Panerai - The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN New York Saturday, December 10, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Panerai
    Year: Circa 1942
    Reference No: 3646
    Case No: 1’010’012
    Model Name: Radiomir “Type B”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 618, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather NATO
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 47mm Diameter
    Signed: Dial signed Panerai. Inside caseback and movement signed Rolex. Exterior caseback with personal engraving.
    Accessories: Accompanied by additional crystal.
    Literature: The reference 3646 “Type B” is discussed in Ralf Ehlers and Volker Wiegmann’s Vintage Panerai: The References, pages 170-247.

  • Catalogue Essay

    An early reference 3646 produced between 1941 and 1942, the present example bears a “Type B” dial, seen on less than twenty known examples. They are typified by a series of characteristics: a certain range of case numbers, specific inside caseback engraving layout, onion “Brevet” crown, a Rolex 618 “Type 1” movement, a high bezel, and one of three different dial types. The dial types consist of a sandwich dial with “Radiomir Panerai” on the dial, the same dial but anonymous, and a plastic riveted dial also signed “Radiomir Panerai” but with thinner and taller fonts. The current lot fits perfectly with all of these attributes - a beautiful example of a Type B 3646 with typical “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial.

    The caseback bears the most interesting engraving “CAPT. J.M. COLTART – 2ND GORDON HLDRS. – 15TH SCOTTISH DIVISION - TESPEAHUDE. THE ELBE – 1945”. We can only speculate as to how it ended up in the hands of Captain Coltart by 1945, but it was no doubt taken as a memento of a pivotal battle, the crossing of the Elbe river in April of 1945. After that, it stayed in the possession of the Coltart’s family until its first sale at auction in 2017.

    According to further research done by Panerai historians around the time of the auction, John Maxted Coltart was a Captain in the Gordon Highlanders of the 15th Scottish Regiment and was present at the crossing of the River Elbe in April of 1945 – just a month after he returned from the leave taken for his wedding. In his recollections of the battle, he mentioned defending the bridge from German frogmen as well as artillery fire and aerial assault. The watch was one of many mementos that he brought back from the war, and it remained with him until his death in 1984, and then subsequently with his descendants.

    History has remembered the 15th Scottish Division as “the most effective and best led infantry division in 21st Army group”, and the only division of the British Army to be involved in three major river crossings – the Seine, the Rhine, and finally the Elbe. This final chapter, known as “Operation Enterprise”, saw the first jet-powered fighter planes used in combat and was a decisive victory for the Allied forces, lasting from the 29th of April until the 7th of May 1945.

    After being sold at auction in 2017, the watch remained unworn for the past five years until it was consigned to us at Phillips. A replacement crystal was installed to protect the dial from any damage and allow easy viewing of the beautifully aged dial, and it is our great pleasure and honor to offer it for sale here, a historically important Panerai for the most discerning connoisseur of military wristwatches.

  • 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
An exceptionally rare and historically important stainless steel cushion-shaped military diver’s watch with engraved caseback

Circa 1942
47mm Diameter
Dial signed Panerai. Inside caseback and movement signed Rolex. Exterior caseback with personal engraving.

$20,000 - 40,000 

Sold for $63,000

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293


Isabella Proia

Head of Sale, New York

+1 (212) 940 1285


The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN

New York Auction 10 - 11 December 2022