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Pioneer MonoControl Single Pusher Chronograph

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Founded by Willy Hanhart in 1882, the brand was originally based in Switzerland and then moved to Germany. In 1924 Hanhart created the first affordable mechanical stopwatch for use in track and field. In 1938 they released their first chronograph wristwatch with a mono-pusher movement called the “Caliber 40”. This watch and similar models that followed became widely used by the Luftwaffe in WWII and then were officially issued by the West German Airforce in the 1950’s.

Pioneer MonoControl Single Pusher Chronograph

Now based in Gutenbach, Germany, which is in the Black Forest region, Hanhart continues to create very impressive chronographs and stop watches. With lines that are based on their historical models as well as new designs, such as mono-pushers, flybacks and etc. Featuring Swiss movements based on ETA movements developed with La Joux Perret, a high end complication manufacturer, and German Made cases, these small batch watches represent a value you wont find elsewhere.

The Hanhart Pioneer MonoControl is based on their 1938 "Calibre 40" model with some modern improvement. Its 42mm case is very well balanced on the wrist and actually it wears smaller than its dimensions suggest partially due to the rather short 51mm lug-to-lug dimension. Details is what makes the MonoContro's case so attractive. It is finely brushed throughout save a lip under the bezel which is polished, catching the occasional light that falls on it. Another iconic design of the Hanhart is the fluted bezel. This design dates back to the 30s. The functional bezel, rotates in either direction. Remember, during the war, everything is made for a reason. The fluting on the bezel was made for easy grip with gloves on and the bezel was used primarily for counting up or down to missions using the red marker as reference.

Satin brushed case with polished line

On the three o’clock side is the main crown and single chronograph pusher. The crown is big for sure but not without a reason. Again, a detail that is carried over from historical models, for pilot's use when wearing gloves.

The pusher's unique part is of course the single chrono-pusher and it's red ceramic cap. This is again a signature Hanhart detail that dates back to the 30s one that I am particularly fond of. The red chrono-pusher beckons to be pressed like a red start button in modern sports cars. The pusher is placed at a wider angle, sitting it closer to the lugs than normal. This positioning gives the pusher more clearance and ergonomics. Hanhart, in order to be as original as possible, redesigned the calibre by placing a large shift lever responsible for the third strike on the chrono cam. The cam is also modified so that an additional tooth is placed on its lowest level, thus controlling not two but three functions; start, stop, reset.

Mono chrono-pusher with red ceramic cap

The dial is where most of the details are as well. What Hanhart did was take the design from the 30s and modernize it. What we get is a good mix of old world military functionality and modern day sporty elegance. The black dial starts from a smooth surface with a circular graining that goes around the arabic numbers. Employing a bi-compax chronograph arrangement, the 3 and 9 are subdials for the 30-minute counter and the active seconds, respectively. The active seconds stays very true to the original, with a railroad index and numerals at intervals of 10. The minute-counter is been dressed up a bit, featuring multiple layers and a surface of circular graining. At 6 there is a date window showing a black date disk with white lettering. For such a small real estate there certainly has a lot going on.

Beating way inside the Pioneer Monocontrol is a heavily modified Valjoux 7750/3 which Hanhart names the HAN3911. The most obvious modification is of course the mono-pusher function. For those who have realized by now, the start, stop and reset function are all achieved through the red single chrono-pusher. In today’s market, rarely do you find mono-pushers in this price range.


The Pioneer MonoControl comes with a 21mm light brown leather strap with a single rivet.

In conclusion, the Hanhart Pioneer Monocontrol which is based on the 30s Luftwaffe watch managed to retain most of the the character original. Improving it modern luxury watchmaking and this watch certainly ticks quite a few boxes for us. Perhaps it is how all the details seem to be so cohesive or how the watch is full of history, the Hanhart Pioneer Monocontrol has a certain air to it and is difficult to put a finger on.

Maker: Hanhart, Germany

Movement: Swiss Made Automatic chronograph movement HAN3911 (bicompax)

Dial: Black with circular graining details.

Luminous: Superluminova. C1.

Date: 6 O'clock

Case: 316L Stainless Steel. Polished.

Crown: 316L. 9mm. Signed.

Lug: 21mm

Crystal: Domed Sapphire Crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides

Strap: Brown leather strap with single rivet

Water resistance: 100m

Dimensions: 42mm in diameter, 51mm lug to lug, 15mm thick

Power Reserve: ~40 hours

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