We just received this auction news that Hanhart is offering a 417 for an auction to benefit Ukraine. Details and our editorial with soapbox within.
Editor’s comments and soapbox
We almost never publish news of auctions in aid of charity. This is because we think that a charity auction is almost always an excuse to indulge in the speculative nature of the purchase of a luxury watch. And at the same time allow one to feel good because it goes to a good cause. Our response to the charity angle has always been – if one wants to donate to a charity, just write a cheque. No watch is necessary in return. Why almost always a piece unique? Why do the top level brands attract higher bids? If it is for the purpose of the charity, neither of these would matter. Of course, we do understand that big charity auctions like Only Watch does a wonderful job in highlighting the plight of its cause. That is perhaps the upside.
However, when we received this communication from Hanhart, we felt that perhaps for this time, we could support this move. The watch being offered is the Hanhart 417, one of the more popular watches in Hanhart’s catalog. We carried a full comprehensive review of the watch here. It is indeed a beautiful watch.
The Hanhart company is small, not super well known. Thus the speculative aspect is reduced, perhaps non-existant. The watch will not have an engraving or certificate attesting to the donation made. Nor bragging rights, despite that serial no. 1 is offered in this auction, a watch which Hanhart traditionally does not offer for sale, preferring to keep it for their museum. Hanhart is also stepping forward to donating all the proceeds of the sale to the Germany´s Relief Coaliton “Aktion Deutschland Hilft”, and will not take a cut in administrate fees of a big charity.
Also the watchmaking industry has been largely silent in our response to what is happening to Ukraine. Other than an effort by Art of Horology in a special project called “Glory to Ukraine”, we have not seen much action from the watch community. The Glory to Ukraine project is special because no watch is being offered, but rather, a special sticker for purchase. The sticker is based on a design by our friend, Fratello contributor Balazs Ferenczi who had photoshopped together a Rolex looking watch with the dial bearing the colours of the Ukrainian flag. He posted the design on his social media accounts, leading @the_art_of_horology to reach out to him to design the sticker. All proceeds from the sales go to a charity called Save the Children, which aids children caught in the conflict.
Other than these two relatively small projects, we only see that the LVMH Group who have announced that it will allocate €5 million EUR (approximately $5.5 million USD) to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to help those affected by the war. And Kering, who has stated that they will make a significant donation to the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugees Agency.
Press Release from Hanhart:
Hanhart to auction a new 417 serial no.1 for Ukraine Aid
The war in Ukraine is of great concern to all of us at Hanhart, and our thoughts are with the people who are exposed to unspeakable suffering due to the aggression of Vladimir Putin. In light of this severe situation, we want to show solidarity and contribute to humanitarian efforts to bring aid and support to Ukrainian refugees.
For this reason, we will auction the Hanhart 417 ES with serial number 1 from today on and donate the entire proceeds to Germany´s Relief Coaliton “Aktion Deutschland Hilft”. To encourage as many watch fans as possible, the auction will take place on eBay. We have set Friday, 4rd of March 2022 as starting point for the seven-day auction.
This is the first time in the history of Hanhart that the No. 1 of a serially produced watch is not being exhibited in our museum, but instead leaving the workshop in Gütenbach. With the 417 ES we have deliberately chosen our most popular model to raise as much money as possible with the auction. We will, of course, balance the fees charged by eBay to ensure that the final amount will fully benefit Germany´s Relief Coaliton “Aktion Deutschland Hilft”.
We will regularly update you on the latest from the auction on our social media channels.