When one of these comes up for sale, people pay attention. This is the king of all Panerai – the early Radiomir made for the Italian NAVY by Rolex. The reference 3646 Panerai was built on special commission from the Italian NAVY with the express purpose of not only being immensely accurate but also being able to withstand severe elements. Of course, who better to make a waterproof case than those fine folks who had made Miss Gleitze’s watch when she swam the English channel?
The 3646 was made with a Rolex case and movement, but after 1950, Panerai began to use other suppliers as well, including Angelus. They also made a special reference 6152 with exhibition back that featured a Rolex movement and the now famous Panerai crown guard lever, which was originally designed for officers in the Navy. Panerai, when supplied by Angelus, also made some instruments and guages for the Egyptian Navy in the 1950s and 60s.
This particular example of the Panerai 3646 dates to 1940, is completely original, and has a very conservative pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$40,000, which would be a bargain for a watch of this provenance.
For more details on this original Panerai made by Rolex for the Italian Navy, click here. Watch below for a live preview of the watch in HD video.