The Hanhart wristwatch started off life in Baden, Germany in 1882. Set up by Adolf Hanhart, the first small shop that sold watches and jewelry was set to become the very best manufacturer of top-quality wrist watches in the country.
Always a family affair, Hanhart's Son Willy also became a driver behind the company in the early 1900s. Eventually Will Hanhart took over the running of the business and instead of concentrating on the standard pocket and stop watches that they had become known for, he began making more upmarket quality watch movements.
Ever expanding, a new division was set up in Gutenbach that concentrated on precision chronographs. Just before the war the company came out with a special wrist chronograph pilots' watch that proved reliable and popular.
The war had a severe impact on the company, with the manufacturing plant being systematically destroyed. Hanhart did survive however, and around the early 1950s, having lay dormant for quite some time, the company sprang back into life with a product range of watches largely concentrated on military stock for the French, later for the German military forces. A large range of air service watches were made that included chronographs, alarms and other complications.
For the collector, Hanhart has made some very nice watches, especially from the pre-war and post war era. The popular pilots' chronograph (Fliegerchronograph) was made in a limited number of 2500 in 1997. Today its modern chronographs and stop-watches are sought after for their sleek lines and practical usability. A check on eBay will sometimes throw up some classic Hanhart wristwatches, but as always you have to keep your eyes peeled.
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