Panerai - The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN Geneva Saturday, May 12, 2018 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Panerai
    Year: Circa 1944
    Reference No: 3646
    Case No: 260'745
    Model Name: "Type D"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 618, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel buckle
    Dimensions: 47mm Width
    Signed: Case and movement signed Rolex
    Accessories: Accompanied by original dial.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Founded in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai (1825-1897), Officine Panerai specialized in producing high precision instruments for the Royal Italian Navy, ranging from wristwatches to navigation tools. In the early 20th century, Panerai created Radiomir, a luminous-based powder that was eventually patented on 23 March 1916. The firm’s Radiomir technology allowed for many strides in the military industry. When applied to the dial, the compound allowed the viewer to tell the time in any weather condition by glowing in the dark. Panerai produced its first Radiomir prototype in 1936.

    This well-preserved Panerai wristwatch is classified as a "Type D". The inside case back displays the signature "Brevetée Rolex S.A.", along with the reference number followed by the six digit serial number. Like other "Type D" examples, the inside case back displays a decorated interior. Research shows that 211 examples are known of the reference 3646, of which only 79 examples are known as "Type D".

    The present watch is notably fitted with an anonymous dial without the words "Radiomir Panerai". Many of these watches were delivered to Germany's commando frogmen. It is highly possible that Panerai created these dials during the war years to avoid recognition, lest the watch was found by an enemy. The numerals have aged with warm orange patina.

    This timepiece has presided in a private collection for many years.

  • Artist Biography


    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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Ref. 3646
A rare and large stainless steel wristwatch with fixed lugs, movement and case by Rolex

Circa 1944
47mm Width
Case and movement signed Rolex

CHF35,000 - 50,000 

Sold for CHF65,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 81

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018