Flieger Friday: Hanhart Pioneer One

Hanhart is based in Germany’s Black forest, in a small town of Gütenbach, and is best known for its vintage pilot watches.

The company can be dated back to 1920s when it began to enter the market with mechanical stopwatches. Currently, Hanhart offers mid-priced pilots, rally car, and diver watches with vintage appeal.

In 2017, Hanhart presented the Pioneer One LE edition for U.S. market, and earlier Watchlounge Limited Edition with minor differences.  Due to popularity of the watch, Hanhart has now released the Pioneer One as a regular edition.Besides being a great three-hander watch, the history behind this watch interesting as well. The historical inspiration for this watch is the 417 ES Flyback (Caliber 42) from the 1950s.  The Hanhart Caliber 42, a ratchet wheel caliber with flyback function and manual wind, was introduced in the 1950s and was an evolution of the Cal. 40 and 41. The design of the hands and numbers of the Pioneer One are based on this iconic model. The caliber 42 was powering the Hanhart Chronograph 417 and 417 ES (the stainless-steel version), which were originally produced for the Air Force of the German Federal Armed Forces.The Pioneer One case is 42mm with satin-finished stainless steel, and has a medium height of 12mm.  The watch is available in either a black, or a white dial. Apart from the date display at 3 o’clock and the logo the dial is very clean. The classic Hanhart fluted bezel with red index marker rotates in both direction. Hanhart selected Sellita SW 200 automatic movement for Pioneer One.  The Sellita movement is gaining acceptance with collectors as many mainstream brands have been using this movement, albeit with some of their modifications.  The front sapphire crystal has anti-reflective coating on the inside.  The screwed-down case back is also fitted with a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the inside.  The watch is water-resistant to 100 meters. The watch has a lug width of 22mm and comes on a nice brown calfskin strap with rivets.Overall the Hanhart Pioneer One is a very nice everyday watch, but I should mention couple of gripes, even though these are subjective (and beauty is in the eye of the beholder).  While the date function makes it more practical to wear it every day, I would prefer a dial with no date function like the Pioneer One LE.  Secondly, an often-heard criticism from forum members – that old logo is aesthetically much more pleasing than the new logo.

Pioneer One will available now and the price is 890 Euros, or approximately $1000 USD (from Watchbuys).  You can visit Hanhart website for more information.

Photo Credit: Hanhart

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