One of the most important brands when it comes to pilot chronographs, Hanhart recently offers several very attractive models based on the hand-wound 417 ES concept, including a 42mm version, a compact 39mm edition and some bronze models. It’s time for the German brand to focus on classics by updating two of its most iconic models, the Pioneer MKI and MKII. Inspired by the brand’s first Pilot Chronographs, equipped with original pushers, they now return in a reversed panda style.
While the 417 ES has been the center of attention lately, let’s not forget the classics, the Hanhart Pioneer MKI and MKII, which have been in the collection for many years and remain highly attractive models. The 417 ES can be seen as the most faithful re-edition of the historic mid-1950s pilot chronograph. It’s cool, accessible, hand-wound, compact and has a lot of retro appeal. The Pioneer MKI and MKII differ slightly in their implementation. Based on the design of the brand’s first Pilot’s chronograph, Caliber 40 watches from the late 1930s, these are slightly more modern and equipped with automatic movements. Design-wise, though, there’s nothing contemporary here, just pure historic coolness.
This does not mean that the brand can add some originality. Currently, the Hanhart Pioneer MKI and Pioneer MKII are available with black or off-white dials, with matching sub-counters. The whole idea of these new editions, dubbed Reverse Panda, providing some contrast with the black base dial and white sub-counters. It certainly doesn’t completely reinvent the models but adds a bit of dynamism and lightness to the design.
Both watches are almost identical, with only one major difference to note – more on that later. This means a reasonably-sized stainless steel case with a diameter of 40mm, with a respectable height of 15mm (the automatic chronograph movement is somehow responsible here…) The case is finished with satin and polished surfaces and comes with thin, straight lugs. Totally practical, no-nonsense feel. The continuously rotatable fluted bezel, symbolized by the red marking, is, of course, included here. The case features an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, a screwed caseback, an oversized crown and a comfortable 100m water-resistance.
What separates the MKI from the MKI is the configuration of the pushers. The MKI is modeled after Caliber 40 and features a monopusher layout with a single button to start, stop and reset the chronograph. It is, of course, coated in red. The Pioneer MKII is more classic at first glance with its dual-pusher configuration, however, you’ll see that there’s some historical relevance here too, with the asymmetrical construction – the top pusher is further away from the crown. This also means that the MKI has a slightly modified movement to become a monopusher – which is done in-house by Hanhart.
Underneath the screwed caseback is another tried and tested movement, the ETA 7753. This automatic cam-lever chronograph caliber here beats at 4Hz and stores a power reserve of up to 42 hours. It displays the time and the chronograph has a central seconds and 30 minute counter.
As for the dial, in addition to the black and white style, the Hanhart Pioneer MKI and MKII show great attention to detail, with curved hands at their tip to avoid parallax errors or clever use of color. Red hands corresponding to the chronograph functions. The large cathedral hands and Arabic numerals are coated in Super-LumiNova.
The Hanhart Pioneer MKI and Pioneer MKII are worn on a 20mm calfskin strap with reverse panda pilot rivets. Optional leather straps and a steel bracelet are also available from the brand in various colors. Both watches have been released as part of a permanent collection, are not limited in production and are available now from the brand and retailers. The Pioneer MKII (Double Pusher) is again priced competitively considering its historical background and execution. EUR 1,990 And at Pioneer MKI (Single Pusher). EUR 2,090.
More details and orders at www.hanhart.com.