50 years ago, the Austrian Air Force purchased an order of Saab 105 fighter jets from Sweden. Often referred to as the “S 105”, the Saab 105 might seem like an obscure aircraft to an American audience, but it was a mainstay of the Swedish and Austrian air forces for decades. As a matter of fact, a modernized version of the S 105 is still used as a training aircraft by the Swedish air force today.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Austria’s purchase of the S 105, Swiss-German watchmaker Hanhart has released a set of three limited-edition watches. There are only 105 of each variant available, so when I say “limited”, I do mean limited. The first is the S-Series S 105 OE GMT, which is based on the S 105 OE, the variant that was delivered to the Austrian Air Force. This is the one I have, so it’s the one I’ll be reviewing.
The other two models are similar in terms of being high-contrast aviation watches, but there are a few important differences. The first is the S-Series S 105 OE. This variant is nearly identical to the one I’m reviewing, but has a 60-minute outer index instead of a 24-hour outer index. The SK 60 GMT is based on the Swedish Air Force version of the S 105, and features orange second and GMT hands rather than white.
For the dial on the S-Series S 105 OE GMT, Hanhart has decided to keep things as simple as possible. The minutes are marked off by fine white hashes, with large white Arabic numerals at the five-minute positions.
An outer index displays 24-hour time, and a complication at the 3 o’clock position also shows the 24-hour time. The surface of both the dial and the complication window are black, providing a sharp contrast to the white hashes and numerals.
Continuing the high-contrast theme, the watch hands are also bright white. The hour hand is short and fat, with a dagger shape. The minute hand has a similar dagger shape, but in a more slender, extended profile. The second hand is a simple needle, slightly wider at the base than at the tip. The 24-hour hand is a small white arrow at the end of a black hand. When viewed in all but the brightest light, it looks like the 24-hour hand is floating around the dial. The hand inside the complication is a simple fixed pointer, with a white triangular tip.
Hanhart doubles down on the black and white theme with the black stainless steel case, which perfectly matches the dial. The bezel is medium in thickness, with a slightly beveled edge to prevent any sharp corners.
The case measures 40mm in overall width and 12mm in overall thickness. This lends it a medium wrist presence, although the slim profile makes it lighter than most watches of this size. It’s water-resistant to 10 atmospheres, which equates to 100 meters, or about 330 feet. This means it’s good enough for swimming, but not for actual scuba diving.
The crystal is ever so slightly raised, with a flat profile that does not distort the dial. It’s cut from scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and is coated on one side for glare resistance. It’s understated, but it does its job, and it keeps your focus on the dial where it belongs.
Popular ETA 2893-2 Movement
To fans of automatic watches, the ETA 2893-2 should require no introduction. This movement is found in many popular timepieces, and has a long history of durability and reliability. With a heartbeat of 28,800 BPH, the second hand moves very smoothly, and the 38-hour power reserve is more than good enough for most people.
Out of the box, the accuracy is just over +/- 10 seconds per day. For most people, this should be sufficient. After all, this watch is primarily an enthusiasts piece. But if you want better accuracy, you can always take your watch to a horologist to have the movement tuned. When properly dialed in, a 2893-2 movement can be accurate to as little as +/- 5 seconds per day, which is equivalent to chronometer grade.
Rugged Leather Strap
As befits a watch in Saab’s prestigious aviation tradition, the S-Series S 105 OE GMT comes with a strap that’s designed both for durability and comfort. The black calfskin is soft and supple, conforming to small curves and variations in your wrist. It’s a bit more porous than ordinary leather, so it won’t get as slick if you’re sweating heavily. And if the strap is put under stress, stitched edges will help hold everything together. In terms of design, the strap is as understated as the watch itself. It’s plain black leather, with a simple pin buckle. It might not be fancy, but it’s both elegant and functional.
To view all of Hanhart’s offerings visit their official website here.