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A Look At A Vintage Panerai

My latest, a vintage Panerai... Posted by Rick , Aug 04,2001,23:47

I've been interested in military issue Rolex subs for a year or so, and when I found out Rolex made the cases and most of the movements for the vintage Panerai, I just had to get one. This one is post WW2, probably made around 1950.


If you think the 44mm Panerai are big, well the case size of the vintage ones is 47mm with a lug width of 26mm. Here it is next to a submariner.


I think the dial and hands are original. The dial has faded to a nice uniform dark brown. The luminous material on this watch is tritium based. The earlier one were radium. The dial and hands still have a bit of a glow. This must have been incredibly bright when new.

The movement is a Rolex 17 jewel pocket watch movement. The condition is remarkably good considering itís a 50 year old plus watch that certainly has spend time underwater. So far after a week its kept perfect time. Of course that's a little hard to measure with no second hand.


A shot showing the dust cover and rear of the bridge. The rear of most of the bridges I've seen have 'Brev.' on them meaning 'patent applied for.' Panerai was granted various patents after the war, so I'm going to guess this watch was a later one after the locking device was patented.


The inside of the case back showing the model number 6152-1. That model number is also used for an earlier version with a screw-down crown. My guess is Panerai simply added the locking lever to the older style case so the cases are the same.


Finally scans of the lug areas showing the case number and model number. The case number does not seen to be consistent with published lists of Rolex case numbers versus years I've seen. But I've heard Rolex did some odd things with case numbers around WW2. Other case numbers I've seen reported for the versions with the locking device are 124650, 124644 and 124537, and all these were reported to made in 1947.

Yes, I have worn this watch. In fact I wore it 3 days straight to work and no one said a thing. The lugs are as wide as the diameter of my 7.25 inch wrist. The strap falls at near 90 deg from the lugs. The good thing is there is no tendency to ride up the wrist! It's a fun watch, and it sort of fits in my 'collection' of Rolex dive watches (ok, now I have 3 including the Panny). The main question for me is am I going to wear this monster or is it going to be an expensive paperweight? Don't know, but I like it so far.



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