May 7, 2021
by Bilal Khan
Last year, I called the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba a standout value proposition and now the brand has updated and upgraded the collection. I spent some time with the new models, and I have to say that even with a relatively modest price increase, I would call these new models an even better value proposition than the previous generation. In fact, it seems like Hamilton took every bit of constructive criticism seriously and has delivered a sub-$1,000 dive watch that puts Swiss, Japanese, and even indie competitors on notice. At a time when it seems like value for money is an afterthought in the watch market, Hamilton firmly plants a flag with the new Khaki Navy Scuba.
The new Khaki Navy Scuba Automatic has several updates including a new ceramic unidirectional bezel (the previous iteration had an aluminum bezel) with a lumed pip, water resistance of 300M up from 100M, removal of the date window, and an increase in case size from 40mm to 43mm (this also reflects the increase in lug-to-lug height from 50mm to 52mm), though it’s marginally slimmer from 12.95mm to 12.8mm-thick. While the increase in case size is a matter of taste, Hamilton seems to have improved on every measure here and more than justifies the ~$250 price increase over the previous iteration while still keeping the price under $1,000.
Hamilton is debuting the new 43mm Khaki Navy Scuba Auto in two variants: a black dial with matching black ceramic bezel and a blue dial with a matching blue ceramic bezel. The dials are grained matte and the blue model has some nice gradient finish that darkens to near black on the outer edges of the dial. Both dials are very legible thanks to double-sided AR coating. While on the topic of the dial, I don’t believe that a date window is “clutter” but in this case, I do think removing it was a good call because of the 24-hour track. The date window on the previous 40mm model was a little cramped right between 16 and 17 on the 24-hour track.
A small improvement also comes with the extended length of the hour hand which wasn’t exactly short on the 40mm model, but the change is noticable. In all honestly, I didn’t even consider this until I had this new 43mm in hand, but I certainly appreciate it. The red tipped seconds hand carries over and delivers a nice pop of color.
Beneath the enclosed case back is the same H-10 automatic movement which has a Nivachron hairspring, courtesy of the Swatch Group. The H-10 is essentially a modified ETA 2824 and features hacking seconds and a solid 80-hour power reserve.
Hamilton has done an excellent job at refining the Navy Scuba Auto and they address just about every nit that was picked with the previous versions. The only thing that might turn some people off is the increase in case size, and that’s an understandable complaint that I can’t really argue with. Though, if the case size works for you, then it’s easy to appreciate the increase in water resistance to 300M without an increase in case thickness. If I had to choose a substantially thicker 40mm case or this 43mm case that is 12.8mm-thick, I would most likely prefer the latter.
The Hamilton Navy Scuba Auto is available in the blue dial variant is only available on steel bracelet (Ref. H82505140), and the black dial is available on either a black rubber strap (Ref. H82515130) or steel bracelet (Ref. H82515330). All the models are priced at $995, which is about a $250 increase from the previous version. Considering the improvements and refinements here, I am more than comfortable calling these a solid value proposition even with the price increase. You can learn more at hamiltonwatch.com.