Luminox has been a recognized leader in manufacturing rugged watches for quite some time now. I remember, more than a decade ago, looking at one and thinking, "Yeah; I'd like one of those." Of course, back then dollars were a lot tighter than they are now and I really couldn’t justify the need. Then, a few months back, I was surprised to receive a Luminox as a gift. The Luminox I received is a now-discontinued model, the 3959 EVO SEAL Orange Series II. Still, I consider it representative of Luminox quality, so having put it through approximately six months of steady field testing, I felt it was worth reporting on.
The 3959 EVO SEAL is manufactured using a fiberglass reinforced polyester injection molded case. This differs from the majority of Luminox watches which are manufactured from PVD plated Stainless Steel. The case measures 44mm (1.75") in diameter and 14mm (9/16") thick. Because of the synthetic material case, the watch isn't as heavy as you'd expect to be just looking at it. It weighs less than two ounces. It has a scratch-resistant mineral crystal, an orange dial and is water resistant to 200 meters (666 feet). Since the deepest dive I've ever been on was about 130 feet, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to ever test that 200 meter limit. The movement is listed as "Swiss made quartz movement."
Although the watch has been discontinued, you can still find some of them available for sale online and retail prices look to run between $200-$250. Is that a good price? Well, let me tell you about my experience with this watch.
As I said, I received it as a gift. The person who gave it to me lives on the west coast. It was purchased out there and shipped cross-country to me in Maryland. When I received it I set it and put it on. When I looked at it to check the time it was off by more than an hour. I reset it, put it back on and kept on going. The next time I looked at it, the time was off by about four hours. I contacted Luminox and the person who gave me the gift and ended up sending it to Luminox for service. After all, there is a two year manufacturer's warranty on all Luminox watches. There is a TEN year manufacturer's warranty on Luminox's illumination system (more on that in a few).
The watch shipped out, was serviced and was shipped back. I reset the time upon receipt and wore it as my needs dictated. That included swimming, running, working on my car and my wife's Jeep, hiking, attending training functions, etc. As I look at it now (about six months later), it's within three seconds of the time I set it for. That's pretty good. I also examined it for scratches and / or dings and can only find two very small ones: one near the twelve o'clock position right on the edge of the crystal, and one equally small one between the seven and the eight, also right at the edge of the crystal. I believe these were caused when I was doing yard work with this watch on and found myself elbow deep in gravel.
Now let's talk some about the Luminox illumination system. First, understand that yes, I'm a "watch guy". I have eight of them. I have seven that I wear regularly and one that includes a heart-rate-monitor that I wear specifically when I exercise. All of these watches are lined up on my bureau about two feet from my bedside. Each of them faces up and all but the two digital watches have "luminous" hands and hour markings. When I wake up in the middle of the night though, the ONLY watch I can see on my bureau is this Luminox. Why is that?
The other watches all have a luminous material painted onto their hands and hour-markers that absorb light and shine after they’ve been "loaded". Luminox manufacturers their watches with gas tubes that actually generate their own light. To help us understand I copied this from their website:
Each watch employs tiny self-powered micro gas lights developed by the world leader in the luminous compound industry. These micro gas lights (borosilicate glass capsules) are installed into the hands, hour markers, and when necessary, bezels of our watches. Luminox watches need no external light source to "charge" the paint on the dial or hands in order to glow as do conventional luminous watches. Nor do they require the push of a button to light the dial as do watches with electroluminescence. The U.S. military has long recognized the advantages of micro gas light sources and their use is specified in procurement specification MIL-W-46374F.
Our self-powered illumination–Luminox Light Technology (LLT) allows one to view time-at-a-glance, no matter what the light level, even in complete darkness. This ease of being able to read time effortlessly seems to fill a need for various military and law enforcement groups.
So, the wear testing I've performed has proven this is a pretty rugged watch - and it's not even the stainless steel case version. It keeps good time (within a half-second per month accuracy according to my testing). It's water resistant far deeper than I'm ever going to need (and now Luminox has a "deep dive" line that's water resistant to 500 meters if you really want that).
After all that, I can recommend Luminox watches without hesitation. Check out their website for more info: www.luminox.com.