Another Panerai Ref. 3646 Type D with sought-after “Kampfschwimmer” engravings just surfaced in the UK at Wright Marshall Ltd.
This watch enters the market only a few weeks after the very same auction house sold a similar 3646 Type D with case number 260562. The watch that sold was originally bought at a car boot sale for £10, ten to twenty years ago. Several news portals reported on it.
> Broken watch bought at car boot sale for £10 sells for £55,000 after it turns out to be rare World War Two Rolex
According to Wright Marshall Ltd the “new” watch for sale on May 10, 2016 has been in the northeast of England since it was swapped for a carriage clock in the early 1960s.
Lot 153, Panerai 3646 Type D, 260611, “Kampf-Schwimmer, L.K.700, 1945, WH”
Lot 153 will be auctioned on May 10, 2016. It has all characteristics of a Panerai 3646 Type D. The Type D batch was probably exclusively produced for Nazi combat swimmers in 1943/44, after the occupation of Italy by the Nazi forces. As the Allies were closing in from all directions, the Nazis became desperate. The main purpose of the Nazi combat swimmers was to sabotage and blow up bridges in order to slow down the allied invasion on Germany. Several hundred Panerai watches ended up with the Nazis.
A typical feature of the Type D batch is the completely anonymous sandwich dial with characteristic “open” 6 and 9. The Nazi high command required the watches urgently. Obviously there was neither time nor need to engrave the dials.
The watch in question has a nicely aged dial and blued hands. The Rolex + Brevet crown appears to be in a good condition.
> Lot 153, Panerai 3646 Type D, 260611
The watch was sold for £ 65.000 (inc. Premium)
The “Kampfschwimmer” engravings
The watch bears the distinctive engravings “Kampf-Schwimmer, L.K.700, 1945, WH”. L.K.700 stands for Lehrkommando 700 and was the training camp for Nazi combat swimmers in Northern Italy from 1944 on.
It is said that this kind of engravings were applied during the captivity of several Nazi combat swimmers on the island of Sylt, after Germany had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies in May 1945.
The movement of this watch is the “correct” Rolex 618 Type 1b (straight Rolex engravings) with 17 Jewels. The movement retaining ring seems to have the typical silver color, which is characteristic for Type D watches. The orginal lead seals are not included or not shown. The movement and movement retaining ring seem to have been affected by moisture.
More about the movements used in vintage Panerai watches
It is interesting to see all these watches surfacing lately. I was able to add four similar watches to my database and they all have two things in common. The watches were either bought or traded many years ago for a very small amount of money and they are new to the market and were not documented before.
Two of them were found at watchfairs in shoe-box cartons full of watches for around USD 75, another was bought at a car boot sale for £10. The watch described in this article was swapped for a carriage clock.
This is a very curious development and I am looking forward to see more interesting watches surface.
Thanks for your interest.