Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch

Let's just start with the obvious. The Hawaiian Lifeguard Association HLA5403 watch is yellow. Not just a dab of yellow or a yellow accent, but the whole dial and strap. Not a pale or subtle yellow that might be ecru or gold in a different light, but crazy yellow. We're talking Big Bird eating a banana while riding in a taxi listening to Coldplay, and I dig it. That is why I asked to review this model and not the more sedate black, white, or blue models. The Bum is not afraid of color.  

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch Yellow
Now that we have that out of the way, I can tell you all the other reasons the Hawaiian Lifeguard Watch is worth a look. Most notably, it's tough, it's practical, and at just $250, it's inexpensive. Add that to the coolness factor, and you have the perfect grab-and-go beach beater. I don't say "beater" disparagingly; this watch was made to be used, which brings us to Hawaiian lifeguards. 

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch Yellow

Hawaii is a beautiful place. The weather is perfect, and the air smells of sea salt and sweet plumeria. You can find snow-capped mountains, rolling plains, lush rainforest, and rocky desert all on the same island. Everywhere you are reminded of the immense power of the volcanic land and the vast sea. The aloha spirit is so strong that it can unwind even a chronically uptight urban East Coaster like me. It's dazzling, which can sometimes mask the fact that it can also be dangerous. Hawaiian life is inextricably intertwined with the water, and that water is rough. High waves, strong undertow, fast rip currents, and savage beach break are all part of the norm, so it is no accident that Hawaiian lifeguards are considered among the best in the world. Organized in 1990, the
Hawaiian Lifeguard Association is a non-profit that maintains high professional standards tailored to the uniquely dangerous conditions of the island's surf. The HLA watch is the Association's officially licensed product.

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch Yellow

Any watch that serves these lifeguards has to be tough, and the HLA does not disappoint. It is rated for 200m water resistance. Its stout, screw-down crown operates smoothly, as does its 120-click unidirectional timing bezel. The lume is super bright and long-lasting. I'd say the only compromise is the flat K1 mineral crystal as it is not a scratch-resistant as sapphire, but arguably more shatter-resistant - an important consideration if the impact occurs underwater. Inside is a "Japanese Quartz." I wish they would be more specific, but I'll wager it is a garden-variety Miyota. Is that a sexy movement? No, but it should provide years of service with no more than the occasional battery change.

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch Yellow

The case is brushed stainless steel (IP black is another option). It measures is 42mm wide, 49.5mm long, and 13.5mm thick, which is right in line for a sports watch and likely a comfortable fit for most people. It certainly sat nicely on my 6.75" wrist, thanks in part to a generous curvature in the lugs. Intermittently spaced notches on the brushed bezel offer ample grip. The markers are engraved and filled for easy daytime visibility, and the top marker contains lume. I appreciated the matte-finished shelves cut into the tops of each lug. It's a welcome detail and helps to keep the case from appearing too blocky.  

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch Yellow

On the backside, you will find the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association petroglyph. This same fellow is on the dial. He is a bit larger than most logos, but not disproportionate, and he is balanced well by the nearly square block of text below. Black outlining on the markers and date frame, and a printed black chapter index all serve to preserve daytime visibility, and the red arrow minute hand stands out against the yellow background. However, the white second hand is nearly invisible. If you want maximum pop for the watch on your wrist, go with the yellow. Those seeking maximum contrast and readability under a variety of light conditions would do better with the more traditional blue, white, or black. 

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch Yellow

HLA comes with a 22mm tapered rubber strap on quick release pins with a thick, signed, square-framed buckle. It has two keepers, one of which can be fixed using the tabs near the buckle. You can order it on red or black straps, although I can't imagine why you wouldn't want the full yellow experience. 

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch Yellow strap

Overall, I think the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch would be a fine addition to both your tool watch collection and your beach wardrobe. Head over to TimeConcepts.net, check out the line, and while you are at it, get 25% off any purchase over $100 with code TIMEBUM. ⬩

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch, photo by Tyler Little

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch Yellow case back

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch Yellow

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch lume

Hawaiian Lifeguard Association Watch yellow

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