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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Impulse purchase - Hamilton Khaki Frogman

It has been a long, long time since I purchased a watch on a whim. In fact, I am still quite surprised I did it. My normal modus operandi is to research the *poop* out of something, then look for a deal and then wait until one pops up gently used on the various fora.

Not this time! I had recently sold one of my watches and happened to be at the mall with my kids. I managed to convince them to let me visit my local Oris / Hamilton / Tissot pusher. Yes, my wife has trained them well; to steer me away from temptation and to discourage new watch purchases. That said, we are on vacation and we had already visited many of the stores they wanted to see. So it was my turn.

Low and behold, they had the new Hamilton Khaki Frogman watches. I had seen these on the internet, when introduced at Basel. I had liked them then and more so in person behind the glass case. I just had to see the blue one on bracelet. I should have never asked to see it. Too late, it was in my hands and the heft and solid feel just made me smile.

The watch I had previously just sold was not a dive watch and it was made of titanium. I missed the feeling of a solid steel dive watch on steel bracelet. Yes, I still had my cool Bulova Sea King, but it was on strap and despite having a sweep seconds hand, it was still a quartz watch. Not that there is anything wrong with that... I just needed a mechanical dive watch.

There it was... "the need". It was more than just "I want" this new watch, I needed it. it was calling my name right there in the store and before I started talking back to it, I told the sales person "I'll take it".  Now that I have had it for a couple of days,  here are some pictures:






The only thing I was worried about was the lack of micro adjustment for the bracelet. Yes, it has a built in slide diver's extension, but I absolutely despise using this feature to micro-adjust my bracelets. I had the same problem with my Perrelet Seacraft and just like that one, the Frogman was either too tight or too loose. I was bitterly disappointed...

This was not the first time this sort of thing has happened and surely will not be the last. So I did a little modifying and voila, THE PERFECT FIT! What did I do? I simply removed the divers extension components and used the extra holes left behind to micro size my bracelet. I needed to add a link and since I used the cut-outs for the extension's push buttons, I added an extra spring bar to keep the end of the bracelet from sliding back and forth. (see pic # 5)

Now that sizing was no longer an issue, I am thoroughly pleased. The new H-10 movement, which is a modified ETA 2824, with slowed down beat rate and increased power reserve (80 hrs), is keeping excellent time. I love all the applied markers, the gorgeous (long) hands and the stark white lume. This one hits so many check marks and the canteen crown gimmick is kind of fun and a cool take on an old design. it works for me.

I could have saved quite a bit by shopping online, but there was something quite gratifying by purchasing after I was able to hold it in my hands and examining it up close. All too many times I have regretted online trades / purchases because I acquired them site unseen. Also, I did get a decent discount and since it was from an authorized dealer, I need not worry about any warranty issues.

For the price, almost 1000$ (Canadian) less than an Oris Aquis on bracelet, which houses an unmodified Satilla S200, this watch is quite remarkable. Take it from someone who has owned many, many luxury dive watches, this one will impress.


Monday, August 15, 2016

DELTAt SoRa Type AS - Pictoral REVIEW

Have you heard of DELTAt before? Neither had I, up until a few weeks ago. Found them via an ad on WatchUseek.com and I am sure glad I clicked through. While they do have some wild creations and I have been told a contemporary diver is on the way, their pilot's watch line was the reason why I got excited.

It had been too long since I owned a pilot watch and frankly with my obsession firmly planted in the dive watch arena, I did not want to devote a lot of funds to a Pilot watch. Thankfully the DELTAt SoRa Type AS was very reasonably priced in the sub 500$ range. Styled after the great German Fliegeruhr of yesteryear, this one even has a tremendous crown, reminiscent of the contemporary Zenith models.

Its specs are quite simple, with a diameter of 44mm (not too big, not too small) and just under 12mm thick. Lug width is 22mm and comes with 3 straps. A thick new buck bund, a slick black pilots and a Zulu strap. The latter is in case you feel like testing it's 200m water-resistance. Also has a scratch resistant sapphire crystal and quick change spring bars.

Despite the above "standard" specs and its rather "pedestrian" Miyota 8215 movement, which incidentally has been keeping adequate time,  this watch is much, much more than the sum of its parts. Allow me to demonstrate:







Now I am not entirely sure what it is that makes this watch so appealing to me. Is it the proportions? The design of the case with the lugs? The fit on my wrist? The fact that this is SO MUCH watch for so little? Or all of the above? 

Thankfully, I received this one just prior to my vacation to the Canadian Maritime Provinces and because of this,the following should further demonstrate my reasons for liking this one so much:









Needless to say, we had a wonderful vacation and it is one that I will fondly remember every time I look at my DELTAt watch. Is it not incredible how memories can be associated to objects, sounds and smells. Well, from now on my DELTAt will remind me of incredible lobster rolls, spectacular vistas and the wonderfully humble Canadians that inhabit this beautiful part of the world.

If you are looking for a pilot watch and do not wish to spend thousands on an IWC or Zenith, give DELTAt a look over. They just might have what you are looking for!

In case you would like to see some other incredible vacation pictures, have a look at these: