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
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
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!
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.
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.
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?
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
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
Ruschenbeck, home of PDAY gatherings the world over! Our
meeting could not have taken place in a nicer location.
SCHOOOOOOOL! A very nice display of vintage
Check it out!
The watch is wearing its owner!! Size, Egiziano style,
One of my
favorite models, Radiomir with 8 day Angelus movement,
courtesy of Mr. Francesco Ferretti.
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
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.)
wonderful example, belonging to Mr. Ralf Ehlers, shone
like the gleam in my eye.
vintage pieces, one with California dial and the other
complete with Rolex crown logo.
presents Mr. Roessner with a truly unique gift, well
deserved for a job well done.
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.
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
brought me the gift of a lifetime, a signature from Mr.
Emilio Bianchi, I will never part with it.
Okawara from Japan also received a signature from Mr.
Bianchi, here we are with our prized
“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
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
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......
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
at Chronoswiss came to an end quickly, and it was time
for me to go.
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