Lüm-Tec 300M-3 Review

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My name is Racer88 and I’m a lumatic. I can’t resist glow-in-the-dark watches. When I stumbled across Lüm-Tec, my lumacy loomed large. I could talk about the Lüm-Tec 300M-3‘s case, straps and the company’s customer service. And I will. But let’s get straight to the central question: how bright is this thing? . . .

After a quick blast with a flashlight the Lüm-Tec 300M-3 looks like it emerged from the #4 reactor of Chernobyl.  We’re talking “homing-beacon-for-ships” bright. Brighter than a math major who graduated magna cum laude. If it was a spotlight, it would blind the entire audience. If it was a star, it would be UY Scuti. And then . . .

Then the lume tapers off to a very visible medium level and holds steady through the night. Medium brightness sure, but my aging eyes had a hard time reading the orange lume of the hour and minute hands at 5 am.

Lum-Tec lume

Lüm-Tec relies on what they call MDV Technology – Maximum Darkness Visibility. According to Lum-Tec’s European webpage,

We lay down a layer of white colored titanium dioxide by rotary print, then 6 layers… of custom developed grade X1 Swiss 208LE + Highly reactive spec X1 grade C3 BL Super-Luminova, followed by a layer of clear gloss coat.

The Lum-Tec 300M-3’s 60-click unidirectional bezel is also generously lumed with a sapphire inlay for protection. It turns smoothly; there’s a barely discernible level of play.

I dig the orange and white treatment of the dial. While the watch is rated to 990 feet (300 meters), the orange indices and hands will fade to gray beyond 25 feet of depth, due to the spectrum-filtering properties of water. The only diving I do nowadays is at my desk, so bring on the orange!

The small date window, located between 4 and 5 o’clock, so effectively blends with the dial, it’s rendered nearly invisible. That’s a good thing, if you don’t like date windows detracting from the dial esthetics. Not so good if you’d like to be able to read the date. OK, reboot . . .

The Lüm-Tec 300M-3 arrived in a nice box, including a signed certificate of authenticity with the serial number. Mine had number 150 engraved on the caseback. While the watch is part of a limited edition run of 150, Lüm-Tec GM “Bes” assured me they assign serial numbers randomly (except for serial-number-conscious clients).  So, I didn’t get the last 300-M3.

Lum-Tec thick

The Lüm-Tec 300M-3 plays heavy metal. The hefty build of the 40mm x 48.5mm x 14.75mm 316L stainless steel case and the tank-tread steel bracelet tips the scales just shy of half a pound (7.65 ounces). In a war with your dress shirt cuff, it’s no contest.

The watch’s beefy bracelet starts 22-mm wide at the lug, finishing at 22-mm all the way around. The clasp, which includes a tool-less ratcheting micro-adjustment feature, is just a hunk, a hunk of burnin’ hardware.

Removing four links sized the Lüm-Tec 300M-3 perfectly for my seven-inch wrist, bringing the weight down to a relatively svelte 199 grams.

Thanks to the bracelet’s snug fit and the watch’s balanced weight, this quintessential tool/dive watch fits comfortably on my G-SHOCK lovin’ wrist.

The watch also ships with a rubber strap, which knocks a whopping 82 grams off the total weight of the watch with my sized bracelet. Yet, I prefer the metal bracelet.

The 300M-3 runs off a Miyota 9015 automatic movement, rightly touted as an “economical workhorse.” The smooth-sweeping hackable engine features a quick-set date and a screw-down crown.

Lum-Tec regulates all of their automatics before shipping to at least within +/- 5 seconds per day in three positions. After four days wear, it proved to be dead-nuts accurate, clocking in at +/- zero seconds per day.  (ETA: After 5 days it dropped 2 seconds, averaging -0.43 s/d.)

Lüm-Tec is considered a “micro-brand.” They make small batches of assembled-to-order, boldly-designed watches right here in the good ol’ USA. Specifically Mentor, Ohio. Unlike the micro-brands offering little more than value-driven homages, Lüm-Tec has crafted their own design language.

Lüm-Tec offers a one-year warranty and free lifetime timing adjustments for their automatic models. For their quartz models, it’s a two-year warranty, free lifetime battery changes, seal cleaning and pressure testing.

'Murica!

The Lum-Tec 300M-3 is now in my regular rotation and I’ve got two more Lüm-Tecs on pre-order. Yeah, it’s that good.

Model: Lum-Tec 300M-3
Price paid: $636 ($795 – 20% veteran discount)

SPECIFICATIONS:
Case: Black PVD coated stainless steel.
Crystal: Flat Sapphire – AR coated both sides.
Strap / Bracelet: Black PVD coated stainless steel / rubber strap.
Display: 3-hand analog with date window at 4:30 position.
Dimensions / weight: 40(w) x 48.5(l) x 14.75(h)-mm / 199 grams or 7 ounces (bracelet sized for 7 inch wrist). 117 grams with rubber strap.
Movement: Miyota 9015 automatic.
Accuracy: Miyota claims -10~+30 sec per day. I observed much better: +/- 0 for 4 days.
Water resistance: 300 meters.

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Design * * * * *
A bold dial design, enhanced by lume-on-steroids + black PVD coating + a case that stands proud on the wrist + a wide non-tapering bracelet = horological badassery.

Legibility * * * *
With the bold font numeral 12 at the top, large indices and broad sword-shaped hands, you can read the time from across the room, day OR night. Need to know the date? Get a flashlight and magnifier, even during the day.

Comfort * * * *
It’s heavy. However, the snugly-fitted bracelet, with on-the-fly micro-adjustability, makes the weight unnoticeable. Or you can lighten the load with the included rubber strap.

Overall * * * *
It may be “just another diver.” But, the two-tone (orange and white) dial markings and lume, along with the chunky construction and accurately-regulated movement, make this watch a winner for me.

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. I guess you get used to that unconventional index/hand visual balance. I’m not sure I understand the idea of the hands going dark when you go below 25 ft. Is that a feature or a bug?

    • I’m not sure what your first point is referring to, exactly. Unconventional what? The size of the indexes and hands? The indices are part of what attracted me. Casio makes some watches with large indices – some of the Pro Treks and some of the G-Shocks (like the analog Frogman and Mudmaster).

      Divers know that certain colors (visible light wavelengths) are lost as you go deeper in the water. Red goes away first. Orange is next. Eventually, as you go deeper, everything looks blue / gray (unless you bring artificial lighting with you). So, the orange hands and indices won’t “go dark,” but they will become grayish in color beyond 25 feet of depth. It’s neither a feature nor a bug… just Physics. 🙂

      Stand by – I’ll upload a graphic:

      • As a non-diver, I never really thought about that, though it now makes sense.
        IMHO the oversized index marks compete with the hands for immediate recognition, but I guess expectation alters perception.

        • I think the hands could be a tiny bit bigger. But, I had no issues reading the time at all. I found it to be very legible.

          Here’s a photo I found with Google, illustrating the loss of color at depth due to filtration of orange / red. Then when you add a flash, the color comes back, since it’s not filtered by so many feet of water.

  2. How does the lume compare to Luminox? Agreed on the design language. They’ve found a way to get out of the shadow cast by the Rolex Sub.

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