- The Unofficial Resource For Officine Panerai


A little late, but heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go! -> -> ->

original post by PeteJ79 on November 25 2003 at 7:15 AM


click on the pictures to enlarge


Here is my posting for my adventures all through Germany and London, and everything in between. Looking back, I accomplished a HELL of a lot for something that started off as a weekend trip for PDAY2.
I went from Chicago to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Griesheim, Griesheim to Darmstadt, Darmstadt to Griesheim, Griesheim to Nauheim, Nauheim to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Nauheim, Nauheim to Griesheim, Griesheim to Odenwald, Odenwald to Griesheim, Griesheim to Nauheim, Nauheim to Koln, Koln to Mannheim, Mannheim to Stuttgart, Stuttgart to Munich, Munich to Augsburg, Augsburg to Munich, Munich to Augsburg, Augsburg to Stuttgart, Stuttgart to Mannheim, Mannheim to Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt Airport to London, two days in London, London to Chicago. Quite a bit of my trip was spent on foot unless I found a ride, and I don’t want to think of the mileage I covered just yet. Still trying to get used to the fact that I did it, and I made it home safe without a scratch

My journey started on Wednesday November 5, 2003. Took off from Chicago in gray skies and cool weather. Popped through the cloud deck to a wonderful sunset, the first of two for me in the hours ahead. Flight time was 7 hours 10 minutes to Frankfurt, we had a good tailwind, and just to be sure to get there ASAP I told the pilot to “Punch it!”!

This was my place to sleep at Volker’s house, right next to the watch case. I heard ticking until I went to sleep, and when I woke up at night I looked straight up at the stars and passing aircraft.

This is the first time I met Ralph K., How about that? We live on the same continent, and we meet at last in Germany over 4000 miles away! He wears Volker’s 3646, which I got to play with on the way to Volker’s house from Frankfurt Airport…….MUAHAHAHAHAHA!

After meeting up, Frank, Volker, Ralph, and I made the pilgrimage to the Sinn Watch Factory near the airport. We saw lots of cool watches, and Ralph even managed to snag a GSG9, pretty cool watch man!
To prove we were there, we took pics outside as the moon was coming up, my second moonrise since I left Chicago. At this point, I had been up for 31 hours with no sleep. DUNNERKEIL!

I went to bed at around 6:30pm, and slept until almost 9:00am the next morning. Then we had a nice breakfast, and went to Frank and Esther’s place to get the plans for the day going. We drove to the Odenwald area, where we visited an old castle (1711). I was laughing too hard to get a good picture of Michael Jackson at the entrance, so Volker had to take one. The views from the tower were wonderful, weather was windy, but clear and no rain!

After an excellent lunch, and superb beer (Schmucker, my second favorite german beer), we had some leftover meat trimmings from our meal. There was a hungry german dog outside, or at least we figured he was, so Ralph fed him a little something for not barking at us.

Afterwards, we went back to P61’s pad, and he opened a few bottles of wine for us. Also, the 3646 came off the wrist of its proud owner, only to fall into the evil clutches of PeteJ79, who tried unsuccessfully to taste the radioactive compound in the sandwich dial.

A beautiful example, 3646 was addictive to look at and touch, so much history in such a small package. Could you blame me for paying so much attention to it?

If it wasn’t for this kind family, I wouldn’t have had as good a time as I had on my trip. Thank you for everything again Volker.

3 Stooges! I met Toby (Emailio), and Robert Drtilek at the Asian restaurant before the actual PDAY2 festivities. It was truly a pleasure to put faces to names and to see how much everyone has in common (besides Panerai )

Ah, Juwelier Ruschenbeck, home of PDAY gatherings the world over! Our meeting could not have taken place in a nicer location.

OLD SCHOOOOOOOL! A very nice display of vintage pieces.

Check it out! The watch is wearing its owner!! Size, Egiziano style, ohhhhh yeahhhhh!

One of my favorite models, Radiomir with 8 day Angelus movement, courtesy of Mr. Francesco Ferretti. Droooooool.

Who could ever forget how it all started? The prototype, in all its vintage glory.
(Ferretti himself fought valiantly and successfully to keep me away from the case)

Of course, what collection would be complete without a real Kampfschwimmer? With luck, I should be able to pick one of these babies up in 2079.
(I got the old school layaway plan in full effect, $1.00 a week for the rest of my life.)

Another wonderful example, belonging to Mr. Ralf Ehlers, shone like the gleam in my eye.

Two more vintage pieces, one with California dial and the other complete with Rolex crown logo.

Here, Volker presents Mr. Roessner with a truly unique gift, well deserved for a job well done.

And here is “The Teacher” himself, Mr. Francesco Ferretti, keeper of multiple holy grails.

So, at long last, I finally met “The Chief”, Mr. Angelo Bonati. A true gentleman, he is every bit the professional and friend you know from his posts on the forum. Thank you for all that you do.

Mr. Bonati reached into his bag of goodies, and pulled out a prototype orange dial Marina. I don’t even need to tell you who was on that watch like white on rice. None other than the famous MR. ORANGE!

Mr. Yellow was none too pleased when he found out that there was no yellow dial to be found, so he went undercover as Kristian Haagen to get closer to Mr. Bonati’s bag…I think he snuck into this picture so as not to draw any attention to himself as he nearly managed to convince Mr. Bonati to make a yellow dial Pam. At that point his cover was blown, and he was transformed back into the Mr. Yellow we know and love. VIE DIE BANANE! It was also great to meet Piero LaPiana for the first time, truly a pleasure.

Piero also brought me the gift of a lifetime, a signature from Mr. Emilio Bianchi, I will never part with it.
Yasushi Okawara from Japan also received a signature from Mr. Bianchi, here we are with our prized possessions.

Volker “Clean Machine” and I finally cornered Mr. Bonati for a picture together, and we were tempted to flip him over and shake him, hoping for a 1950 or two to fall from his pockets…….

Met another friend, an original Kampfschwimmer suit displayed by Ralf Ehlers. It was unbelievable to see in real life, something so rare. I took quite a few pics, and was severely tempted to try it on and play navy.

How do all the crazy people seem to find each other? We got Mr. Yellow (holding rabbit ears above the clean machine), me, Dirk Grandry, the real Kristian Haagen, and Aurelio Sisto. At this time, I admit to having consumed a bit of Kolsch, partially because it was free and kept coming, and because I didn’t want that night to end at all.

On our way out, something shiny caught my eye…In the glass case near the door, there was a 1950, and below that, a brand spanking new Tantalium! So we finally got the courage to ask to see it, and a friendly Ruschenbeck saleswoman took it out for us. I asked what the number on it was, and she replied, “No number, prototype.” Toooooooo coooooooool! So close to the door, and with 13,000 Euro on my wrist......

There was also a nifty destro just begging for a picture to be taken, so here it is:

At the Italian restaurant following the meeting, we lined up all our watches as is the custom at any Paneristi gathering, large or small. I think there were 73 if I am not mistaken. Didn’t notice at the time, but when I look back at this picture, my watch was right next to the first prototype. Maybe it was better I didn’t notice, otherwise the old switcheroo might have taken place.

After dinner, more watch talks ensued. Ralf Ehlers came by our table and found an empty seat. I managed a little more quality time with his Kampfschwimmer, which was absolutely amazing. The strap was beautiful as well, fit the watch perfectly.

After a nice breakfast the next morning, we all said our goodbyes. In the hotel lobby, Mr. Ferretti was looking for a room to keep his watches in since he, Piero, and Umberto weren’t leaving until 5:00pm that night. Since I was staying in the hotel for another two days, I let them use my room so their luggage would be safe. We all went out for a walk in Koln, and visited the Romisch-Germanisches Museum, where there were many beautiful objects from ages ago. While we were out, we went to the Lowenbrau Haus for a nice lunch, and we talked about Panerai and watches once again. “Santa” Ferretti showed his PAM21 and two other vintage pieces he had with him, and also a brand new Radiomir Chrono. Umberto Panzeri had a Breitling B-1, my father’s favorite watch. Thank you gents for a wonderful day, I’ll never forget it.

The next day I walked all over Koln, saw things I wanted to see at my own pace, just kind of took it easy. The next morning, I left Koln for Munich on the ICE train. First time on it, smooth as glass and quiet as a whisper. Nothing like the trains we have here in Chicago. Took about 3 hours to get there, on this train.

Then I continued by Taxi to my hotel. The next day I had an appointment scheduled to meet Mr. Gerd Lang, the CEO and founder of Chronoswiss watches. I took a Taxi to the factory, and there I was.

Meeting Herr Lang was another experience I will never forget, here we are in front of his “Meeting Room”; It is actually the first display they had from the Basel watch fair, and he turned it into their main boardroom. Very impressive.

Mr. Lang’s assistant gave me a tour of the factory, which was more than I could have asked for. Here is Chronoswiss’s art and advertising department:

I also got a very in depth look at the watchmakers performing their art.

Here they are testing accuracy on a new batch of Timemasters, my personal favorite. Next to that was a tray of Delphis models, all wrapped in plastic and ready for shipment.

My visit at Chronoswiss came to an end quickly, and it was time for me to go.



Click here to continue on page 2 - The unofficial ressource for Officine Panerai