Next we meet Felix Wallner, CEO of Hanhart manufacture in Gütenbach, Germany. Felix worked as a consultant at GCI Management Consulting in Munich before starting as Co-CEO at Hanhart in 2014.
You can read Felix’s views on business, the industry and future direction of the company.
MWM: How is business?
FW: In 2020, we launched a re-edition of our iconic 417 ES (above), which was first produced in the 1950s. Since its launch, we have seen an ever-increasing interest in our brand, and we are very excited about this. Even though we are still a small manufacture located in the Black Forest, we work hard everyday to share our passion for the brand with people around the world.
MWM: What are you currently working on?
FW: With the development of the 417 ES, we have started a long-term process to redesign our entire collection. We think the brand has a lot of potential and the rich history makes it easy for us to come up with design ideas. We are strong in aviator watches and we have a highlight coming in that area towards the end of the year. But we also think that diving watches, in addition to our PRIMUS Diver, would be a great addition to our collection – and that is why we are looking at some releases in this area this year. Right now we are not only working on new watches, but also on new technologies to make our watches even better. We are very excited about all the new developments.
MWM: Tell us something we don’t know about Hanhart?
FW: There are many things that even we don’t really know about Hanhart. The history is extremely rich, but very poorly documented, so we are constantly learning new things. Let me give you two examples: a few weeks ago, a customer contacted me with a stopwatch from us that has the Porsche logo on it. And we have no idea when it was made, who it was made for, or what the reason was. Another example is the Hanhart with a Lemania movement that a collector showed me recently (below) . The interesting thing is that it is identical to the Vintage Heuer Cortina 510.513. Also, in the 80s and early 90s, Hanhart focused on stopwatches and didn’t even make wristwatches.
MWM: Which watch do you wear?
FW: On a daily basis I wear a 417 ES 1954 with 39 mm diameter. In summertime I like my PRIMUS Diver (below) and occasionally I wear my PIONEER TwinControl.
MWM: Which watch would you like to own?
FW: A watch that I really like from aesthetics and function is the Zenith Chronomaster Original ‘El Primero’ (below).
MWM: What do you like best about the Watch business?
FW: Creating new watches. It is really fascinating to design a new watch and to work on existing collections and models. What I underestimated is how much difference even the smallest changes can make. Is the bezel too sharp? What if we make a slight angle here and polish it? What difference does it make to the look if the teeth of the bezel are designed a little differently? There are so many things to consider. It is challenging, but also very fulfilling when you are satisfied in the end with the product itself.
MWM: What don’t you like about the Watch business?
FW: What I really don’t like is the lack of transparency when it comes to movements. If you just change the rotor or a screw, you don’t have to rename the movement and leave out the manufacturer’s name.
MWM: What is next on the horizon for you?
FW: Right now we are working on a new 417 ES release and will then focus on the relaunch of our website. In April we will then meet with distribution partners from around the world.
Felix Wallner is a Friend of MrWatchMaster