Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

Hanhart Resuscitates its White Pilot Chrono with the 417 ES Moby Dick

A rare white dial version of the emblematic 417 chronograph for admirals and doctors surfaces from the past.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 2 min read |

Hanhart, the German brand that started life in Switzerland as a manufacturer of stopwatches before relocating to Germany in 1902, gained renown as a producer of Flieger (pilot’s) chronographs. In the mid-1950s, Hanhart built the 417, the first pilot’s chronograph for the German Armed Forces, with an emphasis on robustness, reliability, and readability. In circulation until 1963, the 417 was retired, allowing Hanhart to focus on stopwatches. But there was another lesser-known Hanhart 417 waiting in the wings, known among collectors as the Moby Dick. Identical in build to the 417 but with a white dial, the Moby Dick was adopted by admirals and doctors in the navy and, given its scarcity, had become a coveted collector’s piece.

The vintage watch that was used as an inspiration for the new 417 ES Moby Dick

In 2020, Hanhart reissued the legendary 417 pilot’s chronograph. While the case and dial faithfully respected many traits of its ancestor, the modern version of the Hanhart 417 ES reflected contemporary specifications with a larger 42mm, 100m water-resistant case and a Sellita manual-winding calibre. Later, a 39mm joined the collection.

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The 417 ES Moby Dick (ES stands for Edelstahl, German for stainless steel) shares identical specifications with the recently reissued 417 in black. The 42mm stainless steel case has a thickness of 13.3mm, including the thick domed sapphire crystal. Naturally, the signature Hanhart fluted bezel, which rotates in both directions, is featured, but instead of the iconic red marker found on the original, the new Moby Dick has a vintage creamy beige marker. The piston-style pushers underscore the vintage credentials of the watch, and the large crown is engraved with the historical Hanhart logo.

Based on the original 417, the white dial has a bi-compax layout, and the inscriptions – numbers and fonts – are period correct; even the arrow-tipped hand in the 30-minute elapsed time counter is historically accurate.

However, beady-eyed Hanhart fans will notice a different treatment of the numerals, respecting those featured on the original Moby Dick. The Arabic numerals representing the hours are outlined in black and filled with a creamy shade of Super-LumiNova. The same treatment is given to the pencil-shaped thermally blued hour, minute and seconds hands, the latter with a slightly bent tip to follow the curvature of the crystal.

Protected by the screw-down steel caseback, the Hanhart 417 Moby Dick, like the original, is equipped with a manual-winding movement. Since Hanhart’s original calibre 42 is no longer produced, the watch is fitted with a hand-wound Sellita SW510 calibre beating at 4Hz and a minimum power supply of 58 hours.

Fitted with a light brown calfskin strap with white stitching and a steel pin buckle, the brand offers other options in black and dark brown. The Hanhart 417 ES Moby Dick retails for EUR 1,940 (incl. 19% VAT). For more information, please visit

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