Let's be honest, if you've got around £1,000 to spend on a watch, there is an awful lot vying for your attention. It's a massively saturated segment of the market, with swathes of different brands offering really compelling packages.
Even if you narrow it down further, there's a lot of competition. Try and pick out the best dive watch for that kind of money – you'll find a massive range of options, each deserving credit of their own.
Enter Hamilton, with the Khaki Navy Frogman. This is a dive watch with an interesting appearance, a top-notch spec sheet, and an attractive price tag. So is it the best option for you? Well, let's take a look.
The Frogman packs in everything you'd need for a good diving watch, with nothing you don't. You'll get 300m of water resistance from the 41mm case, which sits a shade over 13mm thick. Inside, the Hamilton H-10 calibre keeps things ticking away, with up to 80 hours of power reserve. That movement is based on the Powermatic 80 family of movements, like those found in the Tissot PRX range.
Elsewhere, much of the spec sheet is exactly as you'd expect. The case is made from stainless steel, with a unidirectional rotating bezel. There's a sapphire crystal on top. One thing I am glad to see here is a nice, compact lug-to-lug measurement. I found that on the Hamilton Pan Europ recently, and it's handy here too.
In fact, the only really odd bit about the case is that massive crown guard. It's a bit jarring at first, but you quickly get used to it. It certainly doesn't impede the wearing experience at all, though changing the time takes a bit more getting used to.
The dial features a gently textured black finish, with applied indices. Block markers are employed for each hour bar the 12 o'clock position, which has a number 12 in the same style. The Hamilton logo sits beneath it at the 12 o'clock position, while the water resistance and automatic status of the watch are written in red at 6 o'clock.
It's a brilliantly clean dial – there's not even a date window to complicate things! Combine that with some fairly chunky hands and a lot of lume, and I can imagine this would be great in an underwater environment. It's super easy to read, no matter the angle.
I'm not sure I'm 100% sold on the hands yet. They've certainly grown on me over the last week, but they are a tad unusual. The hour marker, for example, doesn't taper to a point. Also, the minute hand is outlined in the same red as the seconds hand. It's certainly not terrible, but it might be an acquired taste.
Lastly, there's the strap. My review unit uses a khaki green rubber strap, but you can also pick this up on black rubber, or a steel bracelet. The rubber tapers very gently from 20mm at the lug down to 18mm at the clasp, though you probably wouldn't spot it unless you were really looking out for it.
It's quite a chunky strap, unlike the rubber used on some competitors. That does make it a bit less pliable, though it's still really comfortable in use.
What's the Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman like to wear?
Over the last week, I've used the Frogman as a daily watch. And the short version is this – it's a great watch. It's effortless to wear, with that 41mm case diameter and short lug-to-lug with really coming up trumps.
There's a good weight to it, but it's far from a heavy watch, either. That's likely helped by the rubber strap, though I can't imagine it would be extortionate on a steel bracelet, either.
In terms of accuracy, it's really good. I've very crudely observed it running at around +5 seconds a day, which is a mighty fine result.
It's definitely suited to a more casual environment – that crown guard means it wears its "sports watch" credentials proudly. You'd probably struggle to dress it up for more formal events, but that's not really what it's made for either.
I do think it feels a little plain Jane at times, though. The combination of a stark dial with the relatively muted colour scheme means it doesn't stand out too much. That may well be exactly what you're looking for, but if you're on the hunt for a bit of a statement piece, this might not be it.
I'd also like to have seen a date window employed. I know, it's not a diving essential, but lets also not kid ourselves into thinking these will be used exclusively by divers. Most of these will be desk divers, and in those scenarios, a date complication would be handy.
Is the Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman worth the money?
At £1,120, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman sits near the top of the "around £1,000" bracket. That definitely puts it on the back foot – there are a lot of similarly great watches that will undercut this by a couple of hundred pounds.
I recently tried a Swatch Group stablemate of this watch – the Certina DS Action. That sits at just £835, and offers a lot of the same specs on the face of it. It's a prime example of the kind of competition the Frogman has.
This certainly has a place, though. The Certina – like many other divers in this price range – wears its influence on its sleeve. Whether directly or indirectly, there's a definite Rolex Submariner vibe to many of the watches you'll find here. It makes sense – the Sub is one of the most popular watches ever, so it's bound to have a few imitators.
The Frogman, in that sense, is really unique. Hamilton have done a great job of giving this watch its own unique personality, with the crown guard and the unusual hands making sure you know this is no Rolex homage.
That's arguably the greatest strength it has. In a world of lookalikes, this isn't afraid to stand out. Add in a solid performance and easy wearability, and this should definitely be on your shopping list.