An extremely rare and oversized stainless steel cushion shaped diver's wristwatch with black dial and subsidiary seconds

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  • Manufacturer: Panerai
    Year: Circa 1955
    Reference No: 6152-1
    Case No: 124'606
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. Rolex 618, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 50mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case and movement signed Rolex, dial signed Panerai
    Accessories: Accompanied by its original leather strap and stainless steel buckle, and a copy of a matriculation document from the Ministero Difesa Marina (Italian Navy) documenting the original owner of the watch
    Literature: Similar watches are featured in Vintage Panerai, The references by Ralf Ehlers and Volker Wiegman pages 923-1058

  • Catalogue Essay

    Resulting from the Ministero Difesa Marina (Marina Militare, or Italian Navy) request for a more robust diver’s watch for its personnel, the Panerai references 6152 and 6152-1 were produced. Introduced in 1955, the reference 6152-1 distinguishes itself from the ref. 6152 in that its case is slightly larger and is therefore able to house either the Rolex caliber 618 or the Angelus cal. 240. The wonderfully preserved 6152-1 offered in the present lot features a case and movement manufactured by Rolex – and both bear the coveted Rolex signature. The Panerai designed and built crown-protecting device found at 3 o’clock provides the stunning, aggressive aesthetic that collectors adore.
    Giovanni Panerai (1825-1897) founded Officine Panerai in 1860 in Florence on the Ponte alle Grazie. At the turn of the twentieth century, the watchmaker’s shop moved to its current location in Piazza San Giovanni. In the following years, Giovanni Panerai's grandson, Guido Panerai (1873-1934), expanded the business by specializing in the production of high precision instruments as well as watches becoming the official supplier to the Regia Marina, the Royal Italian Navy. To meet the military needs of the Royal Italian Navy, Officine Panerai created Radiomir, a radium-based powder that gives luminosity to the dials of sighting instruments and devices. Reference to the name "Radiomir" is documented in the supplement to the patent filed in France on 23 March 1916.
    Around 1936, the Royal Italian Navy approached Panerai with the request of designing a watch resistant to extreme underwater conditions while at the same time keeping precise time. The prototype (now known as “Radiomir”) was submitted to the First Submarine Group Command. A further order was made and watches were supplied to the Italian naval forces as of 1938 and later on to the German Navy (Kriegsmarine). In 1949 Radiomir was replaced by a new self-luminous substance, Luminor. Tritium based, this compound was protected by a patent filed on 11 January 1949 under the "Luminor" trademark and appears on subsequent dials of watches delivered by Panerai.
    To date, only 64 Panerai reference 6152-1 models with a Rolex movement and Panerai crown protecting device are known, amongst them 33 have the Luminor Panerai dial featured in the present lot. The watch is further accompanied by a copy of a matriculation document attesting to the fact that this exact watch belonged to an accomplished, high ranking Rear Admiral (Contrammiraglio) of the Marina Miltare based in La Spezia, Italy. Considering that the present watch is documented as belonging to a high ranking naval officer, issued to be used underwater and in harsh elements, the condition of the present lot is surprising and amongst the best preserved examples we have seen. Further accompanied with its original movement dust cover, and fitted with its original leather strap, original steel buckle, and original crystal, it’s a superb example for the aficionado of rare, military-issued timepieces.

  • 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. 6152-1
An extremely rare and oversized stainless steel cushion shaped diver's wristwatch with black dial and subsidiary seconds

Circa 1955
50mm. Diameter
Case and movement signed Rolex, dial signed Panerai

Estimate
CHF80,000 - 120,000 
€73,400-110,000
$82,400-124,000

sold for CHF93,750

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016