Having owned a Tawatec dive watch in the recent past, I pretty much knew what to expect with this Nite Hawk. That is until I opened the box and saw the Z-400T in "real-life". It is considerably larger than the Tawatec and the design is much more organic, not as forced. It looks less like a re-branded Luminox and more like a watch of its own.
While the case is made of the same Polycarbonate material, which is very lite and resistant, wearing this watch is like not wearing a watch at all. You would think that at 51mm in diameter and only 13mm think, it would be like wearing a small pizza on your wrist, but due to very short lugs, it wears much smaller than its numbers would indicate.
The bezel offers plenty of purchase and the action is remarkable, with no play in any direction. In fact I currently own watches that cost THOUSANDS more and their bezels could learn a thing of two from this Nite. It also lines up flawlessly, which is a huge pet-peeve of mine and the lume pip is a tiny bar of blue Tritium.
Unfortunately, the crown does not screw down, but this does not hamper its 200m water-resistance. Just do not pull it out while submerged. It is signed with the Nite logo, generous in proportion and protected by a pair of crown guards. The case back is nicely engraved with your typical branding and other details, but what really impressed me is the PVD finish! Yes, you read that correctly, Nite went all out to continue the stealth look and PVDed the case back! I am really impressed.
The crystal is flat and made of K1 Mineral glass. While not as hard as synthetic sapphire, it is plenty hard for everyday use. The dial is a flat black color and the hands and numerals are painted in a glossy black. This tiny detail gives the dial awesome contrast at different angles, while disappearing at others, leaving only the tritium tubes visible. I have only owned one other watch with this type of paint configuration and I have always wondered why others have not done the same.
Another notable feature is the date display. The were wise and used a black wheel with white numerals and not the "normal" black on white. This is a minor detail for some people, but for me it is HUGE. I would have really disliked it if the first thing you see is the date and this combination lends itself well to the rest of the design. Kudos to Nite for going the extra mile.
Now I did mention tritium above and this is Nite's bread and butter. Just like Ball Watch, Luminox and Tawatec, Nite focuses its marketing on nighttime visibility. Why should they not? In my opinion, not enough companies use this type of lume, though things are changing. I notived a Frederique Constant dress watch with tritium tubes on its hands. Things to come? Who knows. What I do know is that this is my absolute favorite type of dial illumination. If you do not know what it is, then you likely are not reading this. If you stumbled onto this post, then please go to the search bar and type in tritium. You are in for a real treat!
As I said above this is incredibly comfortable watch to wear. In fact, I sometimes forget that I have it on and go into a slight panic when I think I left the house without a watch. No WIS should ever, ever go naked! The combination of size, proportions, materials used and design make this one of the most enjoyable BIG watches to wear.
Now I did swap out the super cool "plastic / polymer" strap for this wonderful Ancon leather strap, partly because I have a puny 7" wrist (EOM strap is way long) and partly because this strap was already formed to my wrist. What I did not count on is the PVD Ancon buckle matched the watch perfectly. Total coincidence!
I also wore it for a while on my ISOfrane rubber strap, which is the premier dive strap on the market. Due to the Nite's straight luges it fit perfectly. In fact, its thickness fit the watch even better than the EOM strap. That said, the ISOfrane is a roughly a 1/3 of the price of the Hawk Z-400T and it is not for everyone. Some prefer slimmer more modern straps.
Being a bracelet guy, I even tried my Aquadive bracelet on this watch! Yes, you read that correctly. It was atrocious, but only because the steel bracelet was not PVD coated. If you can find a PVD or DLC coated bracelet with straight end-links, I bet it would be AWESOME for this watch! As bad as it looked, it was super comfortable and the light head weight, did not deter from the comfort.
If you are looking for a super-fun quartz powered watch, that you can throw on at a moments notice and look great doing it, then this is the watch for you! Do not get be wrong, I am still a die-hard mechanical watch guy, but EVERYONE needs a hardcore quartz watch. Especially when you are doing casual activities where you would not risk your beloved Omega or Rolex.
The Swiss Ronda 595 movement in this bad boy will give you years of trouble free operation and be several times more accurate than your mechanical watches. And how about that LUME and stealth qualities? I am having a lot of fun with this one and I honestly think you will to. Go check them out for yourself!