Marina Militare Officine Panerai

Just a few days ago, the latest annual Paneristi event took place in Berlin. Unsurprisingly, only a few vintage Panerai watches were shown publicly at the event. It seems that the recent revelations on perezcope.com have made owners of historical Panerai watches extremely cautious and as a result they rather not share pictures of their watches anymore.

However, on a positive note the latest gathering also brought to light a never before seen historical Panerai watch.

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Transitional 3646 with “Marina Militare Officine Panerai” dial

First of all, the watch which surfaced at the Paneristi event is simply stunning! A transitional 3646 in itself is nothing spectacular anymore, but this one is a new dimension due to its dial with the extraordinary rare “Marina Militare Officine Panerai” inscription.

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Transitional 3646 with Marina Militare Officine Panerai dial (Image: Kostas Straps)

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This watch is only the second historical Panerai to surface with such a dial. The other watch is a 6152 1 with case number 124527 and military matriculation number M.M. 023. This watch is owned by an Italian jounalist who was able to buy it directly from an officer of the Italian Marina Militare in the 1990s.

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Panerai 6152 1 with case number  124527 and military matriculation number M.M. 023

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The interesting thing about these dials is that only “Officine Panerai” is engraved, while the “Marina Militare” inscription appears to be just painted onto the disc.

An identical dial can be found on an old photographic plate from the 1950s. G. Panerai e Figlio used these plates to document and archive their products. The only visible difference between the photographic plate and the newly surfaced watch is the lack of a  “Marina Militare” inscription underneath the numeral at 12.

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Photographic plate from the 1950s

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An interesting observation on the photographic plate is the lack of a Swiss Cross on the Brevet onion crown.

Transitional 3646s were regular 3646 watches that have been modified by G. Panerai e Figlio. The usual wire lugs were replaced with stronger lugs which were welded to the case. The name “transitional” is a bit misleading as it can be assumed that these watches were modified between 1956 and 1962, after the references 6152 and 6154 had been produced and tested. 3646s were probably still in use during the 1950s and it is possible that approximately 30 watches were sent to G. Panerai e Figlio in order to be modified.

These watches were equipped with Angelus 240 movements. This caliber had not been developed to be used in wrist watches though. As a result there is no proper way to attach a dial.

G. Panerai e Figlio had yet to figure out how to mechanically attach the dials. The washer with coin edge look, which is visible on the photographic plate from the 1950s between bezel and dial might have been an “interim” solution to keep the dial in place. The newly surfaced watch does not have this washer.

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Thoughts

This “transitional” 3646 with “Marina Militare Officine Panerai” dial is a very important piece of the puzzle. The similarity with the photographic plate is undisputable. It could even be the same watch, since the “Marina Militare” inscription is only painted onto the dial.

It will be interesting to learn if the Angelus 240 movement is an early unit with date stamp 12.55 (GPF 2/56) or one of the later units produced in 1961. Another important detail is the matriculation number. Does it have one? If it does, it could definitely be a single-digit number considering the photographic plate. This kind of watches are exciting!

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Thanks for your interest.

Please don’t hesitate to comment and share your thoughts at the end of the page. If you have any question please use the comment function to get in touch with me. Comments are only displayed after approval.

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