The Hanhart 417 ES Moby Dick recaptures the vibes of a historical rare bird The Hanhart 417 ES Moby Dick recaptures the vibes of a historical rare bird

The Hanhart 417 ES Moby Dick recaptures the vibes of a historical rare bird

Tom Austin
  • Hanhart are back with their latest vintage reissue, the 417 ES Moby Dick, paying homage to the ultra-rare 1950s original
  • A pilot’s chronograph, the 417 ES Moby Dick features a 30-minute timer on a vintage-inspired white dial
  • A rare sight on pilot’s chronographs, the watch features a fluted rotating bezel to assist timing

Steve McQueen was one of those megastars with whom any watch brand would love to be associated with. It’s widely known that McQueen often wore a Submariner (on his right wrist, naturally) and, of course, the esteemed Monaco from the movie Le Mans. However, McQueen had another watch with which he was seen wearing much more, but not many people noticed. That watch was the Hanhart 417. A German-made pilot’s chronograph from the 1950s, of which only around 500 were made. Some of the most iconic photos of the King of Cool have the watch hiding in plain sight, which makes it even cooler if you ask me. Anyway, enough about Steve McQueen. During its limited run in the 50s, there was a handful of watches made with a white dial which are now extremely collectable and fondly named “Moby Dick” by collectors. Now in 2024, Hanhart has reissued this historic chronograph and carried the nickname with the 417 ES Moby Dick.

hanhart 417 es moby dick wrist

If you like vintage-style chronographs, the Moby Dick will tick all the boxes. At first, looking at the numbers, you may think it’s a little on the large side, at 42mm wide and 13.3mm thick, and in some ways, you’d be correct, but that is the intention. It is a pilot’s watch, after all, and the original 417 was considered large, even by 1950s standards, at 39mm. The modern version’s thickness, however, is largely down to the high-domed sapphire crystal; without, it takes the watch down to a much more palatable 11.55mm.

hanhart 417 es moby dick case profile

This gives the stainless steel case an almost slim appearance, with thin curved lugs and neatly brushed finishes everywhere. The material accounts for the ES in the Moby Dick’s name – ES stands for the German word “edelstahl”, which is the translation for stainless steel. The bezel is a rare sight on a classic pilot’s watch, given that it rotates both ways. Other Hanhart chronographs feature a similar bezel but with a red marker, rather than the Moby Dick’s white. I would add that this may affect its functionality a little, as it’s not so easy to see at a glance, but it’s a nice touch nevertheless, especially the fluting. Finishing the case are two distinct, classic round chronograph pushers and a large crown for winding and setting.

hanhart 417 es moby dick dial close up

In true vintage style, it’s a mechanically wound watch, using a Sellita SW510 M movement. As far as a chronograph movement goes, it’s a solid and reliable one at that, with a cam actuator, running at 4Hz and offering a power reserve of up to 58 hours. Above the movement sits the bright white “Moby Dick” dial, with the historic Hanhart logo at 12. The bicompax arrangement has a 30-minute sub-dial at 3, and a running seconds dial at 9 o’clock, making for a tidy, well-balanced overall look. The printing is sharp, highlighting especially the lumed, numeral hour markers and the minute track, contrasting brilliantly against the pure white. Finishing off the dial is a set of lumed syringe hands – naturally, these are blued for the full vintage effect. Finally, the watch is finished on a brown calfskin strap with a steel pin buckle. It’s fair to say the Moby Dick would approve of some choice strap swaps, though it might be a tad harder considering the 21mm lug width.

The Hanhart 417 ES Moby Dick captures the essence of the original, while keeping things fresh. It’s not that often you find vintage-style chronographs with a white dial, but Hanhart has done well to reintroduce the Moby Dick without making it look like it’s trying too hard to be vintage. Thankfully, there’s no faux patina, something I’m glad to see less of on classically styled watches today. It’s a capable timing device, too, with a solid movement, an extremely legible dial, and functional controls. The icing on the cake is that it looks cool as hell, and wearing it might just make you feel a tad McQueenish, if you try hard enough.

Hanhart 417 ES Moby Dick pricing and availability

The Hanhart 417 ES Moby Dick is available from Hanhart from February 23rd, 2024. Price: €1,940 (including 19% VAT)

Brand Hanhart
Model 417 ES Moby Dick
Reference Number H721.202-020 (medium strap)
H721.202-021 (large strap)
Case Dimensions 42mm (D) x 13.3mm (T)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal front and back with AR coating
Dial White with historical logo and Super-LumiNova
Strap Brown calfskin, white stitching and steel pin buckle
Movement Sellita SW 510 M, manual-winding, cam-operated chronograph
Power Reserve 58 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph
Availability From February 23rd 2024
Price €1,940 (including 19% VAT)