Welcome to Brand Breakdown, a series of comprehensive yet easy-to-digest guides to your favorite companies, with insights and information you won’t find on the average About page.

Founded in 1989 by American entrepreneur Barry Cohen, Luminox occupies a unique segment of the watch space that bridges horological enthusiasts, outdoor recreation, and emergency services/military. Elite groups such as the U.S. Navy SEALs have depended on their timepieces as an essential component of their kit. (A full list of the distinguished organizations that use Luminox watches can be found here.)

In addition to emergency services, Luminox takes environmental responsibility seriously — they offer multiple watches made of #TIDE material (ocean-collected waste plastic). Luminox’s parent company, Mondaine Watch LTD is a carbon-neutral manufacturer and publishes an annual sustainability report. Part of this comes in the form of Luminox’s (Mondaine Group’s) partnership with FairVentures, an organization that implements agroforestry to assist in offsetting carbon footprints.

luminox watch
A Luminox ICE-SAR watch on the wrist of a search and rescue member in Iceland.

Hunter D. Kelley

Luminox remains a value-driven adventure watch company that stands out by being a leader in watch luminescence technology. LLT (Luminox Light Technology) consists of tritium gas-filled tubes that illuminate hands and hour markers on the brand’s wares. The distinct advantage of using LLT for lume is that the luminance does not rely on a battery or have to be charged by ultraviolet light (like the sun) to be activated. The tritium tubes are safe and stay constantly illuminated for 25 years. This technology is perfect for Navy SEALs and other elite organizations.

True to its ethos, Luminox is a partner of the Navy SEALs Foundation, providing support for warriors, veterans, and families of Navy SEALs with resources for tragedy, recovery, education, and programs for physical and mental health.

Brand History

In contrast to legacy Swiss brands, Luminox was started in 1989 in the United States — the name is derived from Latin: Lumi (light) and Nox (night). (The company’s goal was to provide quality timepieces that were highly legible in the dark.) In the early ’90s, Luminox founder Barry Cowen partnered with the United States military to develop a watch specifically for the Navy SEALs.

After the success of the Navy SEAL watch in the early 1990s, other elite organizations began to request Luminox as their watch of choice for duty. Some of these early adopters include the New York City Police Department and the U.S. Coast Guard. By the late 1990s, Luminox was supplying U.S. Air Force pilots and had partnered with aerospace company Lockheed Martin.

luminox light up
Tritium tube-powered Luminox Light Technology in action.

Luminox

As Luminox continued to grow, the company began supplying athletes with watches. Among the most notable partnerships were the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton teams for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Luminox watches could be seen on many of the wrists of those Olympians as they competed on the icy track.

In 2006, the Swiss group Mondaine purchased a fifty-percent stake in Luminox. With the influx of capital, Luminox was able to distribute its watches in over fifty countries. In addition to becoming part of the Mondaine Group, Luminox could now be labeled as “Swiss Made.” (As of 2017, the Swiss Made designation requires watches to have a certain percentage of manufacturing costs generated in Switzerland − 60% for quartz and 80% for mechanical watches.)

Luminox continues to be a leader in micro gas tube luminescence technology and has built a following among enthusiasts and outdoorsmen. Availability and price accessibility make Luminox a military and civilian favorite. (If you’re looking to see these watches in extreme environments, follow Luminox brand ambassador Bear Grylls on one of his adventures. )

luminox 30th anniversary
The Luminox Sport Timer 0900 30th Anniversary from 2019.

Luminox

Air

luminox watches air collection
A selection of Luminox AIR Series watches, some of which include chronograph or GMT complications.

Luminox

The origin of the AIR series began when Luminox developed a watch for F-117 Nighthawk pilots. Today, air forces from many countries are supplied with AIR series watches, all of which feature have flight-specific functionality.

Bear Grylls Survival Air Series 3762 GMT

luminox.com

$795.00

This true survival watch can track three time zones: In addition to the local hour hand, a 24-hour GMT hand provides a second time zone on the inner dial, while the world time function printed on the CARBONOX™ bi-directional rotating bezel can show a third.

Movement: Ronda 515 HF 6 quartz

Diameter: 45mm

Material: Stainless steel

Water Resistance: 200m

Strap: Mesh stainless steel bracelet or fabric strap

Price: $795 (bracelet); $695 (strap)

F-117 Nighthawk GMT Watch 6421

luminox.com

$1,075.00

The Luminox F-117 Nighthawk GMT features Luminox Light Technology on the indices and hands, while SuperLuminova is applied to the numerals. The angular contours of the bezel help you grip it, similar to how the same contours on the F-117 Nighthawk aircraft help to reduce its radar cross-section.

Movement: Ronda 515 HF 6 quartz

Diameter: 44mm

Material: PVD-coated stainless steel

Water Resistance: 200m

Strap: PVD-coated stainless steel bracelet or Kevlar strap

Price: $1,575 (bracelet); $1,075 (strap)

F-22 Raptor 9241

luminox.com

$1,190.00

The unusual bidirectional rotating bezel on the Luminox F-22 Raptor watch is used as a circular slide rule — calculations are performed by aligning the bezel with a corresponding number on the dial’s chapter ring. This is a handy tool to assist pilots while performing calculations such as weight balancing and navigational planning.

Movement: Ronda 9241M quartz

Diameter: 44mm

Material: Titanium

Water Resistance: 200m

Strap: Leather

Price: $1,190

Sea

luminox watches sea collection
Luminox SEA Series timepieces typically take the form of a dive watch with a rotating bezel.

Luminox

The SEA series is the core of the Luminox brand. With its origins in co-development with the Navy SEALs, the SEA series provides a complete collection of Luminox watches that range from tactical to contemporary.

Automatic Sport Timer 0924

luminox.com

$1,425.00

If you’re looking for something a little less tactical, Luminox offers the Automatic Sport Timer 0924 (blue) and 0921 (black), which feature mechanical movements with a classic sport diver aesthetic.

Movement: Sellita SW-220 automatic

Diameter: 42mm

Material: Stainless steel

Water Resistance: 200m

Strap: Bracelet

Price: $1,425

Navy SEAL Date Magnifier 3617 Set

luminox.com

$595.00

To increase legibility, Luminox offers a version of its Navy SEAL watch with a date magnification window. This set comes with two interchangeable straps: an OD (olive drab) green fabric strap and a black rubber strap, which are accompanied by a strap changing tool.

Movement: Swiss quartz

Diameter: 45mm

Material: CARBONOX™

Water Resistance: 200m

Strap: Rubber and fabric

Price: $595

Original Navy SEAL 3001

luminox.com

$395.00

Movement: Swiss quartz

Dimensions: 43mm

Material: CARBONOX™

Water Resistance: 200m

Strap: Rubber

Price: $395

Land

luminox watches land collection
Certain Luminox LAND Series watches come in steel cases, a relative rarity for the brand.

Luminox

The LAND series from encompasses watches designed for extreme adventuring, search and rescue, and military field operations.

Bear Grylls Survival Land Series 3798

luminox.com

$695.00

The Luminox Bear Grylls Survival Land Series 3798 features some handy tools for wilderness situations: The tachymeter scale on the bezel is replaced with a walking speed indicator that is used in conjunction with the chronograph complication. Additionally, Bear Grylls has replaced the traditional strap with braided paracord. Instructions for using both emergency features can be found HERE.

Movement: Ronda 5021.D quartz

Dimensions: 45mm

Material: CARBONOX™

Water Resistance: 200m

Strap: Paracord

Price: $695

Atacama Field Automatic 1902

luminox.com

$990.00

The Atacama Field Automatic is a traditional field watch with a mechanical movement. With its legible, clean design, it’s a more conservative choice than other Luminox models — though like all Luminox watches, it features LTT technology for a constant glow.

Movement: Sellita SW220-1 automatic

Diameter: 44mm

Material: Stainless steel

Water Resistance: 200M

Strap: Steel bracelet or webbed fabric strap

Price: $990 (bracelet); $975 (strap)

ICE-SAR Arctic 1007

luminox.com

$545.00

Luminox partnered with the Icelandic Association of Search and Rescue to create the Arctic series watches. There are six different dial color options: charcoal, black, dark blue, light blue, and white. Each ICE-SAR watch comes with a rubber strap that has fabric stitched onto the exterior.

Movement: Ronda 515 HF 6 quartz

Diameter: 46mm

Material: CARBONOX™

Water Resistance: 200m

Strap: Rubber strap

Price: $545

Collaborations

luminox collab watches
Luminox collaborates with organizations such as ICE-SAR, Major League Fishing and more.

Luminox

Luminox collaborates with brands and organizations to create specialty watches. These partnerships include ones focussing on ocean conservation; the Navy SEAL Foundation; Luminox’s brand ambassadors; and Major League Fishing.

#TIDE Recycled Ocean Material Eco Series Watch 8902

luminox.com

$545.00

The #TIDE Recycled Ocean Material Eco Series watch is made out of — you guessed it — recycled ocean plastic waste. Luminox uses 100% recycled material for the case, bezel, and strap. The ocean plastic waste is collected from the Andaman Sea before being upcycled into 3D printing material used to manufacture the #TIDE Eco Series watches.

Movement: Ronda 515 HH6 quartz

Diameter: 46mm

Material: Recycled ocean waste (plastic)

Water Resistance: 200m

Price: $545

Pacific Driver 3135

luminox.com

$595.00

The Pacific Diver incorporates a traditional dive watch design with proprietary technology such as LLT lume and a CARBONOX™ bezel. It’s also the flagship watch of Luminox’s sponsorship of the Major League Fishing/Bass Pro Tour.

Movement: Ronda 515 quartz

Dimensions: 44mm

Material: Stainless steel

Water Resistance: 200m

Strap: Rubber strap or steel bracelet

Price: $595 (strap); $695 (bracelet)

Navy SEAL Colormark 3051.GO.NSF

luminox.com

$435.00

The Navy Seal Foundation Exclusive watch is about as core Luminox as it gets: The Navy Seal Foundation supports US Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft crewman, Naval Special Warfare personnel and their families. Buying a watch that supports such an initiative is a win-win.

Movement: Swiss quartz

Diameter: 44mm

Material: CARBONOX™

Water Resistance: 200m

Strap: Rubber

Price: $435

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