Hamtun Watches Review:
72 Hours with the H1 Titanium
By: Mark Signorelli
The Hamtun Watches H1 was created by Ross Davis and financed by a well-backed Kickstarter funding campaign. There were several levels of participation with the earliest buyers getting in at $195 USD. Somewhere along the way, I swerved into the Hamtun Watches project at $245 USD. What follows are my thoughts on the H1 Titanium after wearing it for three straight days.
The basic specs are quite impressive on the piece. Satin finish titanium case, matte grey sandwich dial, domed sapphire crystal, screw down crown at the 4:00 position, date window aligned with the crown, 120 click lumed ceramic bezel, drilled lugs, titanium bracelet and 200M depth rating. The movement is the automatic Seiko NH35A which allows hacking seconds and hand winding.
The Hamtun watches H1 is advertised as Grade 5 titanium and (although I don’t have any other titanium watches to look at to compare) the finish looks durable and toolish/functional. For me, the real star is the watch’s case design, which is chunky without being too tall and well detailed on the case back and at the crown. Overall, it’s a masculine design and the lugs have a nice downward sweep making this a wearable watch for many wrist sizes. The Hamtun watches H1 case measurements are 41mm in diameter, 22mm lug width, and 48.2mm end to end. Ross’s specs say that the height is just under 13mm but I measured 13.73mm.
The crown is well protected by prominent crown guards and is nicely detailed with the Hamtun Watches logo. After unscrewing, I found it easier to pull out from the underside where there is a wider opening in the crown guards and without the protrusion of the bezel. You’ll notice that the date window lines up with the crown and (while I recognize that some folks don’t like that particular arrangement) I think it works on this watch. The screw down crown had a bit of grit but I never had trouble engaging the threads.
The dial nomenclature is minimal and tasteful with just the words “200M” and “Automatic” right above 6:00 and the Hamtun Watches logo just below the 12:00 marker. The pale blue second hand complements the blue markers in the chapter ring and alleviates some of the starkness of the design. The chapter ring aligns perfectly with the hour markers and the bezel aligns almost perfectly (off by just a hair at the fifteen and forty-five minute markers but spot on at the triangle). Overall, the dial design is free of fluff, simple and clean. No one will mistake this watch for an ornament.
For the most part, I like the bezel. It has a nice matte finish and is slightly wider than the case, which (along with the large knurling) provides a good grip when rotating. The clicks are positive and there is minimal back-play. I did notice that when I rotated the bezel very slowly there was a surprising secondary click after each of the 120 clicks. It feels like the bezel wants to stop just short of the ratchet point but then, sure enough, it travels a hair more until the ratchet engages and faintly clicks again. In normal use you won’t notice it but feel free to tell your watch pals that it has a 240 click bezel.
The bezel is lumed along with the hour and minute hands and the hour markers. The lume is nothing special and is not up to the quality of the rest of the watch. On my watch, it was applied unevenly with the hour hand and triangle being noticeably deficient. The bezel lume, while welcome, was not uniform.
Okay, let’s deal with the bracelet on Hamtun Watches H1. It’s a mixed bag. The material is titanium; it matches the rest of the watch and is decently attractive. It actually reminds me of the Damasko bracelet. The end links are solid but the pin where the clasp hinges is attached with rolled stampings and is wobbly. Overall, the clasp is a rattly contraption but feels reasonably secure when locked down. There are three micro adjustments and I was able to get a perfect fit for my wrist.
I’m not sure what the screws are made of but they are not magnetic. Could they also be titanium? Not sure about that. Speaking of the screws, you will need two small screwdrivers to remove the pins and size the bracelet. Also, one of my screws came loose after 24 hours and had to be re-secured. Luckily, it had not come all the way out but anyone who owns this watch will probably need to check all of them and apply some Loc-tite.
Final Thoughts on the Hamtun Watches H1
Some final miscellaneous observations. Timekeeping during the first 24 hours was minus 6 seconds but after 72 hours it was actually up by 3 seconds. On subsequent wearings, my Hamtun H1 generally lost between 10 and 20 seconds per day. That’s on par with other Seiko dive watches that I own, but it’s certainly not going to result in any awards. I did a bunch of outdoor work on the second day including mowing grass, using a gas-powered weed trimmer and various other household chores. The watch received some jostling and general banging around but after a few wipes with a cloth, it still looked great. Also, no more screws backed out, but I still plan to keep an eye on them. The Hamtun Watches H1 also came with a nice looking silicone strap but the clasp is bright stainless and does not match the rest of the watch.
Supposedly, Ross is sourcing a matte clasp and will ship it out at some point. Meanwhile, I used a Scotch-brite on the clasp to get rid of the polishing and it’s a big improvement pictured below). The Hamtun Watches logo is tastefully molded into each side of the strap and the best part is the way the material fills in between the lugs and flush with the curvature of the case. It’s exceptionally comfortable and, unlike every other silicone strap that I’ve encountered, this one attracts very little lint. By the way, there was no documentation of any kind in the box but the Hamtun Watches Kickstarter page professes a 2 year warranty.
There is incredible value here for a very modest price and I think that Ross is to be commended for his achievement. I recently wore my H1 while hiking in Utah and the legible matte dial along with the watch’s low mass made for a perfectly fine field watch. Ross is releasing a slightly updated version of the H1 in the summer of 2018. Minor changes will include upgraded lume and the substitution of pins in lieu of screws for the titanium bracelet. In addition, there will be a new “Ghost” version with a full lume dial.
Check out Hamtun Watches’ site for more info!
(Editor’s Note: Also be sure to check out Mark’s Instagram feed for more Hamtum Watches H1 photos and more horological goodies!)
Mark retired in 2018 after 37 years in the financial services industry. He “Discovered” watches in 2015 after seeing a photo of a Steinhart OVM1 in a car forum. Ever since then he’s filled two watch boxes (and is trying to decide between buying a third one or thinning the herd). His additional pastimes include hiking, working on cars, exploring and photographing abandoned military bases.