless Steel Cushion-shaped Diver's Wristwatch, Made for the Italian Navy

SIGNED RADIOMIR, PANERAI, AND ROLEX, REF. 3646, TYPE C, CASE NO. 1'010'315, CIRCA 1940

Details
Rolex Made For Officine Panerai. A Very Rare and Large Stainless Steel Cushion-shaped Diver's Wristwatch, Made for the Italian Navy

Signed Radiomir, Panerai, and Rolex, Ref. 3646, Type C, Case No. 1'010'315, Circa 1940
Movement: Manual, Cal. 618, 17 jewels
Dial: Black, luminous Arabic and baton numerals, luminous hands
Case: Stainless steel cushion-shaped, screw back, 47mm width
Strap/buckle: Officine Panerai leather strap, stainless steel buckle

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Lot Essay

Rolex made for Officine Panerai Reference 3646

Around 1935 and following disappointing tests carried out on watches available at that time, the Royal Italian Navy approached Giuseppe 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. A further order was made and following an extensive secret test phase watches were supplied to the Italian naval forces as of 1938.

From the beginning, watches with reference no. 3646 were made by Rolex for Panerai following strict technical requirements, notably a 47 mm. wide cushion-shaped case with soldered curved wire lugs, screw down "onion" crown, 12-sided case back and a Perspex crystal. The 16 lines caliber 618 Cortébert movements were finished by Rolex and decorated with the Geneva stripes.

Watches and other instruments made by Panerai were standard-issue tools for Italian Navy frogmen, SLC torpedo riders and commandos but were supplied also to naval forces of other countries, notably Germany. Since the 1940s, this was has remained in the same family, based in America.

Special thanks to Volker Wiegmann and Ralf Ehlers for their assistance with this lot.
For similar examples of the reference 3646/Type C, please see The References, 1930‘s-1940‘s, Chapter II.III.


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