Fake Rolex Stamps On Anonymous Rolex-Panerai Ref. 3646 Watches – Vintage Panerai and other iconic timepieces under the loupe at Perezcope


Let’s minimize straight to the chase. An complete group of Ref. 3646 watches outlined by Ehlers & Wiegmann as Type F for that includes Rolex stamps amongst watches which can be utterly nameless (unbranded), was discovered to be extremely questionable. The Rolex stamps, the very characteristic which units these watches other than their siblings left and proper, nicely these Rolex stamps are faux.

It is just not the primary time the German classic Panerai consultants and e-book authors Ehlers & Wiegmann have been tricked into considering one thing faux is actual. Wiegmann’s very first 3646 as an example, was faux too and to this date, it’s nonetheless listed of their database as the actual deal. Over the previous few years, I uncovered that a number of of the revealed watches have been both made-up, mixed-up or outright counterfeits. The authors by no means felt compelled to make amendments, truly they even doubled-down and stored that includes the controversial watches.

The German duo recognized seven completely different Rolex Ref. 3646 batches made for the Italian Navy between 1940 and 1944. Based on the Rolex stamps discovered on the within of the casebacks, the 2 consultants divided the watches into Type A, B, C, D E, F and G. Their taxonomy is flawed on many ranges because it depends on superficial particulars solely. Significant particulars like case shapes or motion serial numbers weren’t considered.

In their most up-to-date e-book, the 2 consultants devoted a whole chapter to the Type F class, which they got here up with of their first publication from 2009. 34 pages of full and utter nonsense, as you’ll quickly see with your personal eyes.

Overview Type F (261100 – 261120), Vintage Panerai – The References

The flawed data grew to become widespread data amongst classic Panerai enthusiats, a lot so, even counterfeiters produced fakes based mostly on it. One specific watch which falls into the imaginary Type F class – an awkward-looking piece with case quantity 261352 qualifies as a faux – or I ought to truly use the previous tense “certified” – because the watch not exists in that form or type.

261352 is of particular curiosity because it was Wiegmann’s very first classic Panerai which he acquired in late June 2003 from the famend Italian supplier Francesco Ferretti. 261352 is talked about at the very least eight occasions of their newest books.

The image beneath exhibits the watch in query. Attentive readers of this web site could notice a number of the flaws instantly. Forget the bizarre palms for a second, focus solely on the dial. See the vast open six and 9? That is not any Marina Militare dial. That is a typical nameless Kampfschwimmer dial altered with faux Marina Militare engravings.

A Marina Militare dial has no enterprise in Ref. 3646 anyway as Marina Militare branded Panerai dials have been solely launched within the mid Nineteen Sixties.

Read extra: Manipulated Vintage Panerai dials

More attention-grabbing than the altered dial are the caseback stamps of this watch. A comparability with different Ref. 3646 casebacks in shut case quantity proximity reveals some attention-grabbing discrepancies.

The case quantity 261352 was stamped with a totally completely different typeface. In addition, the letter-spacing between the numbers is simply too giant. The Rolex stamp appears okay at first look – however – a better inspecition reveals various flaws, the obvious one being the letter “e” in Rolex. The form is totally off.

Rolex used any such stamp between 1938 and 1945. The subsequent image exhibits a Ref. 3133 Bubbleback caseback from the 301k case quantity vary which is barely later than 261352. As you possibly can see, the stamp design didn’t change. The letter “e” in Rolex is precisely the identical as on the correct examples proven above.

Rolex Ref. 3133 Bubbleback caseback (case quantity 301k)

The stamps of 261352 are faux, pure and easy. But there may be extra, the center case appears unusual too. It has a symmetrical profile together with wire lugs which can be too lengthy. Something that’s unseen. Add the altered Kampfschwimmer dial and a motion pieced collectively from mismatched components, and also you get the last word faux and franken watch. As talked about earlier, 261352 does not exist on this form or type. The altered Kampfschwimmer dial of this watch ended up in a Ref. 6152/1 with crown-protecting machine auctioned by Christie’s in 2007.

Read extra: Vintage Panerai – Entering the gray zone

In a letter from 1984, Rolex acknowledged they produced 720 items of Ref. 3646 in 1943. That is surely the case quantity vary 260400 – 261120. I used to be capable of finding various different Rolex references produced in the identical time period with slighty earlier and barely later case numbers than that. There is a transparent sample. Before the Ref. 3646 batch, there was a batch of Ref. 3139 Bubblebacks and after, Rolex produced a Ref. 2940 batch. Case quantity 261352 belongs to a Ref. 2940 watch. It is an open and shut case.

Case Numbers Rolex Reference
260178, 260323, 260362 3139
260400 – 261120 3646
261271, 261346, 261683, 261715 2940

In their books, Ehlers & Wiegmann additionally talked about a Ref. 3646 with case quantity 261324. Evidently, that one have to be a faux too.

The two consultants declare to have documented a complete of 11 Type F items throughout the 261100 – 261352 vary. Type E, which based on Ehlers & Wiegmann ranges from 260850 – 261099, is totally nameless. The Rolex stamps on these watches have been eliminated for some purpose. More on this later. The image beneath exhibits how the unique Rolex stamp remains to be barely seen on a number of the anonymized watches.

Ref. 3646 caseback with eliminated Rolex stamps (Photo: The References)

The subsequent picture exhibits the identical caseback with a superimposed Rolex stamp for instance what the caseback seemed like initially. Note that the Rolex reference and case numbers have been eliminated as nicely. The case quantity was restamped at a distinct place the place the caseback was nonetheless thick sufficient.

The actions of Type E have been nameless as nicely. None of the motion bridges had a Rolex signature, solely 17 Rubis and Fab. Suisse was utilized.

Comparison branded vs. nameless Rolex 618

Type G, the group succeeding Type F, is totally nameless as nicely. However, Type G is in a later case quantity vary. The earliest identified Type G watch has case quantity 317488, the final 317530. Type G actions have comparable serial numbers as those put in in Type E/F which suggests Type G was assembled in the identical breath as Type E/F.

The desk beneath exhibits Ehlers & Wiegmann’s Type D to G taxonomy. As you possibly can see, Type D consists truly of two completely different sort of watches. One with a thicker case and taller bezel, and one with a skinny case and a low bezel. The latter has actions with later serial numbers. These are not at all the identical sort of watches however since they’ve the identical sort of caseback, the German duo organized them into the identical group.

Type D, E, F & G According EHLERS & WIEGMANn

Type Case Numbers Middle Case Bezel Stamps Mov. Serials Mov. Specs
D 260400 – 260695 6.3 mm Tall Rolex S.A. 7519XXX Rolex (Type 1b)
D 260696 – 260849 5.4 mm Low Rolex S.A. 7527XXX Rolex (Type 1c)
E 260850 – 261099 5.4 mm Low Removed 7528XXX Anonymous
F 261100 – 261352 5.4 mm Low Rolex S.A. 7528XXX Anonymous
G 317480 – 317530 5.4 mm Low Removed 7528XXX Anonymous

Another factor that turns into obvious on this overview, is that Type F, though that includes Rolex stamps, has the exact same nameless actions as Type E/G. From a logical viewpoint, this makes little sense.

A comparability of 261109, one of many Type F watches, with the faux 261352 exhibits the stamp has the exact same flaws, ergo, the Rolex stamps on Type F have to be faux too.

Naturally, the thickness of the caseback could be much less within the middle after removing of the stamp. The purpose why the case numbers have been restamped close to the sting was to stop deformation. A case quantity close to the sting means the stamps have been eliminated. Period.

It seems the caseback of 261109 was measured with a micrometer and was barely thicker within the middle than close to the sting. 1.12 mm vs. 1.10 mm. In common, anonymized casebacks have a thickness of 0.75 mm within the middle and 1.20 mm on the edge. The purpose for the discrepancy seen on 261109 is fairly easy. Stamping causes materials displacement. Think of a meteor affect and the next crater. As a outcome, the entire space is uneven. Cause and impact. The measurement was merely not significant.

If we evaluate the faux stamp of 261109 to the unique stamp of 260730, we are able to make one other attention-grabbing remark. 261109 was clearly stamped on prime of the perlage end. Material displacement is clearly seen in all places. 260730, however, was first stamped after which completed with perlage end. The stamp of 260730 doesn’t present any materials displacement because it was grinded down by the perlage end. Do you not love horological forensics?

Some Type E watches characteristic faux Rolex stamps as nicely. 260918 as an example. The eliminated unique stamp remains to be barely seen beneath the faux stamp.

Rolex Ref. 3646, case quantity 260918, with faux Rolex stamp

The faux Rolex stamp of 260918 is significantly smaller than the unique stamp.

The complete Type F story falls half with case quantity 261111, positioned proper within the center between 261100 and 261120. The caseback is totally nameless, accurately.

261111 surfaced within the United Kingdom, in secure distance from the same old suspects. It was introduced there as a souvenier by a returning British soldier after World War 2.

Two numbers away, the caseback with case quantity 261113 is totally nameless as nicely.

Ref. 3646 caseback with case quantity 261113

Ehlers & Wiegmann documented 11 Type F watches. The first being 261100, the final 261352. Interestingly, 261100 is registered in my database as nicely. As of January 2001, the watch had no faux Rolex stamps.

Rolex Ref. 3646, 261100 documented in Januray 2001

Here is what occurred. In mid July 1944, the British eighth Army reached the southern outskirts of Florence. Most of Italy had been occupied by Nazi forces since September 1943. Before their retreat behind the closely fortified Gothic line of defense north of Florence, the Nazis paid G. Panerai & Figlio a go to and looted all their machines, together with all of the watches, devices, and so forth. The stolen items have been dropped at Venice which was nonetheless beneath German management, and would stay so till April 1945. Venice was of essential significance to the Germans as they’d established a secret Kampfschwimmer coaching facility on a small island named San Giorgio in Alga positioned within the Venetian Lagoon.

Allied aerial reconnaissance of the San Giorgio in Alga coaching facility

Decades later within the early Nineties, the outdated Arturo Junghans watch manufacturing unit, positioned on the island of La Giudecca, was remodeled into lofts and a theater. The island of San Giorgio in Alga is barely 2.5 km away from the previous watch manufacturing unit.

Map of Venice (Google Maps)

During the clear up of the outdated premises, they discovered plenty of Panerai objects, principally dials but in addition round 30 Ref. 3646 watches in New Old Stock situation that includes unbranded Rolex Error-Proof dials (aka California dials). Most of this stuff ended up with the same old suspects, Francesco Ferretti and Luciano Rinaldi.

Since the found watches have been utterly nameless, they have been onerous to promote as Rolex watches, particularly in these early days with barely a handful insiders conscious of the Rolex-Panerai story. For this easy purpose, they reapplied the Rolex stamps. Is it not ironic, the shortage of Rolex signatures, the very characteristic that makes these watches so traditionally necessary, was a giant query mark again within the day. As you possibly can see within the image beneath, these sellers even altered a number of the nameless actions with faux Rolex engravings.

“Anonymous” Rolex 618 motion with faux Rolex engravings (Photo: The References)

The following Ref. 3646 watches characteristic faux Rolex stamps based on my database.

Case Numbers Dials Stamps
260918 Rolex Error-Proof (California) Rolex S.A. (faux)
260984 Rolex Error-Proof (California) Rolex S.A. (faux)
261109 Rolex Error-Proof (California) Rolex S.A. (faux)
261110 Junghans 3-6-9-12 Rolex S.A. (faux)
261120 Rolex Error-Proof (California) Rolex S.A. (faux)
261324 (faux) n.a. Rolex S.A. (faux)
261352 (faux) Altered Kampfschwimmer Rolex S.A. (faux)

Why have been the final batches of Ref. 3646 watches nameless within the first place? We don’t know for positive however one logical clarification may very well be that Hans Wilsdorf, the founding father of Rolex, grew to become conscious the watches have been not destined to the Italians however utilized by Nazis forces as a substitute. Wilsdorf was of German descent however had change into a British citizen in 1911. His first spouse May Wilsdorf Crotty was British. His firm Rolex had its origins in Britain. Supplying the Nazis along with his watches was the very last thing he wished. Due to his German-sounding identify, he had skilled the Anti-German sentiment that developed after World War 1 first-hand. The fame of his firm and every little thing he had labored for was at stake. On the opposite hand, the Panerai household in occupied Florence was in peril. If the availability of watches would abruptly come to an finish, they may have gotten into hassle. To maintain the Panerais out of harms means, and to guard the fame of Rolex, Wilsdorf realized that the suitable factor to do was to maintain up the availability however take away all Rolex signatures from the watches.

The following desk exhibits how the completely different batches must be rearranged now that Ehlers & Wiegmann’s Type F is debunked.

Type Case Numbers Middle Case Bezel Stamps Mov. Serials Mov. Specs
D 260400 – 260695 6.3 mm Tall Rolex S.A. 7519XXX Rolex (Type 1b)
E 260696 – 260849 5.4 mm Low Rolex S.A. 7527XXX Rolex (Type 1c)
F 260850 – 261120 5.4 mm Low Removed 7528XXX Anonymous
G 317480 – 317530 5.4 mm Low Removed 7528XXX Anonymous

Thoughts

This case illustrates fantastically how necessary it’s to get your info straight earlier than going public. All particulars have to be checked, double-checked, triple-checked. We owe this to our readers. Of course, errors can occur because the puzzle of horological reality, particularly within the case of Panerai, slowly reveals itself and so we typically have to take a step again to go ahead once more. Research isn’t a static factor as contemporary revelations can result in new methods of considering. One ought to, nevertheless, have the integrity to confess ones errors and proper them. In 2016, I used to be completely positive I had solved the thriller of sure Ref. 3646 watches that featured Junghans dials fastened in place by the technique of two tiny screws at 6 and 12 o’clock. My assumptions turned out to be completely improper. Years later I got here throughout the actual purpose for these modifications, which I went on to publish, contradicting my earlier work. I understand how it feels when ones work is confirmed improper however there isn’t any various to reality.

Ehlers & Wiegmann knew in regards to the questionable stamps since at the very least October 2019 after I found a faux stamp on a Ref. 3646 with case quantity 260918 provided at Sotheby’s. At the time, a good friend of mine mentioned the matter on Ehlers & Wiegmann’s Facebook web page however, lo and behold, the submit was quickly deleted.

As talked about firstly of the article, a number of watches featured in Ehlers & Wiegmann’s books are extremely questionable – if not outright faux. One of those was a uncommon Ref. 6152 from 1953 with a wierd blueish dial. “One of essentially the most important historic Panerai watches in our database” the 2 Germans acknowledged. As it turned out, the seemingly uncommon blue dial turned out to be nothing however a Rinaldi faux which had been put in many years earlier. Not solely did I uncover the true nature of that dial however in a stroke of luck, I used to be additionally capable of find the unique dial after greater than 20 years in order to return the watch to its unique situation.

Read extra: Vintage Panerai – The mysterious bluish tinted dials

Thank you in your curiosity.

The Panerai Time Machine

The timeline beneath represents the present state of analysis into classic Panerai watches. Please click on the graphic to obtain the highres model.

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