Summer is about the glorious outdoors and right on cue as countries are opening up to a world already champing at the bit of its breakout limit, Hamilton releases its most capable “maritime-ready” watch. One imagines that is newspeak for watches that don’t bear a formal ISO/DIN label for dive watches, but for brevity’s sake, we’ll say “dive watch” anyway as that is the intent, no less for the fact that Hamilton’s Khaki Navy Frogman Automatic is fronted by free diver Pierre Frolla as ambassador.
In a hulking 46mm stainless case, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman Automatic is offered in four references: black dial and bezel with white markings, in black or khaki rubber strap respectively; a black PVD version with dark grey bezel, black rubber strap and low-visibility markings; and finally a steel bracelet version with grey bezel, black dial, and white dial markings. In all versions, the dial is easy to read: hour and minute hands are distinct, the latter outlined in bright orange for easier reading against the timing bezel, which also has its markings pared down to the minimal and yet remain useful, optimised for precise readings up to 15 minutes without the additional clutter. No date either, which would have been distracting under fierce live-for-the-minute moments. Besides allowing for a tidier dial layout, not having a date complication also makes the watch much less fussy to set.
With water resistance rated to 300 meters, and a large case that bears a crown protector, the Khaki Navy Frogman Automatic has the robustness required by athletes and adventurers. This is matched with high precision of the automatic H-10 movement that features a Nivachron hairspring. Made from a titanium-based alloy, the Nivachron hairspring which debuted in 2019’s Swatch Flymagic (a limited edition Sistem51 with its innards switched around to show the movement from the dial side) is unaffected by magnetic fields while offering greater resistance against temperature variations, shock and ageing. There is no COSC certification, but users of other Hamilton watches using this movement have reported good results, comfortably under +/-10 seconds a day. The generous 80 hours of power reserve is yet another plus.
Much of the charm and romance of a dive watch comes from its being the closest to a do-all everyday-wear watch with which to share one’s adventures and scars. Hamilton’s Khaki Navy Frogman Automatic is not far from this ideal. The large 46mm case is a mite discordant with the times, but it affords added presence, and better protection for the crown without being overwrought. Moreover, this package of robustness and performance comes with a price-tag that is hard to beat for value. Of the four references, the PVD version is the costliest at USD1,295. Bracelet options usually cost a few hundred dollars more but here, the relatively dressier bracelet version has the same list price as the rubber-strap versions, at USD1,195.
Movement: Automatic H-10 movement, Nivachron balance spring, 80 hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case: 46mm x 13.58mm, stainless steel, crown protector, sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, water resistant to 300m
Strap: Black or khaki rubber strap, or bracelet
Price: USD 1,195-1,295