Hanhart PRIMUS Desert Pilot watch review

Published on 9 July 2023 at 22:19

For the start - I must admit that the watch that I am going to present here came to my attention by a coincidence. Even though I know the brand Hanhart well (Hanhart plays an important part of my alarm collection) I did not follow what the company is doing now. Until Mark from the Seriouswatches.com company within our conversation about the purchase of my Formex watch mentioned that Seriouswatches would become a Hanhart official dealer. So - I checked what Hanhart has to offer. And - I was quite impressed and intrigued with what I saw. A whole bunch of different chronograph collections, most of them inspired by chronographs developed and issued in the late 1930's. I strongly recommend reading the short history of Hanhart to better understand the design of the present watches.

What really knocked me down and pushed me to the purchase were two things - first is the fact that one collection is called Primus (what is basically the root of my first name) and the second is the fact that I found - at least for my taste - one real eye catcher between this collection. This eye catcher is a Desert Pilot. 

Two versions of the Desert Pilot were available at that time. A standard edition (which I at the end purchased and is reviewed here), and a special edition, limited to 100 pieces, where the case is black DLC coated plus a knife is added to the package. I liked the special edition more, but the black coating made me thinking and also the price difference was a bit high. Before I made my mind the special edition was sold out.

So, let's now move to my new watch. What makes it so special to me? At first it is the beautiful  sand colored dial which is fully combined with the strap. But then there are a lot of other tiny details which are very unique. If we look closer, the dial has a very interesting multi part structure. And hour and minute hands are also very specific. They are hollow and not filled with luminova but instead edges are covered with quite a rare choice - a black luminova.

From the vintage Hanhart chronographs a red dot on the top of the (fixed) bezel and a red chrono reset pushers were taken. Both works well on the watch and adds to the watch differentiation to the majority of the chronographs there are on the market. So, all stated, together with the sandblasted case, really gives a quite specific final look of the watch.

Watch is otherwise a classic chronograph from a 7750 family (official declaration of the movement is HAN3809). I can only add that movement is very well calibrated and works within -2 to +4 seconds (depends on the position of the watch). Constant wearing for one week produced +4 second in the whole week. So more than satisfying!

Desert Pilot is relatively big watch, with it's 44mm diameter and 15mm heigh. The fact is that the case itself is not so big, but the fixed bezel goes over the case and that adds almost 2 mm to the diameter. What is interesting, 24mm lugs are not fixed, they rotate for around 70 degrees, In theory that should help that the case and the straps can fully adopt to different wrist sizes. I will talk about the reality latter.

Declared water resistance is 10 ATM, to be honest, I did not even try to swim with the watch. Not that I do not trust declared resistance, but I did not want to go into the water with the original strap. The inner inlay of the strap is for sure not very suitable for swimming.

To conclude with the basic description, let me just add, that I also like the sapphire glass back plate. The main glass is of course also sapphire with anti reflexive inner coating.

All those facts can be more or less seen on the factory's web shop and the description of the watch. The first impression of the watch is also great. But, after a while, when I focused on a details and a closer look with the magnifier, I found a series of imperfections, too much for such a brand. Take a look for a main ones on the following photos.

The most noticeable is the first one, a very poor luminova smeared on the left totalizer. Even I can notice this mistake with a naked eye, without reading glasses.  Then we have a white spots on the number 3 and on a top index mark on the right totalizer.  For the end, the down edge on the upper triangle of the main dial is also scratched. All three stated mistakes can not be seen easily with a naked eye, the less noticeable one is the triangle scratch which can be seen only under specific the angle view.

Quite a disappointment is also the textile strap. One would expect a textile strap to be soft and comfortable, the truth is quite the opposite. It is very stiff, and has a strong reinforcements on the upper part. The deployant clasp gives it no help. Clasp is very long and together with the stiff strap it is almost impossible to fit the strap to round the wrist well. Even the good idea of rotating lugs can't help that. But I have to congratulate the idea of a small red marking on the top of the clasp which is fully in line with the other red details on the watch itself.

There is one additional tiny detail that bothers me on the strap. The holes on the strap are made with metal rings, which is in general a fine idea on how to protect the strap against tearing it. The side effect of those metal rings is that every time you unfasten the clasp, the rings fall out from the clasp and you need to fit the strap again. Very annoying. 

What I like about the strap is the fact that the textile seems to be more of a nylon or similar material, which washes easily. As you can see from the photo, I was able to get the strap dirty and with such a delicate colour, dirt can be seen at once. But that dirt was removed very easily, the dirt does not go deep into the strap.

On the photos on the left you can see how the watch fits on my wrist in two different position of the holes. As said, I have serious problems fitting it comfortably. My wrist size is just in between two settings of holes. So either it is a bit too tight either the watch stick out of the wrist. If you are lucky and your wrist just fits to predefined holes, the watch might sit good on your wrist...

I deliberately wore a watch in a too tight position as long as I was able to do so and I think that after a week or two of constant wearing I was able to soften a strap a bit and kind of extend it. 

I already mentioned a black luminova used on a hands and also in the dial. Hanhart is very fair and on their web pages there is a warning that the black luminova fades soon and that is in fact the truth. In theory luminova looks nice in the dark but in reality luminova is almost useless, it is is notecable only for a few minutes. Then it diminishes. 

Watch is packed in a leather pouch within a cartoon box. Nothing fancy, yet effective.

Official price for this watch is 2.750 EUR (with German taxes included). For a 7750 watch, not the cheapest but also not too expensive - if watch would be flawless. However for this price Hanhart should simply not afford itself to issue a watch with such an imperfections! Such a brand with a rich history should pay more attention to  details.

At the end I would just like to thanks Mark from Seriouswatches for all his help in purchasing this watch. It is always a pleasure to make a deal with him.


P.S.: Please check it here, what has happened after this review was published....

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