Hanhart Luftwaffe Pilot Service Chronograph, with Early Serial Number 236

Type: Chronograph wristwatch

Case: Brass, brushed nickel-plated, screw-wheel one-button chronograph

Movement: Lever escapement, shockproof, column-wheel one-button chronograph

Country of Origin: Germany

Production Year: 1942

Signed: Hanhart, number 100236

This is a military chronograph (watch with a built-in stopwatch). Hanhart began producing watches in 1938 – 1939, but as such there were no special editions, instead mechanisms were brought in to be fine-tuned and refined.

An interesting thing about this watch is the serial number 100236. Hanhart began their numbering their serial numbers starting at 100000, and this serial number is very early – only 236. It is possible that it was in the first, or even the test batch. A very early case type that they used was brass, which corrodes when in contact with the skin. The company later began to use steel instead.

The rare quality of this watch is evidenced by the fact that German collectors of military watches are very protective, and strongly recommend that this chronograph is not worn, and that no restoration work is attempted – it should simply be put in a box. Nevertheless, the watch does look great on the wrist, and after servicing the movement runs like new.

The watch is large (40 mm without the crown), with a typical ‘military’ black dial and luminous radium numerals.

The brass back cover is heavily corroded, but the serial number 100236 is still clearly visible.

The dial is an unambiguous trump card – the condition is just perfect.

The date of manufacture is written on the back of the dial – July 1942.

The movement after servicing, in excellent condition.

Despite the warnings, a watch like this belongs on the wrist!

One precaution against wearing this watch regularly, is the level of radiation that the radium painted numerals emit. They only glow weekly, due to old age, but the radium in the paint is still potent, and when tested the background radiation above the dial was found to be 300 microrentgen, which is 10 times higher than the normal background radiation.

To read more about radioactive watches and how to handle them, click here.

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