Hamilton -the successful sub-brand of the Swatch Group combining the “American Spirit” and “Swiss Precision”- launched a new professional spec diver’s watch which tributes to the brand’s history as a watch supplier to the United States Navy.
Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman -debuted at the Baselworld 2016, became an instant success among the entry to mid level aiming watch enthusiasts with its great resemblance to the past models of the brand and impressive technical features. Let’s have a look at this retro-spirited timepiece which recalls the Hamilton seen in the 1951 blockbuster “Frogmen”.
The most significant retro style clue of the timepiece is its Canteen style winding crown guard. Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman tributes to the brand’s glorious heritage as a watch supplier to the US Navy while sporting strong technical assets as a professional Tool Watch.
The 46mm case of the watch is made of lightweight titanium. The front side features a thick, AR coated sapphire crystal while the back side sports a solid titanium caseback to ensure the massive WR1000M rating. The bi-directional bezel is also made of titanium. Formed in a unique shape, the bezel employs a red color aluminum insert. The bezel insert is pretty cool in terms of color and font style however, I would rather like to see a ceramic insert instead of a printed aluminum one as the bezel is -arguably- the most prone-to-aging part of a diver’s watch.
The Canteen type crown guard offers well protection and ensures the required water tightness successfully while boosting the overall retro look. However, it is not as easy as a conventional screw-in crown in terms of operating.
The solid titanium caseback features a beautiful engraving of a dive mask along some information about the timepiece. I would like to thank Hamilton for NOT putting a see-thru caseback to this particular watch as I think it looks a bit absurd on a dive watches.The Helium Release Valve is present at the side of the watch.
The large dial is designed in a matt black color. Considering its solid performance for preventing reflections and creating the required contrast with the white color accents, the color choice is spot on for a professional dive watch. Despite the big 12 Arabic numeral, all indices are baton and triangle shaped. The wide surface accents on the dial offer optimum legibility on every occasion and enough amount of surface for efficient SuperLuminova application.
The minute hand features a red frame. The red frame detail nicely matches with the red tipped second hand and red bezel insert while providing required contrast to identify the minute hand at first glance.
The only complication the watch features is the date display located in the middle of 4 and 5 o’clock positions. Personally, I do not like date displays of any kind. Since the date display is a function that most of the people would like to have in their watches ( and I do not want to sound over-biased ), I mostly do not criticize it’s presence a lot. However, when it comes to this particular Hamilton I have to say that odd looking date display brutally ruins the dial’s uniform look. The location of the date display obviously kills the lay out and the black font over Xerox paper white background disk is simply awful. It is possibly the one and only major flaw about the watch but it’s there...
The watch is powered with the Swatch Group’s in-house and 80h power reserve automatic movement which we are familiar with several models from the group brands. As per Hamiton’s reference “Caliber H-10” is a perfect choice for this watch.
The Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman comes on a black rubber strap. Unlike the average rubber straps, this one sports a velvet like finish center section on the upper side. While it looks amazingly cool on the wrist, it’s actually not an added-on piece. It’s a surface molding treatment ( which is probably a first for the industry ) applied on the rubber strap. The strap is secured by the H shaped buckle made of titanium.
The watch wears quite comfortably on the wrist thanks to its titanium case. Wrist presence is perfect with 46mm diameter case and the details are very well balanced in terms of being unique but not being absurd.
During my visit to Baselworld 2016, one of the most significant facts was the solid success of entry and mid level Swatch Group brands. Especially with their un-matched price vs performance asset, they issued amazing watches with considerably nice prices. I believe Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman is a perfect example in this regard. For 1500,00 EUR, I do not think there is any other WR1000M, 80h power reserve automatic movement and titanium case professional dive watch built by a reputable Swiss brand.
By the way, Hamilton offers a 42mm diameter version for the watch aficionados who would like their Navy Frogmans in a more compact size and different color/strap options.