The Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto 2018 watches hands-on
Do you still remember this date: 28th August 2017? It was not a special occasion, but it was the day when we first launched the article about Hamilton’s Khaki Navy Scuba Auto. The Scuba Auto was one of the most popular watches at Baselworld 2017; the access range to the world of diver’s watches (or Easy Diver watches, as I rather call them) of this brand that proudly entered this specific market segment with its super-professional Frogman 46; a diver’s watch with a strong personality and a splendid piece in its 1000m version with a titanium case.
We all know, however, that next to flasghip models, we also need to come up with the so-called "heroes" of a collection and the Khaki Navy Scuba Auto has all the talent needed to become, among diver’s timepieces, a reference model as much as the Khaki Field has been a reference model for years among the classic time-only timepieces inspired to the military world.
From a NATO strap to a rubber strap (and a new stainless steel color combo)
A diver’s watch with a nylon strap - like a NATO strap – might sound a bit awkward, and yet the first Khaki Navy Scuba was born exactly like that and this is why I entrusted the Scuba with the title of “Easy Diver”. The confirmation of the Scuba's success is proven by the range extension. Whether it's automotive, consumer goods, watches or luxury accessories, when a specific range expands year on year and options automatically increase, it confirms that the collection has been successful and there is no need to check the sales figures to prove that.
What Hamilton did this year was to add new options; a rubber strap and a steel bracelet associated with new colors, but considering these options as simple “extensions” might be a bit simplistic. Let's talk about the rubber strap first; I must have tested at least a hundred of them and I noticed that, most of the times, many brands have always considered it (and wrongly so) a mere functional add-on rather than an aesthetic plus, but, as they say, looks also count, even when a watch has an intended use.
Khaki; is it almost a brand within the brand?
This is real question rather than a "provocation", but, in my opinion, it is a legit one and some readers might also wonder "why should we spend so much time talking about a rubber strap?" It is simply because it is a really well-crafted strap, it was conceived with care and attention and the "KHAKI" writing positioned in the middle is large, non-invasive, but rather identity-determining.
The strap is bevelled on the sides and the slots for the pin buckle remind us of the legendary “Isofrane” from 70s. The texture with the Hamilton logo repeated indefinitely on the inside symbolises a particular attention to detail. From this point of view Hamilton have understood before other brands how important the full set of details of a watch might be (same is for the small buckle with its slot shaped as the letter "H").
If I had to find a small imperfection on this watch, I would probably say it lies in the size of the case (40mm in diameter) and in the distance between the lugs (20mm) that make the Khaki Navy Scuba Auto seem a bit small on the wrist. This, however, is a small imperfection related to the actual size of my wrist (20cm in diameter), where a Frogman 1000m would definitely sit better and make much more sense. What about the version with a steel bracelet? It now comes with a new black and blue bezel.
About the H-10 calibre, a summary of the Scuba and its retail price
Eighty hours of power reserve translate into more than three days of autonomy. We might think it is not a long period of time, but it is actually quite a lot, even more when you consider that this the automatic movement with the highest autonomy on the market within this price range. The Scuba Auto is a perfect combination of design and content and is intrinsically Hamilton-like, especially in the version featuring the 15-minute scale and the orange-coloured minute ring: the brand’s official colour. I could say that the bezel is possibly a bit hard to operate and that is slips a bit when held between the fingers, but a small room for improvement is not out of place, when the whole set is successful and well-balanced. Do you prefer the version with a steel bracelet?
Take a look at the central cantilevered links and the crafting of the folding clasp with its double-button; Hamilton’s designers left nothing up to chance. If there is something they have used sparsely it is the retail price itself because paying €645/€695 for a watch like this represents a "gigantic" positioning effort that, today, is pretty much unattainable by any other competitor.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®