Hamilton Watch Co., whose tagline touts its combination of “American Spirit” and “Swiss Precision” has reached into its archives to create the Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman — a professional-grade divers’ watch that not only references the brand’s history as a provider of watches for the United States Navy but also its very first appearance in the movies.
The Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman, which makes its world debut at the upcoming Baselworld watch fair in March, evokes the submersible watches that Hamilton built in the early 20th century for naval “frogmen” teams and particularly the model featured in the 1951 movie, The Frogmen, which marked the first time a Hamilton watch was seen onscreen. (Since then, of course, the brand has made numerous appearances in the movies, notably on the wrists of Elvis Presley in 1961’s Blue Hawaii; Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in 1997’s Men in Black and its sequels; Bruce Willis in two Die Hard films; and, most recently, Matthew McConaughey in 2014’s Interstellar.)
While the watch is a direct homage to its military-grade predecessor — note the inclusion of the bulky crown-protection device used on the 1951 model — it is also unmistakably modern, with a 46-mm case made of sturdy, lightweight titanium, a nonreflective sapphire crystal, and an enhanced water-resistance of 1,000 meters. The striking, red ratcheting divers’ bezel rotates in one direction and the incorporated helium valve enables the watch to equal out the internal and external pressures encountered in saturation diving conditions. Hamilton devised the large surfaces on the dial as a means to ensure easy legibility underwater, along with such classical elements as the black dial color, luminescent triple-faceted hands, and the red trim on the minutes hand and red tip of the central seconds hand, which match the vibrant color of the bezel. Below you can get a glimpse of the design process behind this modern version of Hamilton’s Frogman watch.
The movement inside the Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman is also most definitively an upgrade from the 1950s versions: the proprietary Caliber H-10, made by ETA, Hamilton’s sister brand within the Swatch Group and boasting a power reserve of 80 hours. This self-winding movement is protected behind a solid titanium caseback bearing a scuba diver motif. The watch comes on a rubber strap with a tone-on-tone central section and a pleasingly tactile ribbed texture on the exterior.
For those seeking a smaller case size, or additional color options, Hamilton is also releasing two stainless steel versions of the Khaki Navy Frogman in 42-mm cases (water-resistance on these is a more modest but still professional-level 300 meters), each also equipped with Caliber H-10, available with either blue or black bezels (and matching rubber straps) and an additional triple-row steel bracelet with a smart-adjustment clasp and divers’ extension. The watches come in special packaging designed to resemble a navy vessel’s porthole.
The 46-mm Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman in titanium (Ref. H77805335) will retail for 1,395 Swiss francs, while the 42-mm steel versions will be priced at 1,050 Swiss francs. Below is a snapshot of the titanium Frogman on the wrist.