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The 7 Best Swiss Military Hanowa Watches (A Buyers Guide)

Posted on April 22 2021

Swiss Military Hanowa - Are They Any Good?

There are two words that mean a lot in the world of watches.

And I don't mean 'Half Price' or 'Black Friday’.

The words are Swiss Made.

When you see those words at the bottom of a dial you bank on a well-made product. Swiss-made watches come with an expectation of quality.

Of course, you also worry that you'll have to pay more too. And it's true. Swiss watchmaking does usually cost more than Japanese, Russian and Chinese production.

But there are still entry-level Swiss brands. Several of which stand out. One of those is Swiss Military Hanowa.

Let's take a closer look.

Are Swiss Military Hanowa Watches Any Good?


Swiss Military Hanowa isn't a luxury watch brand. Let's make that clear from the start. They're not competing with Rolex, Omega and Breitling.

I'd suggest that they're not competing with the main entry-level Swiss brands either. I don't see them as competitors of Tissot, Certina and Victorinox.

Instead, you're best to judge them against more affordable high street brands, because Hanowa makes inexpensive watches - mainly powered by quartz movements.

The quality is there and the specs are what you'd expect at this price point.

They're Swiss made and use Swiss movements, although they're now part of a larger group of fashion brands. Importantly, they use the 'Swiss Military' label with the permission of its owners, the Swiss government.

Hanowa is still based in Switzerland and is a relatively young company. Particularly when compared with most of the big-name Swiss brands.

Founded in 1963 by a husband and wife team, the branding comes from the husband's name - Hans Noll Watches. Although they focus their collections around military themes - Land, Air and Aqua - they do also produce dress watches.

The Best Swiss Military Watches


They're an interesting watch company with a lot of colourful and unique models. I've picked my favourite 7 - focusing more on the functional pieces. It's where the brand does best.

Swiss Military Hanowa Flagship Racer

The Flagship Racer is a mid-sized diver's style watch. A straightforward quartz model built from a recognisable and trusted template.

It has a familiar DNA and benefits from that. This is a style you'll have seen before and it's a popular look. Hanowa has given their model a touch of colour. The green first quarter of the chapter ring and a red second hand.

I like it. It keeps the watch interesting, without losing the functional edge. The leather strap softens the look further, making this a versatile model.

But bear in mind, this isn't a true diver. The water resistance is limited to 100M. Still, it's a good place to start with the brand. It's very representative of what they do - a simple, well thought out watch.

Swiss Military Hanowa Flagship Racer 06-4161.2.04.007.06

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 9mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 


Swiss Military Hanowa Grenadier Watch

The Grenadier is an attractive and more distinctive watch than the Flagship Racer. It's is available in a variety of dial colours. This classic silver model is a beauty and my pick of the bunch.

Again, it's quartz-powered, mid-sized and has a sapphire crystal. Good specs for the price.

The dial is legible despite the similar colours of the background and numbers. And there is a clever use of red to add a little flair. The brand's logo replaces the number 12 and there is a neat date window at 3 o'clock.

Overall, this is a restrained piece and a very affordable way to get a Swiss-made watch.

Swiss Military Hanowa Grenadier 06-5330.04.001

  • 43mm Diameter
  • 10mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance

 


Swiss Military Hanowar Worldtimer Watch

This is a handsome Worldtimer that has an extra crown and can tell you the time in the world's major cities.

It's a great-looking watch that oozes vintage charm. The design is more complex than most of their others, but it's not over-complicated or cluttered.

At 44mm it's quite a large watch, especially with the extra size of the dual crowns. But it's not too big. With this much going on, the dial does need to be a decent size to remain legible.

I love the use of colour on this piece. The rose gold is prominent and is finished off nicely with red accents.

It's a tasteful watch that offers uncommon features.

Swiss Military Hanowa Worldtimer 06-4293.04.001

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 11mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


Swiss Military Sea Lion Dive Watch

The Sea Lion is Hanowa's interpretation of the Rolex Submariner. It's an affordable quartz version that mimics the Rolex, but with a couple of notable changes.

The hands, for example, are a more modern style than the Submariners. Hanowa has also opted for a canvas Nato strap.

I would caution that this isn't the cheapest Submariner homage. It's not even close.

But it is a nice watch. Particularly if you want the divers look, without worrying about the functionality. Again, the water resistance is only 100M.

It's a stylish piece, with a bold red bezel. It's not the cheapest way to get this look, but it is a Swiss-made watch. The cheaper options tend to be Chinese made.

Swiss Military Hanowa Sea Lion 06-8279.04.007.04

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 10mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


Swiss Military Hanowa Skipper Watch

There's a silver and red version of this watch that takes its design cues from the Tudor Black Bay. But this stunning black model is the winner for me.

Its blacked-out look is captivating and isn't a common aesthetic. The watch has a military vibe and conveys the impression of being built for stealth.

That's a real plus. The company is marketing itself with 'military' in the name, so the military styling is welcome.

By now you're familiar with the specs. A Swiss quartz movement, a 44mm stainless steel case and 100M of water resistance. And as usual, the dial is protected by a tough sapphire crystal.

Swiss Military Hanowa Skipper 6-5214.13.007

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 


Swiss Military Hanowa Automatic Colonel Watch

This would be my first choice for a Swiss Military Hanowa watch.

It ticks the boxes that I value. It's a very affordable Swiss-made automatic with a 41mm case. It has a simple, clean layout and an understated design.

The silver of the case and the dial is contrasted with a black leather strap. It's a smart watch, but without being too dressy.

The case is slightly angular and has a signed crown. There's an exhibition back that allows you to see the mechanical movement.

This automatic watch is one of the best value watches that the brand do. The Colonel is where I would start with the company.

Swiss Military Hanowa Colonel 5-4194.04.001

  • 41mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

Swiss Military Mountaineer Watch

Sometimes simple is best.

A successful watch design can often be achieved by keeping things basic. Making timekeeping the only function of the watch.

This field watch does this very well. It has a spartan case, a plain textured dial and large, bold markers.

Those markers and the hands have a vintage-style lume and give the impression that this is an older, military watch. It works for me.

The dial is easy to read and this is reinforced by the large sword hands. And the crown is substantial. I value that - it makes it easy to set the time. Even in the cold, or with gloves on.

It's a practical watch that still has some nice design touches. The brand's logo built into the second hand and the red on the crown for example.

It doesn't have the complications of some of the other models - or the automatic movement of the Colonel. But guess what it looks like? A Swiss military watch.

Swiss Military Hanowa Mountaineer 06-4345.7.04.007

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 10mm Thick
  • 21mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


Conclusion


In the world of watches, the words Swiss-Made mean a lot.

They're seen as a mark of quality and tend to increase the price of a watch.

But that doesn't mean that all Swiss watch brands are expensive. There are some very good entry-level Swiss brands, and Swiss Military Hanowa are among the most affordable.

They are more expensive watches than their Chinese and Japanese equivalents. There is no getting away from that.

But there are still modestly priced Swiss watches. Some, like the Colonel automatic, are very competitively priced.

So have a dig into this list. Check out the watches that I've highlighted. The Hanowa collection contains divers, field watches, chronographs and even some dress watches. There should be something that excites you.

And remember, it's the Swiss government that allows them to market their watches as Swiss Military.


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