Piers Motley Auctions

Panerai (Rolex) Kampfschwimmer Wristwatch
Posted On: 16 Aug 2018 by PIERS MOTLEY

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A 1944 Panerai Diver's Watch shall be in our Monday 17th September Sale

A 1944 Panerai (Rolex) is set to sell in our Monday 17th September Sale.

Brought in on a valuation day and believed to be a German Luftwaffe Watch after a brief search on the internet we soon discovered that it was a Panerai Frogman's or Diver's Watch.

The next challenge was to remove the dodecagon back. For this we searched our toolbox for the largest monkey wrench we could find (or a local jeweller with a large enough watch back remover). It took considerable effort and once opened revealed a lead gasket obviously necessary to create a strong enough seal to withstand the pressure whilst under water.

We were also expecting to find the movement signed ROLEX, but both I and the jeweller were surprised when we discovered an unsigned movement.

On returning to the office further internet research was undertaken. With the significant number articles on WWII Panerai and the help of passioante collectors more than willing to share their knowledge we discovered that Cortebert made the movements for Rolex, but that the Panerai 3646 Type E with this movement was completely anonymous with an unsigned movement and dial. This was because Rolex did not want to be known as providing towards the German war effort. 

Significantly this also meant we could date this to 1944 and while Panerai was also producing these for the Italian Navy this was likely to have belonged to a German Kampfschwimmer (or frogman) nearing the end of World War Two.

Potential Buyer's will need to dive deep into their pockets when this comes up for sale on Monday 17th September with pre-sale estimates at £35,000-50,000!