If the Hanhart 417 ES 1954 doesn’t help you feel like Steve McQueen, nothing willBorna Bošnjak
It’s no secret that the secret of the King of Cool is out. While the man lent his name to a Rolex reference he never actually wore or owned, his history with Hanhart has become more and more of a well-known story. The watch, a Hanhart 417 ES, remained elusive due to its approximately 500-piece production run — until now. The new 417 ES 1954 is as close of a return to original as we’ve seen, following on from the success of the 42mm version released some two years ago, with a new 39mm case.
Classic two-register layout
The two wide-set sub-dials have become a recognisable feature of the 417, though — as much as I love me a vintage piece — they’re better proportioned in the new model. Sitting ever so slightly further in, they don’t interfere with the minute track, nor cut off any numerals, which tends to be a huge pet peeve of mine. There’s also a slight step down to the sub-dials, though this isn’t overtly obvious on-wrist. The printing is super crispy, with the slightest puffiness from the lume. Big props to Hanhart for paying attention to small details like the open 6, it’s what makes the dial of the 417 ES so good.
I’m in love with these slender syringe hands, with the ever so slightly curved tips that follow the dome of the sapphire crystal. The sub-dial hands match those of the original, with the 30-minute totaliser in the shape of an arrow, while the running seconds is a baton hand. The dial isn’t fauxtina-d in any way, though the lume on the hour, minute and chronograph second hand has a green tinge — not sure about that aesthetic choice, though it doesn’t stand out too much.
Original case size
This will be the game-changer for the re-release of the 417 ES 1954. As opposed to the 42mm version released in 2020, the 39mm diameter, 13.5mm thickness and super-wearable 45.7mm lug-to-lug make it wonderfully wearable. The hairline brushing is very smooth, dominating the midcase, which is flanked either side by a polished bezel and caseback. With a knurled finish and the classic red timing stripe, the bezel is bi-directional and notchless in operation. Though smooth, I found it a little hard to grip as it’s really slim and the knurling doesn’t protrude from the case at all.
On the flip side, we see the admittedly chunky caseback, accounting for 4mm of overall thickness. While not obvious when worn, I wish Hanhart chose a brushed finished for the perimeter that sits flush with the midcase, as it would make for a less jarring transition between the two surfaces. Hiding below the bund portion of the strap, we find a bead-blasted surface with a polished Hanhart relief, proudly stating Hergestellt in Deutschland (Manufactured in Germany). Along with the more substantial case, the 417 ES gains a significant bump in water resistance, upping it to 10 ATM.
The black calfskin bund strap has a lovely bone-coloured stitch. Hanhart chose Alcantara backing instead of the more common suede, making for a really soft feel. On the bund strap, the height does grow to 15.4mm, which is a significant increase for a watch with such a compact lug-to-lug. For those who wish to wear it without the bund, the leather piece is easy enough to take off, though the lack of quick-release spring bars is an unfortunate oversight.
Modern materials, less functionality
The 1950s original housed the in-house Calibre 42, which offered a flyback chronograph function. The 417 ES 1954 replaces it with a modern Sellita SW510, losing the flyback feature, but gaining lots of ground with its modern materials and keeping the manually-wound nature of the original. With 58 hours of power reserve, it’s a valid option for the successor.
I also got some additional information regarding Hanhart’s involvement with the movement side of things. Using a Standard-grade movement for its excellent value to performance ratio, Hanhart regulates the movements in-house within 0/+8 seconds per day over 6 positions, closely competing with the specification of Elaboré-grade options.
Hanhart 417 ES 1954 pricing and availability:
The Hanhart 417 ES 1954 is available from July 8. Price: €1,980
|417 ES 1954
|39mm x 45.7mm x 13.5mm, 20mm lug width
|Box-domed sapphire crystal
|Black calf bund strap
|Sellita SW510, manual winding, 58-hour power reserve