PUBLISHED BY Joshua Clare-Flagg ON 27 Jan, 2018.


In October 2016 I had the pleasure of reviewing Hamtun’s first foray into the watch world: the H1. It was a massive success on Kickstarter, and continues to be a popular timepiece for those looking for a well-built affordable titanium diver.

Now, Ross has set his sights on doing an even better job with his next release: the Neon. Coming to Kickstarter on January 30th, early birds can get one for a pretty intriguing £259. I’ve two version to show you (although it comes in many options): the DLC full-time dial, and the steel / yellow. Let’s take a closer look to see how it fares.

The specs

  • Dimensions: 42mm diameter x 13mm height x 51.5mm lug to lug
  • Weight: 193g (178g with 4 links removed)
  • Water resistance rating: 10ATM / 100m
  • Movement: STP 1-11
  • Accuracy: SS / Yellow: +5.4 sec/day; DLC: +8.4 sec/day
  • Lug width: 22mm
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Price: KickStarter pledges starting from £259 ($365); RRP approx £370 ($520)
  • Buy here: https://hamtun.co/collections/everyday-watches/products/neon-brushed-yellow

The case

The Neon is a lovely size at 42mm (I would say that as I was the one who recommended 42mm rather than 43mm). With a 13mm height it is also reasonably slender and fits under a cuff well.

The case is a standard barrel shape; completely brushed on the steel version which should prove to be quite hard wearing. The DLC version has an even, smooth coating. The case features good machining and finishing all over – nice sharp lines and an even finish.

Sitting on top of the case is a ceramic bezel with screws securing it in place – high-quality material you wouldn’t expect at this price point.

The double domed sapphire crystal provides great visibility at even the tightest angle, and has an effective anti-reflective coating on the underside. I always say a decent AR coating really makes an impression when you see a watch in the metal – and that’s exactly the case with the Neon.

The case has drilled-through lugs, which makes changing straps easy and you are much less likely to damage them whilst doing so. I think the lug-to-lug length is a bit on the long side – I’ve got an approx 7.25” wrist and it’s right on the edge of hanging over… if you have a smaller wrist, just be aware.

The screw-in crown has decent engineered grip, with the H logo embossed on the end. Large crown guards provide decent protection.

The caseback has an exhibition window and is secured in place by 6 screws. It’s brushed to match the case – but even so on the DLC version. Now, usually that would be cause for complaint – but this is where the design is a bit clever. The steel ring at the base of the bezel works well with it, creating a “steel sandwich” – so the steel caseback on the DLC case no longer looks out of place. There’s a cheeky spelling mistake on the detailing which is engraved – “Britis” rather than “British”; but that will be rectified on the production run.

The dial

I find the dial simple, but friendly; with rounded assets which are pleasing to the eye. It’s not a traditional style at all – I can’t quite put my finger on it: not obviously a diver, but also not really taking many cues from field, tool, or any other category. This is good; it makes the Neon extremely unique.

There’s a wide array of options available – 12 to be precise; with variations based upon steel and DLC cases coupled with white, yellow, blue, green and orange accents. The cool feature is how the colour of the dial matches the steel ring below the bezel.

There are no applied elements, all markings are printed – either lumed on the black dial, or black on the full lume dial to create a “shadow”. It’s easy to read thanks to bold, legible font.

The hands are rounded batons – simple, no-nonsense stuff, and the seconds hand has a disc two thirds down which tracks the inner index line.

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The bracelet

What a beauty of a chunky bracelet. The H links are thick, very smooth and super comfortable.

The bracelet on the steel is completely brushed to match the rest of the case. The DLC bracelet is where I have a minor concern: the coating is applied after it is constructed (it’s much more expensive to coat it before putting it all together). Therefore, there’s a few places where you can see the coating hasn’t quite reached – mainly in-between the links. This isn’t visible whilst wearing the watch, but if you put it down on the table you can see a difference between the black DLC and the steel poking through.

The buckle is a delight to behold and use. Super chunky and admirably engineered, it has everything you need in a unique design: 3 point micro adjustment, ratcheting extension, welded logo (which is splendidly crafted) and solid, dependable function.

The movement

The movement in the Hamtun Neon is the STP 1-11, which I’ve seen before in the Nodus Trieste and Nth Azores. It has a good reputation as being an easier-to-source alternative to the unequivocal ETA 2824. In fact, it’s more or less the Fossil Group’s direct competitor to the 2824: a replica with a few tweaks here and there (1 more jewel with 26, 6 more hours power reserve on average with 44), but in reality the same.

It has all the usual specs you’d expect, such as hacking seconds hand, hand winding, automatic, date. They’re also supposedly well regulated out of the factory.

The finishing is a much higher grade than the stock ETA, plus we have an added plus of a custom rotor. I personally would have thought that putting the Hamtun logo on the rotor would have made more sense than Neon, as then it would be able to be used constantly on all rotors moving forward. But a custom rotor is good nonetheless.

Using my Lepsi Watch Scope, the steel / yellow is coming in at +5.4 sec/day; the DLC at +8.4 sec/day. Both are well regulated – I usually hope for under 10 seconds a day out.

Final comments

When you take all things into consideration, the Hamtun Neon is surely going to be a hit. Not only is the design unique and well thought out; the build quality is sensational. Yes there’s a couple of things here and there I’d want to alter – no timepiece is truly faultless – such as the long lug to lug length, and the DLC coating missing places in the bracelet, but the overall impression is excellent.

The fact that it’s going to be available on Kickstarter from January 30th for a starting pledge of a mere £259 is an extremely good proposition. The build quality is much better than the price tag suggests – in the metal, it just looks and feels like such a superior timepiece.

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