Rolex-Panerai 6154 “Egiziano Piccolo” – All 21 Known Watches Side-By-Side – Vintage Panerai and other iconic timepieces under the loupe at Perezcope

With Phillips Geneva set to public sale one of many visually most putting examples of Rolex-Panerai Ref. 6154, a watch that after belonged to none apart from legendary Panerista of the primary hour, Alan C. Bloor aka “Hammer”, I used to be reminded to replace my 2016 overview of all recognized examples of Ref. 6154. In addition, there may be new analysis I wish to share associated to probably the most puzzling 6154 in existence, the one instance that includes a Rolex “Oyster Precision” dial.

Phillips Lot 293 – Rolex-Panerai Ref. 6154 997575

Auction hyperlink: Lot 293 – Rolex-Panerai Ref. 6154 “Tropical”

Rolex-Panerai Ref. 6154

With its streamlined, “lowered to the max” case proportions, Ref. 6154 produced by Rolex in 1954 is a masterpiece of class, particularly contemplating it’s a device watch within the truest sense of the phrase. Legend has it Ref. 6154 was produced for the Egyptian Navy, thus nicknamed “Egiziano Piccolo” (small Egyptian). While not less than two watches had been reported by credible sources to have been acquired in Egypt, concrete and tangible evindence to help the story has but to materialize. A watch that was undeniably produced for Egypt is the large Panerai GPF 2/56 from 1956. It may be very a lot doable that when Egyptian Navy officers visited Panerai in Florence for the primary time round July/August 1956 (based on Maria Teresa Panerai), Giuseppe Panerai gave them a couple of unused 6154s in gratitude for the massive order made.

Caseback of Rolex Ref. 6154

Since my final article on all recognized Ref. 6154 watches printed March 2016, two beforehand unknown items have emerged, together with particulars of a Ref. 6154 caseback that’s mounted on a Ref. 6152/1, a watch I had the pleasure to personally examine in Jakarta, Indonesia. This brings the whole variety of recognized Ref. 6154 items to 21.

All recognized Ref. 6154 watches at a Glance

Overview of all recognized Ref. 6154 watches (click on picture to zoom in)

The two new watches which surfaced since March 2016 are the numbers 03 and 20 within the above overview. Number 03 has case quantity 997578 and was provided in automn 2016 on ebay by the identical one that had had already listed 997580 (05) in early 2016. The vendor acknowledged he purchased each watches in Iraq in 2001. Number 20 is considered one of three Ref. 6154 watches belonging to the Archivio Storico Panerai (Panerai Museum). The inside museum designation is PAMPR006. Number 04 is a Ref. 6152/1 with case quantity 124887 that includes a Ref. 6154 caseback with case quantity 997579. The dial of this watch has developed a fully beautiful patina. During a visit to Jakarta, Indonesia in early 2018, I had the chance to deal with this magnificent specimen within the flesh (see beneath).

Rolex-Panerai 6152/1 with Ref. 6154 caseback (997579) and Eterna Super KonTiki 130 PTX-5 “Marina Militare” (Jakarta, early 2018)

Said watch will be traced again to 2 Christie’s auctions which occurred in London, one in November 1992 and the opposite in June 1993. Today, the Ref. 6154 caseback nonetheless contains a Christie’s sticker.

Additionally to the newly found Ref. 6154 watches, the information about beforehand unknown motion particulars may very well be expanded as nicely, as will be seen within the following motion overview.

The Movements

Overview of all recognized actions of Ref. 6154 watches (click on picture to zoom in)


The Unusual Sandwich Dial

Connoisseurs of Ref. 6154 might have seen there’s a peculiar hole between sandwich dial and internal bezel (see arrows beneath). This hole is totally distinctive to Ref. 6154 and divulges so much about this mannequin.

Ref. 6154 sandwich dial hole

The following part by means of the 6154 case tells the story. Underneath the internal bezel, which usually is supposed to cowl the sting of the dial for aesthetical functions, there may be not sufficient area to accommodate a thick sandwich dial. To be capable of set up one, Panerai needed to improvise. The 6154 sandwich dial builds up the mandatory top inside the diamater of the internal bezel which ends up in the aforementioned hole. This element is a transparent indication that Ref. 6154 was not designed to accommodate a thick sandwich dial however an everyday 0.5 mm thick brass dial as an alternative.

Section of Ref. 6154 – Radiomir Panerai sandwich dial vs. Rolex Oyster Precision dial

Compared to different Rolex-Panerai references, the sandwich dial of Ref. 6154 is extraordinarily skinny. The thickness is barely about 1 mm whereas the standard top varies between 2 and a couple of.5 mm relying on the interval of manufacturing. In addition, the 6154 dial has a peculiar step on the edge, one thing different Panerai sandwich dial should not have. Without this step, the hole could be a lot deeper and the motion ring would grow to be seen.

Radiomir Panerai sandwich dial of Ref. 6154 with peculiar step

This brings me to the next, extremely controversial Ref. 6154 watch bearing case quantity 997572 that was auctioned by Antiquorum on a number of events between 2005 and 2007. The dial of this watch is clearly impressed by the Rolex Submariner, which by the best way was launched to the market across the similar time Ref. 6154 was produced. Accordingly, the case numbers are very shut. 988,XXX for the primary Ref. 6204 Submariner batch and 997,XXX for Ref. 6154. In 2015, this very watch watch appeared at Sotheby’s however was nearly instantly withdrawn after issues in regards to the authenticity of the dial had been expressed.

Rolex Ref. 6154, 997572 (Antiquorum New York, Lot 162, June 14, 2006)

Not a lot is thought in regards to the provenance of this watch. From what I gathered it might have been discovered on the previous Panerai premises within the early Nineties when Italian Panerai seller Francesco Ferretti was invited to undergo the decomissioned stock and take the whole lot he noticed match. In 2016, Ferretti despatched me an inventory of all Ref. 6154 watches he bought over the course of time, 16 in complete. 997572 was on the record as nicely.

The “Oyster Precision” dial suits the watch completely. From a watchmaking perspective, that is how a dial could be correctly put in in a watch. The comparability beneath exhibits the “Radiomir Panerai” dial sits a lot larger, thus overlaying half of the internal bezel.

The predominant difficulty with the “Oyster Precision” dial is that the graphics look like printed quite than obtained by galvanic course of (gilt) because it was frequent on the time. There can be no chapter ring, one other customary function in these days. However, if we take a look at the subsequent comparability, the graphics are spot on. Back in 2005, not one of the Italian counterfeiters was able to reproducing this stage of element.

Rolex Ref. 6154, 997572 “Oyster Precision” dial vs. Rolex Ref. 6204, 988XXX “Sub-Aqua” dial

It is comprehensible why this dial is controversial however given the small print, it may very well be okay and by taking the case building of Ref. 6154 into account, it’s probably the watches had been despatched to Florence that includes one thing like this.

Ref. 6154 is the “shredded” brother of Ref. 6152 from 1953. If Ref. 6152 was Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ref. 6154 would undoubtedly be Frank Zane, the king of aesthetics. With round 35 items every, each references had been made in small numbers, in all probability for testing functions earlier than a giant order of 500 items was made in 1955 (Ref. 6152/1). From a logical perspective, Ref. 6154 seems to have been made on Rolex’s personal intiative, to suggest a extra wearable watch to the Italian Navy. Panerai sandwich dials had been over-engineered and pointless thick however on no account extra luminous than what Rolex might produce. Radiomir was nothing however common radium lume in any case. In mild of all of this, 997572 makes excellent sense.

What occurred after the supply of Ref. 6154 is unclear. Fact is, most examples surfaced with a Panerai sandwich dial and a few items had been reportedly present in Egypt. In 1955, Rolex produced Ref. 6152/1, a simplified model of Ref. 6152. Clearly, the bulkier mannequin had prevailed. It is attention-grabbing to notice the 6152/1 case was designed to take a fats sandwich dial of as much as 3 mm in thickness however when tritium-based Luminor was launched within the mid Nineteen Sixties, the dials turned significantly thinner attributable to a unique internal building. This resulted in a large hole between dial and internal bezel as will be seen within the image beneath.

Massive hole between dial and internal bezel on Rolex-Panerai Ref. 6152/1

997572 is a really attention-grabbing watch in my view. If the present proprietor of the watch is studying this, please get in contact with me. I might love to examine the watch additional, particularly the again of the dial, and naturally the radioactive emissions. If its autheticity had been to be confirmed, this watch may very well be the final word discovery with an unmeasurable worth.


With its “lowered to the max” strategy, Ref. 6154 jogs my memory of the final batch of Ref. 3646 that featured a slimmer center case (5.4 mm vs. 6.3 mm) and a low bezel to accommodate the emblematic “Error-Proof” dial (California dial). As with the latter, Ref. 6154 was not designed to accommodate a thick Panerai sandwich dial. Rolex’s objective was all the time to create the right watch. Panerai sandwich dials made the watches needlessly thick however provided no actual benefit over standard dials. They had been the type product a precision workshop like G. Panerai & Figlio would make attributable to lack of different means. The Italian dial turned crucial attributable to strict “purchase Italian” insurance policies impossed onto the armed forces in preparation for struggle. A overseas product might solely be accepted if not less than components of it had been made in Italy. Let me be clear, unique Panerai sandwich dials are superb and the mixture with Rolex watches created one thing really distinctive within the horological world.

Thank you on your curiosity.

The Panerai Time Machine

Ref. 6154 is a crucial milstone within the historical past of those superb watches. The timeline beneath represents the present state of analysis into classic Rolex-Panerai (click on to zoom in).

This timeline is obtainable as a top quality print in two sizes:

  • 120 x 68 cm (47 x 26 inch): EUR 95.00 (plus transport)
  • 150 x 85 cm (59 x 33 inch): EUR 135.00 (plus transport)

Printed with HD Inkjet on picture paper and laminated.

Limited version: 50 items, numbered and signed by Maria Teresa Panerai in Giuseppe Panerai’s very personal laboratory on the historic website of the Villino Panerai (Panerai Villa) in Florence: Sold out

To order shoot me a DM on Instagram: @perezcope

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