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.