Hanhart Factory Tour
Conjure up in your mind if you will, your image of a ‘perfect watch factory’, perhaps it is nestled in snow-capped mountains, steeped in horological history, rich in watchmaking experience, know-how and dating back through decades of rich tradition…
In actual fact we had no idea what to expect as we left the plane at Stuttgart, climbed into our car and headed off towards the Black Forest.
However, when we arrived at the headquarters of Hanhart, even our best hopes were surpassed.
Tucked away in the small and picturesque village of Gütenbach, this Art Deco factory is a time capsule. And we mean this, literally. Stepping through the minimalist 1950’s style entrance, the first things you notice are the small cabinets displaying key items from the company’s history; stopwatches, pilots watches and all manner of mechanical and electrical timing machines.
We are greeted by the young and enthusiastic Hanhart team. Our hosts lead us to an amazing lift with no sides which whisks us up through the four stories of the factory to the administrative level. And as you make this journey, you travel literally through Hanhart’s history.
Stopwatches have been a Hanhart speciality and at the heart of the firm’s business for many years. We note that today Hanhart are incredibly the sole manufacturer in Europe. Timers' are so relevant to all aspects of life today and at Page and Cooper we supply mechanical stopwatches to the BBC, ITV, horse race trainers, athletes and many more.
It is amazing how much of the production is done in-house; base plates, mainsprings, cases. All are manufactured entirely by Hanhart in Germany. And all are manufactured by hand. You will never look at a Hanhart stopwatch in the same light again. Mechanical stopwatches working just as intended by Swiss born athlete Willy Hanhart in 1924.
Parts found here include those from former years still stored in original boxes dating back over 50 years. Hanhart tell us that they have never found a better way to store parts than in these robust boxes which still have years of service left.
Via the lift we travel through time again, alighting at the thoroughly contemporary Hanhart museum. This wonderful horological museum shows the many timers and watches from Hanhart’s past showing how innovative and creative the company have been at all times. We see the original Hanhart house chronograph watch movement for which the company still retain original parts and drawings.
Adjacent to the museum is the place which will hold the greatest interest for Page and Cooper customers. The watchmaking room. Here in this bright and modern studio are just two watchmakers. Enis and Andy. They produce just 1000 watches a year. And every one to order! Yes, incredibly all Hanhart watches are bespoke and built by a team of two. And, just in case we should have to return your watch for service, or warranty it will go back to the same person who created it!
And now, at last we have a chance to sit down with Simon, technical CEO, and talk Hanhart. We agree that you can only appreciate the true beauty and attention to detail that Hanhart exhibit when you see one. Although based on ETA movements, many modifications are introduced by Hanhart in order to offer a unique product to the watch fan. Bi-compax dials, monopushers and even rattrapante and flyback complications.
All of these ‘extras’ involve serious watchmaking skills and call for a high degree of skill. They involve a degree of detail which in our opinion we don’t think enough people know about Hanhart.
When discussing the future of watchmaking with Simon it is heart-warming to know that there are still watchmaking schools nearby training the next generation of Hanhart watchmakers.
Hanhart are a long established watch brand who rightly deserves to be more widely known. At Page and Cooper we have built a warm and personal relationship with the company. A meticulous and limited production ensures exclusivity and we truly believe that Hanhart are a unique find for those looking to add a historic, influential watch and very competitively priced watch to their collection.
You can watch some behind the scenes footage of our factory tour here: