The US Navy SEALs, military, elite forces, an outstanding illumination system: these are some of the things that would most common terms that one would most likely find in a simple online search for Luminox. In this feature about the American Swiss-made brand, we’ll talk about these things and more.
If you’re curious about Luminox, this article is for you. Below, we’ll provide you with the most important things one needs to know about the brand, focusing on its history, partnerships, technologies, and collections.
History of Luminox
Luminox, which in Latin means “light” (lumi) and “night” (nox) in Latin, was introduced in 1989 by watch industry veteran Barry Cohen. He partnered with his friend Richard Timbo with a commitment: “to offer cutting-edge luminescence and readability in its line of high-performance sports watches.”
What Cohen wanted was to create a watch that could handle low light (or no light) settings. Since the launch of the brand, they have referred to this illumination technology as the Luminox Light Technology, which we will discuss further below.
Soon after the launch, the brand started partnerships with the US Navy SEALS and other elite units. Three years after Cohen and Timbo launched the brand, they were discovered by Nick North, the officer in charge of procurement for the US Navy SEALs in a trade show.
“As a research, development, test, and evaluation officer for the Navy SEALs, I was asked to find a dependable watch for night missions. After testing a variety of brands in the most arduous conditions, Luminox was the only one still functioning at the end of the evaluation,” North was quoted as saying.
It was in 1994 when the famous Luminox 2001 Original Navy Seal watch was launched. This was only the beginning—the brand soon got calls from other elite units all over the world, such as the New York City Police, the Singapore Air Force, and the Special Military forces in Israel.
Below, we will take a closer look at the Navy Seal watch, as well as the brand’s other collections.
To learn more about the brand’s history and partnerships, visit this page.
Luminox Light Technology: a self-powered illumination system
Luminox is known for its self-powered illumination system. The brand’s watches are visible for up to 25 years—you do not need to expose it to a light source or press a button for illumination like other conventional watches.
This illumination feature is what Luminox watches are most famous for. All of the brand’s watches have borosilicate glass capsules that remain lit, making the watch readable in all types of conditions.
Here is Luminox making an appearance in our article on the Best Luminous Watches.
This is why this is one of the most trusted brands by the United States Navy SEALs and other professionals (such as pilots a and professional divers) whose job requires the best watch visibility in the toughest environments.
Where are Luminox watches made?
Luminox’s headquarters is located in San Rafael, California, but the watches are all Swiss-made.
In 2006, Swiss watch brand Mondaine purchased a fifty percent stake in Luminox. Now, the brand has expanded to more than 30 countries all over the world.
In terms of accuracy, the Luminox Quartz movement has variations between -05. and +0.7 seconds per day and the Mechanical movement has average precision tolerances between -10/+40 seconds a day.
Sea, Air, and Land series
Luminox has three main series for its watches: Sea, Air, and Land, which we will discuss in detail below.
Luminox Sea Watch Series
As the name suggests, this collection is dedicated to diving. The Luminox Light Technology that we mentioned above allows the user to easily read the time even when underwater. The Sea series is the watch for those who dive (wreck divers, night divers, rescue divers, deep divers), and those who do water sports.
These nautical watches are water resistant up to 200 to 500 meters and can handle intense pressure. Available in both automatic and quartz movements, these watches have sizes from 39mm to 46mm.
This collection includes the 44mm Navy Seal Colormark Chrono 3180 series, with chronograph functions, a date window at 4 o’clock, and stainless steel, uni-directional rotating case. These also have a screw-down crown and caseback, and has a water resistance of up to 200m. You’ll have two choices for the strap: a durable stainless steel bracelet or a polyurethane strap with the Luminox shield. Check out the three Chrono versions here.
The Original Luminox 3001 has evolved into different models since it was introduced more than two decades ago. One of these modern versions is the Navy Seal 3500 Series, which are a bit larger than the original (this one’s 45mm).
The Luminox 3001 was featured on our article on the Best Dive Watches Under $500.
There’s also the Luminox Spec Ops Challenge 3050 series, which is a commemoration of the partnership of the brand with the Navy SEALs. The watch sets have a Navy SEAL Colormark or an A.N.U model. A part of the sales proceeds of this collection will go to the Navy SEAL Foundation.
For stories and specs of the complete Luminox Sea series, visit this page.
Luminox Air Watch Series
The partnerships of Luminox alone already show how reliable the watches are. For instance, for the Air series, the brand has a partnership with Lockheed Martin Corporation, the largest defense contractor in the world. Learn more about the partnership and some of the aircraft here.
Luminox supplies elite pilots of Air Forces all over the world, and the Air series promotes precision and durability. One of the watch collections under the series is the F-117 Nighthawk 3400, which was created after the US Air Force approached Luminox and asked them to make watches that fit their specifications.
The F-117 Nighthawk is the second version of the series, which has the same black stainless steel case but has been updated with a larger and more angular design. There’s the 6422 model, a 44mm with a 2nd timezone (24-hour), water resistance up to 200m, and of course, the illumination night vision tubes that last up to 25 years.
Another series under the air collection is the 44mm F-22 Raptor 9240, which makes use of titanium, making it significantly lighter. This one is a tribute to Lockheed Martin’s Stealth Fighter—the design was inspired by the F-22 jet, and the dial was inspired by its instrument panel. This watch has a Big Date function, with a case, bezel, and strap all made of the durable and light titanium. The water resistance is also up to 200m.
Luminox Land Watch Series
The Luminox Land series collaborated with the military, SWAT teams, law enforcement, and other elite force professionals all over the world. One of these watch collections is the RECON series, which is once again a collaboration with law enforcement. This time, it’s with Andrea Micheli, a former Swiss Army Military Security NCO, military journalist, and shooting instructor.
The RECON Point Man 8820 series is a bit bigger at 45mm and has a CARBONOX™ case. These watches were made for military personnel, having features such as navigation tools, a tachymeter, a second color countdown zone, and a compass. Check them out here.
There is also the Atacama Field Watch (see on Amazon) which is a collection that was inspired by the classic field watches. These are some of the brand’s best sellers, having a classic design and modern functionalities—a design which the brand says is “rugged and reliable, truly iconic in design and a terrific daily wear timepiece, suitable for the field, the office or the boardroom.”
The watches under the Atacama Field Automatic Series all have 44mm stainless steel cases and different straps (black leather, stainless steel, and green webbing). Check them out here. If you’d like to learn more about field watches, we’ve published an article that talks about its history and functions.
To see a comprehensive list of elite forces all over the world that use Luminox as their official timepiece, visit this page.
Partnership with Spartan USA
Luminox partnerships do not end with Navy Seals and other military groups. Another big partner is obstacle race and endurance brand Spartan USA. This partnership shows the brand’s flexibility—the watches continue to be used by military groups and has recently become part of sports events and races.
As the official watch and official timing partner, the brand is present in Spartan’s destination events, namely the Stadium Series, Honor Series, and The Spartan World Championship in the US, the Trifecta World Championship in Greece, and the 24-hour Ultra World Championship in Iceland.
“Equipped with Luminox timepieces, Spartans will be able to test their limits through the toughest conditions. The partnership of Luminox and Spartan will be a fascinating juxtaposition of the supreme symbols of strength, fitness and grit.” Read more about the partnership here.
Where to buy Luminox watches
You can buy Luminox watches on their official website. Here, customers are provided with great deals and discounts, as well as warranty and money-back guarantees. The brand is also active on social media, having a constantly-updated Instagram account, where Luminox users can buy watches and be featured—all you have to do is tag the brand and use the #timepiecetuesday hashtag.
You can also buy Luminox watches on Amazon.
There are also both brand new and second-hand Luminox watches available on eBay.
If you would like to purchase a Luminox watch from a store, you can easily locate branches of authorized dealers and retailers using the brand’s store locator on its website. The addresses are provided and are even linked on Google Maps.
Luminox warranty, return, and exchange policies
All Luminox watches have a two-year warranty from the date of purchase. The company’s policy states that they will cover “any malfunction in materials and workmanship during the warranty period of your watch,” which will be repaired for free, if you present the warranty certificate.
Luminox adds: “Any damage resulting from inappropriate use is excluded from the warranty, as is the battery, crystal, and wear to the case and strap or bracelet.”
For more details on the brand’s warranty terms and how to ship to the Service Center, visit this page.
Regarding returns and exchanges, Luminox will replace the defective/wrong item within five days of receiving the watch free of charge. If you would like to return a watch you purchased, the company will accept it for free, as long as it’s within a 30-day period. Customers must make sure that the watch is unused and does not have signs of wear. All watches should also be returned/exchanges with its original packaging.
Are Luminox watches worth the money?
Now that we’ve covered the essentials, we’ll answer the article’s main question: are they worth your money?
On its official US website, Luminox watches range from $275 to $1,400. Considering the technology and durability that these watches have, the prices are reasonable.
These timepieces are built to endure the toughest environments, so if your job entails being in the field (as well as being in extremely dark environments), a Luminox watch is an excellent investment.
We’ve actually recommended the brand in a number of our articles before, such as this one—the Best Watches For Paramedics & EMTs or this piece, which recommends the best watches for hunting. The Luminox Light Technology is what makes the brand unique and popular among the groups we discussed above, so if you need to have a watch that stays bright at all times, this brand is one of your best bets.
You don’t need to be a member of the military or be a Navy SEAL in order to utilize Luminox watches. If you like the outdoors or simply need a durable watch to wear every day, these would do the job—they look great and can take a beating.
We hope this article was helpful and addressed your questions about Luminox. Good luck with your search!