In the vast panoply of watch brands, it is inevitable that there are some brands that we simply have never covered, whatever the reason may be. Luminox is one of those brands. For me, I was always aware of them (I still remember seeing the workbench ads in Popular Mechanics), but we just never made contact. Well, that is, until recently. I had run across a particular model (as it turns, a rather old one), and went chasing things down to get some solid contacts with the brand. As it were, that watch was no longer available, but of course, there was plenty of others in the catalog to have a look at. And that, dear reader, is how we arrived at today, with my review of the Luminox 1924.
Now, if you were going for complete accuracy, it would be worth noting that the full name of the watch is the Luminox Atacama Field Day Date 1924 (which is part of their larger Land series). Yeah, that’s a mouthful. For the purposes of this article, we’ll stick with calling it the Luminox 1924.
The field watch part of the equation is a bit less forced. As you are no doubt aware, field watches grew out of a need for accurate, reliable watches to be used on the battefield. This then also led to the need for shock and water resistance, and the no-frills look to the design of a field watch was set. That refers primarily to the case shape, as there have been all manner of dials created for these field watches by the brands over the decades. In the case of the Luminox 1924, it starts off with a metallic blue dial. Though it can be brighter when the light hits it, it primarily provides a fairly dark background, against which the large white numerals and slender white handset pop out in stark relief.
Ruggedness and case shape aside, that is what I look for in any sort of military-related watch (which a field watch certainly is) – how plainly readable is the watch at a glance? In that regard, the Luminox 1924 certainly excels – the eye has no problem picking out the time being indicated. You also will not have much problem finding the day and date displays (which are on either side of the dial), as those cutouts are outlined with white paint. For me, that’s just a distraction. Especially if you have color-matched (or close to color-matched) wheels under there, let the date information slip under the radar a bit more, getting called up only when it’s really needed (which is much, much less than reading the time). Splitting the two displays is an eye-catching way to go; as to how unbalanced that makes the dial feel (or not), I’ll leave to the individual to decide.
So, as I was saying, reading the time on the Luminox 1924 is certainly no issue at all. This includes even in the dark, as Luminox includes tritium tubes on the watch for continuous glow. In this case, you have smaller tubes set into the rehaut at the numerals (with an orange one at 12 to indicate that quickly), and another set of tubes on the handset that match the green on the rest of the numerals. As anyone who has experienced tritium tubes will attest, they may not be as bright as lume, they are still fun to watch at any hour of the night, as the glow is constant. I will admit that I was surprised that the large numerals on the dial of the Luminox 1924 had zero lume in them. Sure, the brand trades on the strength of tritium, but getting some SuperLuminova onto those numerals would really give things a bit of extra oomph.
On the other hand, the strap attached on the Luminox 1924 certainly has it’s oomph. This is a thicker piece of leather (well, two pieces), in a lighter tan color that pairs well with the blue dial. Sometimes when you see a strap that smooth (in terms of color and surface), you’re ready for something very plasticky (and smelling of such). Fortunately here, it has a very nice leather smell to it. That’s not the oomph, though. No, for me, it’s the double-tang implementation. You get that double-track of cutouts on the strap with gives the visual pop, and I suppose it is adding some functionality as well, ostensibly giving a more even distribution of the forces exerted on the strap by the buckle and tang. Then again, when was the last time you saw a tang blow through a leather strap? No matter, I liked the strap and buckle configuration here.
The strap plays a big role in how comfortable a watch is to wear, and I found the Luminox 1924 quite wearable. At 45mm and 100g, this is not a small watch by any stretch of the imagination. This is helped by a relatively thin case height (11.7mm) which keeps it from feeling overly bulky on the wrist, and allowing it to slip quite easily under a shirt cuff. Given the relatively light (or bright, depending on how you view it) tone that the strap has, the Luminox 1924 really works best as a casual watch in my book. Then again, the larger size speaks to that as well. I’m just fine with that. Just as we are likely to have a nice dress watch for special occasions, something like the Luminox 1924 has it’s place as well.
What is that place? Well, if I were putting the Luminox 1924 into a niche, I’d say it would be a solid camping (or other outdoors activity) companion. Aside from the styling, this is due to the 200m WR rating the watch carries (no worries about splashing in the river or at the well pump), the steel and sapphire protecting the Ronda 517 movement, and the tritium. That sort of self-charged lighting is quite handy at night, either around the campfire, or when you wake up at some odd hour due to rustling noises in the underbrush. You have to know when that raccoon absconded with your loaf of bread!
Coming in at a price of $625 (or $675 if you want a stainless steel bracelet), there is no arguing that the Luminox 1924 – and, indeed, the wider range – is a well-sorted design, and a relatively inexpensive way to get into the realm of tritium-equipped watches. Sure, the watch is a bit larger than I might prefer, and I do wish there was some traditional lume on the dial, but those are my preferences. There’s still plenty to like about the watch, and as I say, this would be a great outdoors companion for sure. At least, that’s what I think. Be sure to comment below if you agree or not, and what your favorite outdoors watch (tritium or not) is. luminox.com
- Brand & Model: Luminox Atacama Field Day Date 1924
- Price: $625 (leather), $675 (steel bracelet)
- Who’s it for?: You’re on the hunt for an outdoors watch that isn’t a hunk of plastic and LCDs
- Would I wear it?: In the end, likely not – it’s a bit larger than I prefer
- What I’d change: Let’s get those large numerals on the dial some luminous paint, shall we?
- The best thing about it: For this particular model, it’s the color palette. Oh, and of course, the tritium!
Tech Specs from Luminox
- Function : Day-Date
- Movement (technology) : Quartz Ronda 517 HH6
- Case diameter : 45.00 mm
- Case material : Stainless Steel black brushed
- Case Bezel : Fix
- Case Back : Screwed
- Crown : Security Screw-On
- Water resistance (m/ft/atm) : 200 / 660 / 20
- Crystal/Glass material : Sapphire glass anti reflective coating
- Strap/Bracelet material : Genuine Leather
- Case Height : 11.70 mm
- Weight : 100g