Another pandemic year is almost over and I hope you read this new entry of my small blog in good health. As always I am writing only about watches I bought myself for my personal collection – no paid content.
Like 2020 the year 2021 for me was a year with a lot of new watches. At the end of the year I was thinking about my personal favourite of my new watches. This wasn’t an obvious nor an easy choice looking at my new additions. So what’s the winner? I chose the Serica 5303, a watch and a company you may never heard of before. So let’s first have a short look at the company. Serica is a very young company founded by French watch enthusiast Jerome Burgert. He showed his first watch in 2019 and the 5303 is the second watch in the collection. The name makes a nod to the first Submariner which was released in March 1953. But the spiritual ancestors of this watch are in the golden 60s, a decade of many, many diver watches especially in France. All of this brands vanished a mere 10 years later in the quartz crisis. Some of them are reborn in the last years as completely new companies using the old names, like Yema, Wolbrook, Jaques Bianchi or Le Forban. Some seem to be vanished forever and you may have never heard of them like North Star, Relliac or Jean Louis Fresand. But the terminus “French Skindiver” survived meaning a small watch for snorkeling. Jerome Burgert did not resurrect one of the old names but created a new name: Serica.
In the 5303 Serica put all this history together, mixed some design elements from this period like hands and big crown with modern elements like the steel/ceramic bezel and a really nice dial to create a modern skindiver. Although a watch expert can easily spot the traditional elements from other brands this is a true unique watch, a “face in the crowd” – and that’s the reason why I bought it. The dial is unique, the lugs are very special (though not unique) and the bracelet is very unique. At least I have never seen a milanaise bracelet tapering from 20 to 16 mm with fitting endlinks.
The movement also is not your obvious choice of Sellita, Seiko or Miyota but the new Soprod Newton. The Newton is available in two qualities N4 and N7, the number meaning the allowed defiance in seconds per day. Serica chose the better N4, so the watch does have Chronometer accuracy although it’s not COSC certified. The movement has a cross-through balance bridge, a double-cone shock-proof system and a cotes-de Geneve decorating which you don’t see because of the solid caseback.
I made a preorder of this watch in August 2021 for delivery in October. I got it deliverd at the end of November, mainly because the first delivery of the bezels had a quality issue. Gladly Serica decided not to deliver the watches but to wait for perfect bezels – and they are perfect! Communiation was made about this several times, so the customers were always informed. As the watch arrived I really liked the packaging. The watch comes in small jewelry case like some sort of expensive diamond bracelet and with a “Serica” seal. Truly made with love and taste!
Taking the watch on the wrist is a bit flimsy. You may have some difficulties at first attempt. But having it on the wrist it’s a very comfortable watch with perfect size. Diameter is 39mm, length is 46,5 mm and height only about 12mm. The customers can choose between left-handed crown at 9 o’clock or right-handed crown at 3 o’clock. Although I am wearing my watches on the right wrist I chose the “normal” crown position at 3 o’clock. Those “lefties” look strange in my eyes…but it’s your choice. The bezel with minutes and hours can be used to show a second time zone. My watch runs with an accuracy of 2,5 sec/24h. The watch – like every real skindiver – is a strap queen. It will look gorgeous on Nato or rubber straps. But I think the best look is with the unique milanaise stock bracelet. The watch on this bracelet is really the French Skindiver reborn.
It’s been almost half a year since my last article. Watches did come and watches did go. I decided to slow down a bit with my media. Two things are the same as ever: I only write about watches from my personal collection and the blog is not sponsored in any way.
The watch I will talk about today is one real classic although some of you may never heard of it: The Hanhart 417 ES. Let’s first have a look at the company.
Hanhart was founded in 1882 in Diessenhoffen / Suisse, a small town near the German border. In 1902 the company moved to Schwenningen in Germany and from now on Hanhart is a true German company. Schwenningen in the Black Forest was one of the capitals in watchmaking in the beginning of the 20th century. In 1924 Hanhart released the first of this type of watches they became famous for, their first stopwatch. Used to measure times in athletics, the former stopwatches were expensive pieces. Hanhart created the first affordable piece and produced them in an industrial level. From this time on Hanhart was the word leader in mechanical stopwatches and you can buy both mechanical and electronic sportwatches until today.
Having this know how it was no surprise Hanhart released their first wristwatch with a chronograph complication only a few years later in 1932. In 1957 the model 417 was released in two versions: a chrome plated brass model and a stainless steel version called 417 ES. ES meaning “Edelstahl” the German word for stainless steel. In the same year it became the first pilot chronograph of the airforce section of the German forces (“Bundeswehr”). That’s why it’s nicknamed “Bundeswehr Chronograph”. A piece of this watch found it’s way to Steve McQueens watch collection and he frequently wore it at motorcycle racing. It is said, that this was the favourite piece in his collection.
In 2020 Hanhart released a reissue of this famous watch and gave it the same name: Hanhart 417 ES (of course, there is no brass version today). They increased the size from 39mm to 42mm – the only thing I don’t really like on this reissue. I think they should have stayed to the original dimensions. At least for my 17,5 cm wrist.
Hanhart is a very small company today and did not have the ressources for an inhouse watch movement like in 1957. So while the original Bundeswehr Chronograph has a real Hanhart movement in it (Caliber 42) the new watch has a Sellita 510. A reliable workhorse with a handwinding mechanism like the Caliber 42. The movement allows to keep the height at a comfortable 13mm, the length lug to lug is 49 mm. The extremely clear an legible bicompax dial makes this watch a timeless stunner. The logo is the historical logo of Hanhart used in the 50s and 60s. Typical for Hanhart is the red dot on the rotating bezel to mark a fix point in time. With a price tag of 1,750 Euro it is very reasonable priced. I don’t think you can get a better executed chronograph for this amount of money. With excellent finishing, outstanding design and rich history it’s in fact a bargain to my opinion.
The perfect match to this watch is the black “Bund” strap, but if you don’t like this you can get a different strap. I strongly recommend the “Bund” strap not only for it’s perfect look but it feels very comfortable too. No matter which strap you choose, the watch comes with a very nice and soft black leather watch roll.
From the first release date the Hanhart 417 ES was a big success in Hanhart’s portfolio and so you will have to wait some time until you can get one – the production is sold out for months. But believe me it’s worth the waiting.
Since six weeks now I am publishing watch reviews on my blog. But it’s more than two years now since I posted my first picture on my Instagram account mpbene6110. Speeking in Instagram language I am part of the #watchfam. A really huge family, everybody I asked to guess how many people post watches on Instagram underestimated the number by far. A man’s world for sure, but some women are part of the family too…
But who are these people posting watches as a part of their life? What are their favorite watches and watch brands? Which is their dream watch? To celebrate my tenth blog entry I asked six members of the #watchfam five questions to find out something about this huge family. All members are long time followers of my account and vice versa. All have more than 1,000 followers.
So here are the five questions first:
Tell us a few words about yourself…
What’s your current favorite watch and why?
Do you have a special watch you would never sell?
Please name two watch brands you like very much and tell us why
What’s your dream watch (think of a watch you maybe will buy in the next 3 years once you have the money)
This blog entry contains much more words compared to my watchreviews, hope you like it nethertheless! I really appreciate the content from my Instagram friends, a big THANK YOU to you for answering my questions!
A) @aboutwatches_UF – Germany
A few words about myself: My name is Andreas and I am into watches, especially Diver Watches, since 10 years now. Since 2013 I am an active member of the Uhrforum and since beginning of this year I have my own feed on Instagram, where I have met a lot like-minded people already. I like OMEGA, SEIKO and interesting Microbrands
My current favorite watch: My all-time-favorite is my OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300m – 184.108.40.206.03.001. It was a Birthday Gift from my wife. I grew up with James Bond with his OMEGA Seamaster – so this watch has always been iconic for me. I love the glossy dial with the applied logo of this above reference.
The watch I would never sell: I think it is my SEIKO Monster, the SRP315,with an orange / black dial – a 2nd generation Monster. This one was my first SEIKO ever and it travelled with me to a lot of places, all over the world.
Two watch brands: Right, OMEGA and SEIKO would be too obvious now, so let’s dive into Microbrands. GRUPPO GAMMA: I really like their development and admire their efforts in becoming a big brand (have you seen their Nexus!? Just Wow!) BOREALIS: Always surprising me with an extraordinary design and always delivering high quality. That is what I do expect from Microbrands.
The dream watch: I don’t have a real Dream Watch. But I do have “Watch List”. And on the top there is the new, blue SEIKO Marinemaster 300, the SLA023J1. This one will come for sure. Sooner or later.
B) @mattheram – UK
A few words about myself: My name is Matt I’m from the UK and have been passionate about watches since I was young. I enjoy all sorts of watches from tool watches to dress watches and everything in between. I love taking pictures so instagram is the perfect outlet.
My current favorite watch: Currently my favourite watch is the Timex Q it have a lovely vintage vibe but modern build and reliability. The colours and case shape is wonderful and the bracelet is just beautiful for the price it’s hard to beat
The watch I would never sell: My Rolex submariner Kermit I would never sell. It has sentimental value and memories attached.
Two watch brands: Zenith and Grand Seiko are two watch manufactures I love. Both create stunning pieces of art that are also wonderfully functional.
The dream watch: Probably a Zenith El Primero. I’ve lusted after one of those for many years. It’s a timeless piece and looks beautiful.
C) @meteorite16 – USA
A few words about myself: I am an environmental professional, and have lived in New England my entire life. I have had a watch for as long as I remember in childhood but for some reason or another stopped wearing them entirely for about 15 years. A few years ago, I was looking to purchase a smart watch…but saw an interesting and affordable automatic dive watch that called to me. That watch rekindled my enjoyment of wristwatches, I never ended up buying a smart watch, and it has been a wild ride ever since.
My current favorite watch: My current favorite watch is the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Diver (ZO9275). I love the more vintage feel and size it has, while still being a solid modern looking tool watch. I am especially fond of the details of the colorway as it has the most brilliant blue dial! I love bright colors that are put together in a cohesive manner and for me this one does it.
The watch I would never sell: There are several, but the one that has the most sentimental value is my Hamilton Khaki Automatic from about 1994. I received it as a college graduation present from my parents and wore it for several years as my nicer watch when I wasn’t wearing my G-Shock.
Two watch brands: Such a difficult question…I am particularly fond of microbrand/independent watch companies (while still appreciating more horologically significant brands). I feel a number of microbrands push the envelope of design to places the mainstream brands wouldn’t be able to go, while providing solid specifications and quality construction. If I had to choose just two, I would say at the moment Farer and Seiko (I know, not a micro, but has a lot of those qualities while still having abundant and significant history).
The dream watch: The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer
D) @strixpixmix – Poland
A few words about myself: My professional activity is related to broadly defined activities in the field of Internet promotion. Watches and photography have been my hobby for many years, that’s why I decided to publish photos of my watches on Instagram. I’m interested in a thousand other things, but let’s leave it for another interview 😉
My current favorite watch: I have a few watches that I love almost the same, although they are designed for different occasions. If I have to choose one … let it be Dan Henry 1964 Panda … and Dan Henry 1964 Evil Panda version …:)) I love them both equally.
The watch I would never sell: Yes, I have one watch that is special to me and will remain in my collection forever. This is the first generation Seiko Orange Monster. I bought it more than 10 years ago and I’m still crazy about this watch. The next generations of Seiko Monster no longer have the spirit of the first gen.
Two watch brands: I am a visual person, I love watches that are visually interesting and I do not pay attention to the brand. My collection consists of about 30 affordable watches, but it is very difficult for me to choose only two brands that I like the most. But if I have to, let it be Seiko and Dan Henry Watches. Seiko, in its rich offer, has several models that are really great. And I like almost all Dan Henry watches. Dan just has a great feel and taste in terms of watches, which coincides with what I like.
The dream watch: I love the Rolex Day Date design, especially blue dial version, but it might be as well Orient Day Date ref. 2EV03001D with gorgeous dark blue sunburst dial :)) which is no longer produced. If Orient does not reissue this watch, I do not exclude the purchase of Rolex Day Date one day. But this is the only watch that exists on which I would spend much more than on any watch the past 10 years or even all of them put together :))
E) @timemiser63 – Southern North America
A few words about myself: My name is Tim and I live in the southern part of North America. I was raised to be honest, work hard and respectful of others; during a time when life seemed a lot simpler. Some may say I’m old, but I prefer, experienced. I actually got into watches, while attending a knife show, when I saw a woman, wearing a Seiko “Orange Monster”. I became obsessed with that watch and the rest is history.
My current favorite watch There was a time, that I could not have picked a favorite watch. That changed when I acquired my Seiko SBDX001 Marinemaster about 6 years ago. This was my grail watch for such a long time and it did not disappoint. This watch has four of the most important features to me; Aesthetics, Quality, Originality, and Robustness. There is not much room for improvement, in my opinion and is pretty close to perfect. It fits my 7.5″ wrist like a glove and I have yet to tire of it.
The watch I would never sell: I have a lot of watches that I would never sell. There is one though, that is very special to me. It is my Great Grandfathers 1915 Elgin, “Father Time”, professional grade railroad pocket watch. It is beautifully decorated and adjusted to 5 positions for accuracy. It was his most cherished possession and now it is one of mine.
Two watch brands: My favorite watch brands would have to be Seiko and now…Tudor. (I am only speaking, from what I have owned.) Seiko, for everything I mentioned previously and to add, it’s all done in-house. Even their price point is good, although it’s been climbing in recent years. Tudor is relatively new to me, having only owned the Black Bay Black for a little over a year. There is an obvious defining quality and heritage there, that is hard to match. Although this is not surprising considering its big brother.
The dream watch: A dream watch or holy grail, can mean different things to different people. For me it is something typically unrealistic, such as an A. Lange & Sohne, rose gold, Saxonia Datograph 405.031. Yes I have drooled over this one for some time. As far as attainable “Goal” watches; hopefully there will be an Omega P.O. chronograph in my future or a Breitling Avenger II chronograph in Titanium or maybe a Tudor Pelagos. There is a Grand Seiko on my wish list as well. There may be others that could also come into play. There is no rush though, as I am happy with my collection and everything else that comes along, is just icing on the cake.
F) @tobbensvensson – Sweden
A few words about myself: My name is Torben Svensson, 50 years old, married to Marita. I have three wonderful children, all grown up and have left home, busy building their own lifes. I`ve been a banker all my working time, over 25 years in SEB and Vimmerby Sparbank (a local bank) together. Until year 2015 I got sickpension for a severe neckinjury. I’ve been operated on twice, but no success! From then on I look after myself and my family.
My current favorite watch: Easy my Rolex Explorer2, ref nr 216570, polarwhite from 2019/08. A classic versatile sportwatch. Why: it’s my first ever luxury watch, I got it for my 50th birthday, and when I got lucky at a swedish AD my whole dream came through!! A big day for me. I love the history behind the Rolex Explorer2, the evolution of the watch from the first Rolex Explorer2, ref nr 1655, launched in year 1971
The watch I would never sell: My 40th birthday watch, a Diesel Quartz watch DZ1273, bought in San Francisco. This watch was the watch which made me get into collecting watches and being a watchenthusiast. Ten years ago now. I’ve always been interested, but from then on I was hocked!! I will never sell this watch. I don’t care if it’s a fashion watch, I have a lot to thank this watch for! I’ve gained a lot of friends because of this watch and have wonderful memories connected to this comfortable quartz watch!
Two watch brands: Obviously it’s the Rolex brand that first comes to mind. I love it because Rolex have a lot of different models in their portfolio. Also because it’s a luxury watch you can buy, it’s obtainable – dreamwatches you can achieve! The second watchbrand I want to mention is a microbrand called SWC, the Swiss Watch Company. In 2018 they launched a own line of swiss made diver watches, with a date complication and a diver chronograph! The founder Stephen Roemer founded the company in year 1996. First he made watches to the army and firstresponders, from year 2008 he also started to manufacture watches for other big watchbrands. I love the watch; also I’ve become good friend with Josh Roemer, the son from Stephen. He handles all the social media within the company! Maybe this is why I love my SWC Diver, my personal connection to the watchbrand – marvelous!
The dream watch: I’m boring you if I say a Rolex Master II Pepsi or the Batgirl, but I have an eye out for these two! To buy a Rolex, keeps me safe! I’m not going to lose any money, I feel very secure with my money when I buy a Rolex as an investment piece! Another piece I’ve had my eye on – this will be my best answer to you – the Zenith El Primero Original 1969, 42mm. Because this will be my birthyear watch, I was born in 1969!! The first automatic chronograph which operates in a high beat movement, 36.000 VpH!! Such elegance and sporty looks!
A few words about myself: I live in Germany, married, one child. I am a watch collector since about 1985
My current favorite watch: My new Grand Seiko Titanium Diver; a dream came true this year
The watch I would never sell: The 20 year old Seiko 5 from my late father
Two watch brands: Number 1 is easy: Seiko because of history, innovation, value for price. To name a number 2 is impossible, there are many other brands I like. History is always important, therefore I am not a big fan of microbrands
The dream watch: After owning the Grand Seiko now it’s difficult…for sure a Doxa Searambler will come and maybe a second Grand Seiko or a Tudor Black Bay.
I am long-term watch enthusiast. Over the years I owned about 100 watches from all price ranges. My credo: Emotion is everything, when it comes to watches. Yes, there are bad watches, yes, there are cheap watches, yes there are luxury watches. But the joy and pride of the owner is all that counts, no matter the price.
So what can you expect? First of all photos (see also my Instagram account mpbene6110). Then some reviews. Then some opinions on watches that I didn’t have the time to make a review.
You will notice in no time, that Seiko is my favorite watch brand. I like the history, the value-for-money in every price range and … well maybe… I am bit Japan biased. But nethertheless I own other watches from other brands, German and Swiss. So it’s not only Japan.
A word about wristshots: Have in mind, that watches often appear bigger in wristshots because of short distance and wide angle lenses. My wrist is about 17,5 cm