Home Watch Types Automatic Riding the rails with the Lum-Tec RR-3

Riding the rails with the Lum-Tec RR-3

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While I imagine many, if not all, of our readers are familiar with Lum-Tec watches, they’re a brand we’ve never quite had the chance to do a hands-on review with in the past.  That is, until social media lived up to its name, helped build that connection, and here we are today, with a review of the Lum-Tec RR3.

This review was a bit of a mystery going into it.  Once we had the social connection established, and worked out the shipping details, we were told that a watch was on the way.  So, I was a bit like a kid with an unexpected present (well, more so than usual when a watch comes in), as I was not quite sure what was inside the box.  Opening it up, of course, revealed the vintage-inspired beauty of the Lum-Tec RR3.

Now, I do not know for sure, but I am presuming (and assuming) that the RR in the name stands for railroad.  In that, if not directly inspired by watches of the era, the styling of the Lum-Tec RR3 definitely makes itself feel like it calls those days home.  To start with, the dial is a shiny black enamel (and we know that I’m a fan of enamel dials).  Over the top of that, we have a great font for the numerals, which are then done in a vintage-colored luminous paint.  This, of course, is to make the watch look older than it is, but it also generates a nice black-and-tan palette.

The cutout for the date window on the Lum-Tec RR3 is subtle, and I’m glad to see the date wheel color-matched.  That said, it’s matte finish stands in stark contrast to the glossy enamel of the dial.  Some may like that, I would wonder what it would take to get a glossy date wheel.  Spinning over the top of all of that is a sword-style handset that is quite handsome, and well-proportioned to the dial and each other.

This is all powered by the ever-reliable Miyota 9015, which you can see through the sapphire window in the caseback (which also matches the sapphire crystal up front).  Flipping the watch over also reveals the quick-change spring bars on the included strap, which I am glad to see showing up more and more.  The leather strap itself is quite comfortable, with a matte finish and contrast stitching that picks up the hues from the dial.

Set as it is against the full polish case of the Lum-Tec RR3, the strap might feel muted, but I like that balance it gives to the shininess of the case.  Of course, it is much less a dressier watch for it, but I think that makes it more flexible for the day-to-day.  And, with those quick change spring bars, it would be a simple matter to put a higher-gloss black (or even brown) strap on there and you’re on your way.

For my time with the Lum-Tec RR3, I wore it primarily to the office, and it fit well there.  Reading the time was a snap, and the slimmer case slipped under a cuff without a problem.  Nighttime visibility was decent, though nothing quite as brilliant as what you see in photos of their other watches.  In this case, I’ll point the finger at the vintage-hued lume, as well as the thinner application that the vintage style demanded.  Not anything to detract from the watch, by any means.  The lume does it’s job, and does it well, just don’t expect a blinding light show from it.

When you learn that the Lum-Tec RR3, with its enamel dial, is a limited edition of just 100 pieces, you might think you’re in for some sticker shock.  And yeah, at $775, it’s higher-priced than you might expect given the movement. Frankly, I feel its right where it needs to be, as you’re getting a well thought out look from Ohio-based Lum-Tec. In other words, consider me a fan.  What I’m wondering, dear reader, is what your favorite watches from the Lum-Tec catalog are.  Be sure to sound off below, drop us a line, or chat us up over in our Slack room.  Who knows, you may be able to direct us to a future review from the brand!  lum-tec.com

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Lum-Tec RR3
  • Price: $775
  • Who’s it for?  You want that glow that Lum-Tec is known for, but not in a mil-spec format
  • Would I wear it? Indeed.  The lug-to-lug is a smidge bigger than I’d prefer, but the watch is still quite nice
  • What I’d change:  Following in on the above, see about shrinking that case size a bit
  • The best thing about it:  “Vintage” lume and numerals on an enamel dial

Tech Specs from Lum-Tec

  • 43mm width excluding crown
  • 22mm lug width
  • 11mm thick
  • 52mm lug tip to lug tip
  • 316L stainless steel polished finish case
  • Enamel dial
  • High tech Viton® gasket
  • Precision screw down crown with double diamond sealing system
  • Sapphire crystal with clear anti reflective coating
  • Threaded stainless steel caseback
  • 100 meters/330 ft. water resistance
  • Leather strap with matching buckle
  • Extra spring bars included for fitting other straps
  • Precision tuned 28,800 BPH Miyota 9015 Japan automatic movement with hand winding and hack feature
  • Calendar
  • Thick sapphire crystal
  • One year limited warranty
  • Limited numbered series of 100 pieces worldwide
  • Free lifetime timing adjustment service

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