HAMILTON Khaki Navy FROGMAN Automatic [Poor man’s Ploprof?]

Has this new Hammi got what it takes to be true tool watch?

This is Hamilton’s latest diver’s watch release and it’s pretty much the antithesis of what we are seeing released by way of diver’s watches from most other Swiss brands these days.

It doesn’t recall any specific bygone era, it hasn’t been made to slide gracefully under a shirt cuff and it is by no means classical in its appearance or particularly elegant in its design.

What it is though is a throwback to those watches like the Ploprof that were absolutely built for purpose – which was mucking about beneath the waves AKA scuba diving.

And like the Ploprof or Panerai’s diver’s Mariana and Submersible models or indeed any of those other weird and wonderful watches like Edmond’s POLE GUARDIAN or TAG Heurer’s new Aquaracer PRO 1000; it is characterized by an external crown-locking device.

This is because certain watch manufacturers would have us believe that if it were not for such a device protecting our winding crowns that we (the imbeciles that we are) would surely decide to unscrew them mid dive, flood our watches and end up in a watery grave.

Okay, okay well at least they would have us believe that we’d knock them on the corner of a sunken treasure chest or something resulting in pretty much the same outcome as mentioned above.

Having said that, the fabled Ploprof was actually intended for use by commercial divers who could have dinged their crowns so likely benefited from the protuberance; and in the case of Panerai’s crown-locking device, this is a beloved hallmark of the brand.

But in the real world, if we are honest, much like the ubiquitous Helium escape valves that we also love, external crown-locking devices are just as much a gimmick as a massive rear wing on those SUVs that people use to ferry the kids to and from school in, or for the weekly shop.

With that said this new Khaki Navy Frogmen does have a bit more going for it than its crown-locking device alone.

Named after the fearless US Navy frogmen who wore the OG model of the same name during WWII, Hamilton’s latest diver’s model has been designed as potential modern day successor.

A waved strap pays homage to the unparalleled power of the sea (so they say); while a masculine 46mm case diameter offers secure housing for the Frogman’s winding crown.

The black, clear-cut dial is enhanced with Super-LumiNova® for low-light legibility, while orange highlights for the minute hand and tip of the seconds hand ensure differentiation at the briefest of glances.

Housed in Stainless steel and water-resistant to 300 meters, the Frogman is available with Hamilton’s new wave-look tactical rubber strap in khaki or black, or on a traditional Stainless steel link bracelet.

In addition, a version with its case coated in black PVD, with a grey bezel and dial markings, offers a stealthier, ultra-modern look.

Inside, the H-10 automatic movement delivers absolute precision and reliability, with an extended power reserve of 80 hours and enhanced performance with a balance spring made from Nivachron™.

This cutting-edge alloy which is highly resistance to shocks, temperature variations and magnetic fields adds crucial utility to a watch built for more demanding environments such as underwater.

There are four variants in the collection; 3x steel of which one comes on black rubber, one on khaki rubber and one on a steel bracelet. And 1x model in steel with a black PVD coating, also delivered on black rubber.

The new Khaki Navy Frogman has a Swiss MSRP of 1195USD (no matter which band you choose). The PVD model is an additional 100USD at 1295USD.

Thoughts? “Tool watch” is a term that is thrown around as loosely as mud is at a mud flinging contest by anyone trying to extoll the virtues of what they perceive to be a bit of a ruff ‘n’ ready timing instrument.

For me a “tool” watch is any watch that I feel could take a good beating in the field and I do believe this new Hammi could. Funnily enough it is exactly its gimmicky crown guard that gives you the impression that this watch is a true tool watch so it worked (at least on me).

But I think more importantly, a rugged case is no longer enough on its own; I also expect a tool watch to come with a rugged movement that is highly resistant to shocks, temperature variations and is anti-magnetic resistant. This is something that nearly all new models from the Swatch Group offer nowadays.

Meanwhile, looks wise, this is nothing to write home about. I don’t like that much about it however I do appreciate its one vintage note, the serpent-headed minute hand, that’s a cool feature.

But enough of my prattling; what do you think? And also, this or the Formex REEF


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