BACKGROUND LUMINOX are a Swiss watch brand specializing in rugged sports and military watches. Whilst their watches are Swiss made, they are known for their affordability and great value for money. LUMINOX watches have been chosen by a number of professional military teams such as the US Navy SEALs and the United States Coast Guard, whose members have been wearing them for more than 20 years now.
The Deep Dive came in two boxes; an outer high-quality black cardboard box with a large embossed, shiny deep sea divers helmet and a Luminox logo along with some text in white: 'Deep Dive, 500 meters / 50bar, ISO 6425 Certified. An inner dry box of the type made by Pelican housed the watch along with its paperwork (warranty, instructions, certificate etc.) and a rubber divers extension strap. I like the fact that Luminox had put an actual metal name plate with their logo on the box rather than just slapping a sticker on it as most do. A fitting presentation, really.
The Deep Dive isn't going to win any awards as fashion accessory or an item of luxury horological jewelry. It has been designed with a real purpose in mind. There's none of this suede wannabe dive watch nonsense that we sometimes get with watches named ‘Deep Diver’ or ‘Abyss Diver’ that aren’t even fit for your bathtub! It actually is a dive watch and has been designed to be a utilitarian diving tool that if it had anything to say it would be: ‘take me diving’! On the other hand it isn’t too sore on the eyes either; if glossy black and lifeboat orange aren't already best mates they should be. The Deep Dive has the ultimate sleek and sporty color combo.
The case has a diameter of 44mm and thickness of 17.5mm; I don't think that's including the specialized crown protection and bezel locking devise though, which does add a little more to the watches' overall size. It has been constructed from 316L Stainless steel and then PVD coated in a black brushed finish. There's the ubiquitous HEV on its left lateral side; I like the fact that this has been highlighted by leaving it in steel, a nice detail.
BLS Both the crown and bezel are protected by a LUMINOX patent pending system that simultaneously locks the bezel in position whilst guarding the crown. The 'Bezel Locking System' or BLS prevents the bezel from being turned or accidentally bumped whilst on a dive. So what's wrong with a standard unidirectional divers bezel, I hear you ask?
To start with, bumping and moving the position of the bezel whilst being a distinct possibility isn’t that common (is it?); the worst that could happen if you did accidentally move the position of the bezel (for arguments sake, if you weren’t using a dive computer (why wouldn't you be?), or let’s say you were, but it crashed on you); is that your dive time would be cut short. This is the very reason why Luminox feel that, whilst not critical to live or death, having your dive time cut short is an annoyance that could and should be avoided. The BLS completely illuminates any chance of this ever happening.
USING the BLS couldn’t be simpler; it’s just a question lifting the latch to either adjust the crown or re-position the bezel, when you have finished you simply push the latch back down until you feel the reassuring click of the system locking.
BEZEL The bezel itself is a 60 click type, with 60 deep notches that have been cut into its outer edge. This gives a really nice grip. The action of the bezel is firm and deliberate, there is zero play. The bezel has an elapsed dive time scale marked out in five minute increments. The numerals have been painted on in silver. But I kind of think an engraved bezel would have looked better and would have been far more durable. At the 12 o’clock position there’s a large triangular silver marker with a small glass capsule containing a blue tritium tube.
CROWN The crown, which is signed with the Luminox logo is protected anyway as it’s a screwdown type with multiple gaskets, but it is further protected by the BLS, which doubles as a full closure crown guard.
CRYSTAL The Deep Dive has a flat sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides, so you get that lovely blue tint on the glass (see photos) that you get with some of the great Swiss divers from Breitling or Omega, and which is so attractive! Excuse the pun, but this also gives a crystal clear view on to the dial.
CASEBACK The Deep Dive has a slightly domed screwdown caseback. It has super cool deep-etched deep sea divers helmet in its middle. LOVE IT! Then there’s a ring of white text around the perimeter of the helmet engraving. The text includes specifications and serial numbers.
DIAL The Deep Dive has a stepped dial; the lower section is home to a lovely big Luminox logo and a load of text in orange. ‘PROFESSIONAL, 500 METERS, HELIUM VALVE, AUTOMATIC.’ In my opinion printing specification / features text on a the dial is a little unnecessary; firstly I feel it kind of insults my intelligence, I bought the watch for god’s sake, I know all of its features! OK, I mean if I had actually bought it, this one’s a loaner ;) but you know what I mean. But more importantly it crowds the dial and upsets the balance. Dive watch design 101, keep it clean!
The upper deck of the dial is where the hour markers are; big, bold lifeboat orange with tritium tubes in the middle of them. The minute hand is in white so that it contrasts against the orange and black of the dial. The hour and second hands are in orange. At 3 o’clock there’s a massive white date window; why couldn’t’ it have been black?! That would have been so much cooler.
The Deep Dive is illuminated by a total of 19 ‘Night Vision Tubes’. There are a 14 for the hour markers; three are used for the 12hr marker alone. The minute hand has two, then there’s one each for the hour hand and secondhand pointer. Finally the one already mentioned on the 12 o’clock bezel pip. Everything that is important to reading dive time; the minute hand, the 12 o’clock dial and bezel markers are in blue and the rest are in green.
LOVE HATE I have a love-hate relationship with Tritium Tubes, whilst they can burn for 25 years or so and don’t need any external light sources to charge them up, they don’t offer that satisfying bright glow that we get from say - C3 SuperLuminova. I have to say I find them a little boring. You really need to be in pitch blackness to fully appreciate them. However, I can’t very well argue with the all the modern military units, who seem to favor them over SuperLuminova. In my opinion, an optimum illumination system would consist of balance of both tubes and applied lume.
The Deep Dive has a water-resistance of 500 meters or 50ATM. 500 meters would in my opinion be the absolute minimum depth rating for any watch that called itself ‘Deep Dive’. I mean there are deep dives and there are deep dives. I don’t know why we couldn’t have at least had 1000meters. I guess LUMINOX deemed it unnecessary, which it is. But high depth ratings are cool, aren’t they? In the same way that torque and horse power is.
Swiss made ETA 2826-2 Automatic movement with hours, minutes, seconds and date function. I’m not a really a movement geek, but I think it’s pretty much like the 2824-2, but with a larger date wheel.
STRAP / BUCKLE
The Deep Dive has a lovely 26mm wide (tapering to 24mm) black rubber divers straps. The material used for its construction is silicone / polyurethane, which is both durable and comfortable to wear as it conforms nicely to the shape of your wrist. It’s a custom strap that fits flush against the middle of lugs, which incidentally are screwed. The underside of the strap has dozens of little LUMINOX icons that make up its grip. It’s a really nice strap.
BUCKLE The strap is attached to black PVD triple-pronged steel buckle. I love double prongs anyway; they look cool and are twice as secure, but triple prongs are even better!
19 Tritium tubes, BLS for locking the bezel and protecting the crown, a unidirectional rotatable divers bezel with elapsed dive time, time, date, a water-resistance of 500m and a rubber divers strap with divers extension. ISO 6425 certified.
DURABILITY / BUILD
The watch I have is a very late prototype version; it’s pretty much the same as the production model. The build is superb, fit finish, everything is nice and tight, it fits together beautifully. Text, markers etc. are lovely and crisp. The PVD coating is nice and even. Great quality strap. High quality components such as Sapphire crystal and 316L Stainless steel have been used. This watch will take pretty much anything your average recreational diver could ever throw at it and more. The PVD coating will take a fair amount of abuse, but this is 2011 and everyone else is using DLC now, as it performs better. I’m not sure how the bezel markers will hold up over time either.
ISO The Deep Dive is ISO 6425 certified, which it means that it complies with a whole catalog of requirements that must be met to get its certification. It’s an added reassurance.
ON THE WRIST The Deep Dive wears very nicely, it sits well on the wrist. This is not a particularly big dive watch by today’s standards and because it’s on a rubber strap it’s not particularly heavy either. I couldn’t even say that the BLS interferes with your wrist as the actual latch sits up higher than the crown does. As already mentioned the strap’s super comfortable.
The MSRP on the Deep Dive 1500 Series is circa 2’000USD. It’s a little high for a Luminox; I wouldn’t usually expect to pay so much for one of their watches. We’re almost talking Breitling or Omega money here! But the Deep Dive is LUMINOX's high-end diver with a Swiss mechanical movement and a sapphire crystal etc. The good news is that you should be able to pick one up for around 1600USD without breaking too much of a sweat from any of the online authorized vendors.
CONSIDER This is a tough one, I can’t think of anything that is comparable looks wise or spec. wise that is Swiss made. Take a look at the new MAT Watches, they don’t have tubes, but are really nice looking PVD divers with Mil spec. The same goes for the new RALF TECH WRX ‘A’ Auto, which is DLC coated. If you love tubes and are on a budget, check out DEEP BLUE Watches.
It looked cool in the first images I saw of it and it looked cool in person. But it was never going to the kind of watch that I would rush out and buy myself. However I was eventually won over by the Deep Dive’s honest approach to its design. Functionality seems to have played a far greater role than aesthetic have. I kept having to tell myself that it’s a dive watch. Unfortunately my perception of dive watches has become a little blurred with all the different styles that there are, so when an actual born ‘n’ bred diver was plonked in front of ,it took me a while to remember that dive watches were never actually meant to be about fashion or style. They’re instruments for measuring elapsed dive time, which the Deep does billiantl!
The LUMINOX Deep Dive is the utilitarian diving instrument; it does what is says on the box and more!
GOOD NEWS Luminox are very generously providing this watch, which is in tip-top condition for the next OceanicTime Giveaway. Coming very soon!
MANY THANKS To Luminox for making this review possible!