Hamtun H1

Today's Guest Bum review was written by Rockville Bum, a local microbrand watch fan and friend of the The Time Bum.

I'm a watch enthusiast who is constantly checking Kickstarter for new watches.  Maybe it's the thrill of the hunt, or the chance to snag a great deal, who knows? A few months ago I backed the Hamtun H1 and honestly, I forgot about it. This happens with most of my Kickstarter purchases, but also makes a great surprise when a new watch arrives in the mail! Now that I have had the chance to get acquainted with the H1, I figured it was a good time to provide my humble opinion on the new watch.

Hamtun H1
Let's jump right in and start with the packaging.  I get it, the packaging should have no bearing on the watch whatsoever.  When a new incoming watch arrives we all rush past the box and want to see our new arrival. But I think in the case of micro brands, a nicely executed package speaks to the overall feel that the brand is striving to achieve. Sure, they could just bubble-wrap the watch and sent it out on its way, but I feel the better brands take the extra effort (and cost) to match what established brands deliver. In the case of Hamtun, they have a very nice watch box that ships with a branded outer box to further protect the watch. I think this is a nice touch that shows Hamtun thought this through. That being said, there was not any type of instructional booklet with the watch. I realize if you are reading this review, chances are you know how to operate a watch, so no instructions are really necessary, right? But when it comes to having a well-executed package similar to established brands, I think micros should include some form of instructions, or the very least a warranty card.

Hamtun H1 packaging

Ok, on to the watch. The H1 was quite successful on Kickstarter and pulled in over $193,000 from 610 backers. Their initial funding was achieved in 20 minutes, which is very impressive for a new brand with no track record. When the H1 surfaced on Kickstarter, I was already looking for an affordable automatic dive watch, and when I saw this watch with it's Seiko NH35A movement and titanium case I was immediately drawn in.

Hamtun H1

Let's talk about some of the technical details of the H1. The case measures 41mm across, with a lug width of 22mm, lug-to-lug tips measuring at 48mm, and the watch is 13mm thick. It features a domed sapphire crystal and is rated for 200m water resistance. The movement is a Seiko NH35A, a reliable workhorse that runs at 21,600bph with a 41-hour power reserve. This movement has continued to be a favorite among microbrands and for good reason, you'd be hard pressed to find a more cost-effective automatic. With the H1 being titanium, it only weighs 120g, or about 4.25 ounces, so it's definitely on the lighter side when compared to most watches.  

Hamtun H1

The sandwich dial is a clean design with square hour markers that are available in white, black, or blue. I opted for the blue markers because I think they work well with the matte gray dial, plus it's a unique color combination. The markers and bezel are lumed with BGW9 Super-LumiNova, which was not as bright as I would expect for a dive watch. While BGW9 is considered a fairly bright lume, I would have preferred C3 lume, but that's a personal preference. BGW9 is more of a blue so Hamtun might have been trying to continue the 'blue' theme with the lume choice?  I think the Hamtun logo is the appropriate size and I appreciate the rather clean "200M Automatic" script. While the Rolex Submariner is arguably the worlds most popular dive watch, I detest the six lines of script on their dials, it's really a bit too much, so it's nice to see the more minimalist approach of the H1. The dial does have a date window, which is always a divisive topic among watch enthusiasts, but the window is the same color as dial, letting it blend in. Plus the 4 o'clock position aligns the date window with the screw down crown and does not interfere with the 3 o'clock hour marker. 

Hamtun H1 crown
   
The H1 has a 120 click rotating bezel that I find to be quite good. When rotating the bezel I get firm and positive feedback for each click, much better than other similar priced Kickstarter watches. The bezel is tight with no slop or 'wobble' on the case. I also appreciate the use of a ceramic insert on the bezel, which should mean less noticeable scratches on the bezel.

Hamtun H1 side

I love the color of the grade 5 titanium and its satin finish. With so many stainless steel dive watches, it's nice to have titanium as a different choice in my watch rotation. After a solid week of "desktop diving", I haven't noticed many scuffs or scratches, an added benefit of titanium, and the ceramic bezel, matte finish dial, and satin titanium really work well and compliment each other. I think if stainless steel had been used instead, there would not be the same cohesive effect.

Hamtun H1 links

Something I wasn't expected was the infinite adjustable options of the metal strap. It appears every link is removable so it can be sized to every wrist. You will need two small flathead screwdrivers to unscrew the link bars, and this was a bit tedious working with the small hardware. The deployant clasp has the typical micro adjuster holes, which allows for a perfect fit.

Hamtun H1 strap

Since the H1 was so successful on Kickstarter and all the stretch goals were unlocked, Hamtun shipped an extra silicone strap with each watch. I appreciate having multiple ways to wear a watch, and a quick strap change really changes the look. Hamtun incorporated their logo on the silicon rubber which I think is a nice custom touch. They also included a deployant clasp on the silicone, something I was not expecting on a 'free' strap; however, I do have a minor gripe with the multiple straps, and I might be alone on this, but I want a strap changing tool included. Sure, most watch enthusiast already have strap tools, but if a watch is shipped multiple straps, I think they should include a tool to change said straps.  Maybe I'm just too greedy.  

Hamtun H1 clasp

Something else to note about the rubber strap is how to resize it. The process requires removing the clasp and cutting off portions of the rubber strap to size it down. Be very careful here! Cut too much off and now the strap is too tight or won't fit.  Luckily the clasp does have micro adjuster holes to help get the fitment just right. I think included instructions would have been helpful for resizing, especially if you're not familiar with trimming a strap to size.

Hamtun H1 case back


Overall I'm very happy to have backed the Hamtun H1. It quickly found its way into my watch rotation and has thus far been a solid performer. With a Kickstarter pledge of $245, it was also a great deal; an automatic diver with grade 5 titanium and ceramic bezel for under $250! This is why I troll Kickstarter for new watches. Even at the current £239 retail price (about $313 USD) it's a good value but there is one catch: the white and blue models are sold out; however, more of the all black Stealth versions should be available shortly. Once those are gone there will be no more, but Hamtun is working on a brand new watch for release later this year.

For more information or to get one of the last H1s, visit Hamtun.co. ⬩

Photos courtesy of Rockville Bum.


Hamtun H1 profile

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