Steve McQueen has certainly played his part in ensuring that the popularity of the Hanhart 417 Flieger Chronograph does not flatten out. Felix Wallner, co-managing director of Hanhart, confirmed as much. “Everyone wants Steve McQueen’s watch. We have hundreds of requests every month to recreate the 417 Flieger Chronograph,” Wallner was quoted in the Revolution magazine. In 2020, Hanhart has apparently answered those requests. The company announced a tribute to the icon. Co-responsible there was also the Revolution magazine together with the watch magazine The Rake.
And so, in late summer 2020, the Hanhart X The Rake & Revolution collaboration launched a bronze watch that would bring the original back to life. The Hanhart Bronze 417 Flieger Chronograph, in a special limited edition of only 150 pieces and confusingly similar to the original. The price: 1900 US dollars, together with a nice “Belstaff Trialmaster” jacket, of which Steve McQueen would have been proud, 2300 dollars.
I remember being quite annoyed after having to realize that the 150 audemars piguet replica watches sold out in a hurry. The Rake and Revolution, the only two stores that had offered Hanhart Bronze 417 Flieger Chronograph exclusively, were like empty-at least for now. In a pinch, I signed up for one of the sites’ newsletters to be notified on time in case there was still a chance to buy a model.
And look, persistence pays off! A few weeks ago I got an email. A watch had been found during inventory and was now for sale. Probably my luck has run out for the next three years, but at the same time of receiving the mail I had my cell phone in my hand. So: I put the watch in the shopping cart, lightened the credit card by 2000 dollars (with customs fees) and hurriedly ordered! “Happy end” you could say at this point. However, I would like to let you participate and describe my impressions in the following watch test!
What to consider when designing a remake…
When I first take a look at the Hanhart Bronze 417 Flieger Chronograph with the serial number 096/150, I am amazed. The remake in bronze garb looks confusingly similar to its great prototype. You should not underestimate how difficult it is to restore the old proportions while installing new technology inside.
A new interpretation in bronze
In addition to the perfect diameter of 42 millimeters, a characteristic feature is the narrow case height, which gives the Hanhart Bronze 417 Flieger Chronograph such a sporty look. “This took a lot of effort as we wanted to incorporate a more practical hand- wound chronograph movement, the Sellita SW 510”, Felix Wallner explains.
The original model from the 1950s featured a brass case that was coated with chrome. The coating is heavily worn on the surviving models, which gives the quality replica watches a quite special charm. This combination of materials, now rare in the watch world, has given way to a material that is currently more fashionable than ever. “First, we selected bronze as a case material. We had the choice between bronze CuSn8, which tends to patina quickly […] versus the far more stable aluminum bronze”. The Hanhart design team decided to go with the quickly developing patina, which embodies more of a vintage feeling and makes each watch unique. This oxidation process can also be seen on my 417. Each new day, the watch looks a bit more historic. Fascinating, in my opinion! Moreover, it reminds me a bit of the gold-tone brass of the old watches.
Hanhart already proved that they know a lot about bronze watches with the Hanhart PIONEER One Bronze, which I was also allowed to test for you. As with that model, Hanhart has managed to process the trendy material to a very high standard with the Bronze 417 Flieger Chronograph.