The Hamilton Frogman Automatic 46mm is the Dive Watch of the Summer
Professional dive watches are the ideal all-purpose summer watch—even if you never venture further than the deep end of your gym’s pool. That’s because if they can withstand the pressure of underwater adventures, they can surely handle heat, humidity, and knocking about the cottage. And they look great doing it. The new Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman Automatic 46mm is the perfect example of a watch with both style and substance.
Today, Hamilton is best known for its heritage military watches, especially its field and pilot’s watch offerings. But the brand’s history with the US Navy goes back decades. In fact, during World War II, the Navy was one of Hamilton’s biggest customers.
In 1943, the Navy needed a virtually indestructible watch for its elite Underwater Demolition Team, better known as Frogmen (forerunners to today’s Navy SEALs), whose mission was to clear mines and obstacles in preparation for land invasions, became a formal unit called Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs).
The result was the BUSHIPS—ready-for-duty, chrome-plated tool watches with large hands, generous lume, and crisply printed Arabic numerals. Engineered for accuracy, legibility, and endurance, these models became popular amongst professional divers and the general public as well. The demand led to Hamilton’s first mass-produced Frogman which debuted in 1951 and was based on military pieces.
Over the years, the look of the Frogman has evolved, as has the use of this daring dive watch.
Pierre Frolla is one of the best-known free divers in the world and a brand ambassador for the Khaki Frogman. Freediving is the practice of holding your breath when diving without the use of breathing equipment, such as a scuba tank. In stark comparison to clearing munitions, freediving is best known from the film “The Big Blue,” which illustrates the sport’s poetic pursuit, meant to push the limits of endurance while being surrounded by the serenity of the underwater realm.
Frolla also serves as the Director of the Sea Academy, which provides educational courses in SCUBA diving, freediving, water rescue, and civic rescue. He is also co-author (with photographer Greg Lecoeur) of the book, Océans Face à Face, which was created to promote conservation by showing the connection between nature and humans. Frolla is also the star of Hamilton’s most recent video project, Behind the Breath, which showcases his past and current accomplishments.
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Frolla says the Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman helps him connect his body to the elements that envelope him during a free dive because, “it provides exactly what I need: it is designed for underwater use and meets the demands of my longest and deepest dives. It offers instant readability.” He continues, “Underwater, I have less than a second to look at my watch and make decisions. So, in less than a second, I need to know how long I’ve been underwater. Not only is the watchband very comfortable, but it’s also extremely durable. I know there is no risk of losing or damaging it.”
“Although it has a large diameter, the Khaki Navy watch is extremely light; I hardly feel it on my wrist at all. It literally becomes a part of me, enabling me to easily slip into the chasms,” he says. “Ultimately, I chose this watch because it’s simple, resistant, functional, and attractive. Like the universe, I dive into each day: the sea.”
The attributes that make the Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman Automatic so compelling underwater also make it a joy to wear on land. And just as professional divers are finding new ways to explore the oceans, dress codes have also expanded and one can wear a tool watch for almost any occasion.
Recognizing this shift in style codes, the most recent model of the Khaki Navy Frogman Automatic is available in four different iterations, three in plain stainless steel and one with a black PVD coating for a more modern look.
These versions are still steeped in heritage, with the same overbuilt construction as their archival ancestors, but the design language has been updated to reflect how we wear watches now.
At 46mm, the 316-L stainless steel case makes a big splash, but the silhouette has been slimmed down so it sits more comfortably on the wrist while still supplying the same amount of water protection (300m of water resistance). The bezel has also been reworked and features raised numerals and indices to make it easier to read at a glance. The hands and markers are likewise oversized and filled with Super-LumiNova. The hour and tip of the second hands are tipped in orange to stand out against the matte black dial.
The Khaki Navy Frogman Automatic is powered by Hamilton’s H-10 automatic movement, which beats at 21.6 kbph and features an outstanding 80-hours power reserve. The watches are delivered with either a black or olive-green rubber wave strap. For landlubbers, the stainless-steel versions are also available on a three-link bracelet.
While the Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman respects the past while proving a watch that is well suited to any modern-day adventure, its accuracy, legibility and endurance will also ensure that you will enjoy it well into the future. And for a high precision automatic watch from a well-respected brand like Hamilton, it’s an excellent value proposition—it’s priced between $1,500 (for the stainless steel models) to $1,660 (for the PVC coated).
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