Hamilton’s 300m water-resistant diver got its name from the US Navy combat divers who wore the original tool watch during WWII. Although most of us associate Hamilton with its robust pilot and field watches, Hamilton got real-life experience in waterproof watches from a model used by US Navy underwater demolitions teams. Dating back to 1943, Hamilton’s diver with an unusual locking mechanism on the crown was part of the Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs) gear and used on mine-clearing missions. The first civilian model of the Frogman appeared in 1951 and debuted on the big screen in the 1951 movie The Frogmen recounting dramatic stories about the US underwater demolition teams. In 2016, Hamilton dusted off its vintage military-grade dive watch and revisited it as the Khaki Navy Frogman. For 2022, Hamilton proposes a stealthier look for its Khaki Navy Frogman collection, which will replace all existing models.
The most distinctive feature of the original Frogman was its canteen-style screw-down crown. Looking very much like the lid of a thermos or a canteen, the rudimentary crown protector was affixed to a small chain soldered onto the caseband. When the second-generation Frogman appeared in 2016, it too flaunted a prominent crown guard with an in-built locking system and a unidirectional rotating bezel.
The new Khaki Navy Frogman watches still have a very prominent crown guard, but the design has changed quite radically. Now, the screw-down crown is protected by a robust bridge-shaped structure to ensure its water resistance to depths of 300 metres. Another difference with the soon-to-be-discontinued models is the shape of the unidirectional bezel. The widely spaced notches on the bezel of the former model are replaced with smaller notches and the insert is now matte black with raised numerals and dots between 0 and 15 minutes and the inverted triangle with lume at noon.
The hefty 46mm case with a thickness of 13.58mm is available in stainless steel or stainless steel with a black PVD coating for a completely matte all-black look. With predominately brushed surfaces, the angles are polished for a sharper look. In line with the new stealthy vibe, the dials are a matte, grainy black with large applied indices and an Arabic numeral at 12, all treated with Super-LumiNova. I’m not sure why the number 12 has a depression traversing the number 2, but I’m going to assume it is done to highlight the 60 marker. The sizeable hour and minute hands are similar to the former model and filled with Super-LumiNova, although the profile of the blunt minute hand and the arrow-shaped seconds hand is orange, matching the Automatic 300M /1000ft inscription above 6 o’clock. The date window has not transitioned to the new model – positive news for many.
A sealed caseback with the silhouette of a diving mask protects the automatic calibre H-10, Swatch Group’s powerful entry-level engine, also known as the Powermatic. Introduced in 2011 as an evolution of the 2824-2, the Powermatic delivers a beefy 80h power reserve and is fitted with a silicon escapement and Nivachron balance spring to improve resistance to shocks, temperature variations and magnetic fields.
Known as a ‘tactical rubber strap’ and available in khaki, black or green, the wavy design on the rubber evokes the sea and accompanies the two models with steel cases and the black-PVD model. A fourth iteration of the watch, in a steel case with a matte grey bezel, is also available on a stainless steel bracelet. The new models will replace the existing Khaki Navy Frogman. Prices range from CHF 1,150 / EUR 1,175 for the three steel models to CHF 1,270 / EUR 1,275 for the black PVD.
For more information, please visit Hamilton Watch.com.