The Back Story
Sometimes an accident can turn into a great watch.
During one of our meetings in Germany with the executive team at Hanhart, a comment slipped out that changed the course of our discussion for the remainder of that day.
Their comment was, "We have some historic Valjoux 23 column wheel chronograph movements which were never used to produce a watch securely stored in our safes."
And our response was, "We will take them all".
At that point the work began to create a brand new Hanhart model based upon this historic movement, but where things really got interesting was when we challenged Hanhart to modify the movement to incorporate a flyback function, a complication that was not present in their movements.
And the work began.
What is So Special About the Valjoux 23?
The Valjoux 23 is a manually wound column wheel chronograph movement from a different era in watchmaking. This movement is considered by many to be one of the best made chronograph movements of all time, and was introduced when Valjoux was not part of a watch conglomerate.
Rolex for example used Valjoux 22 and Valjoux 23 calibres (among others made by Valjoux) from 1920 to 1986, and Patek Philippe fans will also remember that the Valjoux 23 was at the heart of many of their vintage chronograph models.
In fact, the list is long of watch brands that invested in this movement to power their chronographs, and in addition to Rolex and Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet and many others built mechanical watches incorporating the Valjoux 23 calibre.
This movement was in production from 1916 until 1974.
The Flyback Complication
Although certain variations of the Valjoux 23 column wheel chronograph movement did feature a flyback function, they remain rare.
The Valjoux 23 movements stored in Hanhart's safes did not feature this complication, but because Hanhart is so identified by interesting chronograph complications including flyback we challenged the Hanhart watchmakers to modify the movement to incorporate this complication.
And they succeeded.
So the owners of this new limited edition watch will not only have one of the most interesting and historic chronograph movements, but will also have a very interesting flyback complication.
A flyback complication allows the reset of the chronograph seconds hand to zero while in motion, while ordinary chronograph movements require that the chronograph first be stopped before it is reset to zero.
We worked with Hanhart to create a very special case for this new watch, one which draws from their history. The case is made from stainless steel which is then subjected to a grey PVD / DLC process.
The result is a very interesting color not found on any other watch that we carry. The finish is satinized, and the case color is rich with a very distinctive look.
In summary they knocked it out of the park.
How Many Watches Will be Produced?
That's actually a good question and we don't know the answer.
Although your movement will be engraved as piece XX/90, we will not reach a quantity of 90 pieces.
Each of these vintage movements must be completely disassembled by a Hanhart master watchmaker with every component thoroughly examined and tested. There will be a certain number of movements that do not meet Hanhart's standards during the restoration and testing processes - only the best will be used to power this new watch.
Some movements will also be held back for parts for future servicing requirements.
Finally, adding to the complexity is the amount of time to finish the watch and movement. It takes one Hanhart watchmaker one week to complete one movement and one watch. This time includes the modification to incorporate a flyback function and the complete restoration and movement decoration processes.
Trust us when we say the final number of watches produced will be a source of pride to those who purchase this watch.
Please note that because this movement is historical and was originally built prior to 1974, it will not feature the same shock resistance or timekeeping accuracy as a modern movement.
Other features of this watch include:
- Historical Hanhart logo at 12
- Friction bezel with red inlay
- Thirty minute chronograph counter at 3
- Sweep seconds at 9
- Matte black dial with central raised area
- SuperLuminova on the hands and hours (glows green)
- Hanhart's signature red flyback button
- Sapphire crystal on front
- Transparent case back to view the Valjoux 23
This watch is fitted with a brown Hanhart calf leather strap with rivets and an engraved Hanhart matte tang buckle.