Elliot Brown Holton
Indestructible. Tough. Reliable. These are some of the words I have seen used to describe the Elliot Brown Holton. The Holton is a watch that had significant input from a branch of the British Military and is the first British Military issued watch in over ten years, claims Elliot Brown. Now, I say claims, as I do not really have any way to dispute that, at least not without some really heavy leg work. Elliot Brown seems to be a stand-up company though and I have seen many military and law enforcement personnel post their watches and say how tough and rugged they are etc, so I can’t see EB shooting themselves in the foot to try and sell one model of watch. All that said, I am not in the military, law enforcement or any of that, I am, as most of you know, a watch nut, like many of you reading. As always, I will come at this review from that perspective and let’s see how the Holton stacks up.
Elliot Brown Holton Specifications:
- 316L Stainless Case with PVD Treatment and Hardened Bezel
- 43mm Wide
- 12mm Thick
- 52mm Lug to Lug
- 22mm Lug Width
- Sapphire Crystal
- Swiss Ronda Calibre 715 Quartz Movement
- EPDM Rubber Strap (As shown, also available with Nato Strap)
- Battery Life 3 Years
Price $586 USD (Converted from British Pounds)
When the Elliot Brown Holton first arrived, the first thing I noticed was that it was very similar to the Tyneham I had reviewed HERE. It is, in fact, similar, as most Elliot Brown watches share similar DNA. The Tyneham is an automatic and lacks a dive bezel and is also a little smaller, but if you look at both side by side, you see they share a very similar if not identical case shape, crown placement and a fitted rubber strap as well. All EB watches are built with toughness in mind though, as I have talked about many times here before with other models. They all have triple sealed crowns and their proprietary metal housing for the movement for superior shock resistance. Elliot Brown tests all their watches rigorously as well.
The dial of the Holton is very free of unneeded text, clean, easy to read and non-reflective. These are obviously things that military personnel look for in a watch, an easy to read and very legible dial that does not really stand out or attract attention. The Holton is only available in two colors, the green shown here and a black dial. That is if you are buying from the Elliot Brown Website directly. If you want something of a different color, check out the Page and Cooper website where they have a grey dial and a teal/ocean blue dial and both of these models are sans date, if the date cutout on the regular version bothers you as it does me.
The case of the Elliot Brown Holton has a lot going on that is not visible to the naked eye. Plated in a gunmetal PVD, it has an anti-fingerprint coating applied to it and is very non-reflective. The bezel is hardened to 1200HV Vickers and PVD coated as well, though the website does not state what the insert is made of. Seeing as this a watch that is able to withstand almost anything you can throw at it, I will assume it is not aluminum but also steel that is hardened as well, or at least I am hoping. The fully indexed bezel insert has lume applied to the numbers and hash marks as well, although you will see they do not glow very bright in the dark. The bezel is easy to grip and turn, though I would say it is almost too easy to turn, at least on this example.
Here is what I meant by the lume. As you can see, the hands glow very strong and the dial markers are decent but the bezel illumination is poor. I was really hoping that it would be much brighter. Despite not being very bright, the dial and hands do glow for a good few hours before completely fading but the bezel turns dark in a matter of minutes, even in complete darkness.
A well-known aspect of Elliot Brown watches is the bolted down case back. The company does this to ensure two things; 1. The logo will always be perfectly aligned and it also ensures a perfect seal and tension for the shock absorbing system. Inside the Holton is a Swiss Ronda 715 quartz movement that has an end of life indicator. The battery has enough juice for about 3 years and is housed inside a steel movement holder. Obviously, this watch was designed with abuse in mind. That said, I would have loved to see a 10-year battery life with this watch.
The fitted rubber strap is not only attractive but very rigid and tough feeling. This is not one of the floppy silicone or flimsy natural rubber straps, this has a rigidity to it while still allowing a nice fit on the wrist. As is customary with fitted end straps, it will make the watch a longer, putting the overall length at about 53mm. I mention this because some guys are concerned about the watch length more than the width and how it would wear on a smaller wrist. If this strap is not for you, changing out the strap is easy enough. Solid screw bars with a 5-lobe head that screws into lug shoulder are removed with a supplied driver. This strap will also fit any other 22mm lug width Elliot Brown watch if you want to add some green to the one you own. If you want to forgo the rubber altogether, a webbing (Nato style) version is also available. Here it is on my 7 1/2 inch wrist.
Since day one, Elliot Brown watches were made with abuse in mind. They have countless videos and pictures on their website of their watches being severely tested in the elements, and coming out still working. This Elliot Brown Holton has been tested even harder to be able to withstand what military personnel will put it through, so I have no doubt it will hold up to fishing, kayaking, hiking or any other outdoor or physical activity we civilians might subject it to. This is obviously not the flashy piece or an all occasion watch. Obviously, this can be an everyday watch, depending on what you do for a living, but this watch also has a purpose. Grab this watch when you would grab a G-Shock and it should hold up just the same. This is that rugged piece that should be with you for a long time.