An extremely rare and oversized 8-days diver's wristwatch with glazed back, black dial and subsidiary seconds

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  • Manufacturer: Panerai
    Year: 1961
    Reference No: Transitional 3646
    Movement No: Marked JUIN 61
    Case No: Matr. N°11
    Model Name: Luminor
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. Angelus 240 SF, 15 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel buckle
    Dimensions: 47mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case and dial signed. Movement signed Angelus
    Literature: The present watch is illustrated in John Goldberger's 2012 calendar. For a broader discussion of the Transitional 3646 see Vintage Panerai The references by Ralf Ehlers et Volker Wiegmann pg 1195 to 1211

  • Catalogue Essay

    Officine Panerai’s history can be traced back to 1860, when it was the exclusive supplier of high-precision instruments to the Regia Marina (Royal Italian Navy) through the 1900s. Riding on submersible torpedoes, the commandos, or “frogmen", of the Decima Flottiglia MAS were the protagonists of epic endeavors during World War II. On their wrists, they wore the oversized, precise and highly luminescent watches provided by Officine Panerai. These were extraordinary military watches with a unique aesthetic, manufactured to Panerai’s specifications by Rolex.

    Initially, Panerai used copious amounts of radium for the large, highly luminous hour markers on their dials – the inspiration for the name of their first wristwatch model: Radiomir. In 1949, Panerai patented a new self-luminous substance based on tritium, registered under the “Luminor” trademark.

    Bearing the iconic features that make a Panerai recognizable at first glance, an expert eye will quickly identify the uniqueness of this unusual piece, which is believed to be a rare prototype or transitional model. Inscribed with ‘I’ and ‘Matr No. 11’, this military watch is fitted with an original, transparent, screw-down case back. Inside and visible through the caseback is a high-grade Angelus 8-day caliber, with subsidiary seconds at 9 o’clock, manufactured in June 1961 as indicated underneath the balance wheel.

    The gray-colored Luminor-style case is extraordinary, with four separate lugs soldered into the case, giving it unique and highly attractive aesthetic amongst all Panerai watches. Fitted with a screw-down Oyster crown, the case was most certainly manufactured by Rolex. It is our belief that this watch was possibly created for presentation purposes, along with another similar example that now resides at the Panerai Museum in Florence, Italy. Besides the present watch and the example owned by the Panerai Museum only three further "Transitional 3646" are known today. With its large diameter case, iconic Luminor Marina sandwich dial, and distinctive prototype case, the present lot offers an extraordinary opportunity for collectors of rare and unusual military watches.

  • Maker Bio

    Panerai

    Italian • 1860

    Known for its robust designs and large case sizes, Officine Panerai was established in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai in Florence, Italy. Around 1900, Giovanni's grandson Guido Panerai took over, and Panerai became the supplier to the Regia Marina — the Royal Italian Navy. After supplying the navy with high-precision instruments for a number of years, Officine Panerai created Radiomir, a radium-based powder that gives luminosity to the dials of sighting instruments and devices. By 1936, the Royal Italian Navy approached Panerai again with the request to design a watch resistant to extreme underwater conditions. The watch they created became known as the "Radiomir".

    Panerai's watches made during the early twentieth century era were comprised of cases designed and manufactured by Rolex SA, with Cortébert, a Swiss manufacturer, supplying the majority of their movements. The most recognizable designs from the firm are the Radiomir and Luminor. To date, vintage models from the first half of the 1900s, such as the reference 3646 and 6152 models, remain the most desirable among collectors.

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Panerai

Ref. Transitional 3646
An extremely rare and oversized 8-days diver's wristwatch with glazed back, black dial and subsidiary seconds

1961
47mm. Diameter
Case and dial signed. Movement signed Angelus

Estimate
CHF120,000 - 180,000 
€110,000-165,000
$124,000-186,000

sold for CHF197,000

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE

Geneva Auction 15 May 2016