US-based LUM-TEC's first dive watch is the 500M. I've written about it before but now have the chance to offer a full hands-on review. When LUM-TEC wanted to make a dive watch - they knew the expectations would be high. Going along with the futuristic and modern theme of the brand, the goal was likely to come up with something visually fascinating, highly legible, durable, and of course affordable. Fans of the brand were very excited when it was released, and now a bit later, the design still looks good.
In order to present the watch as nicely as possible, I had professional photographer and friend-of-aBlogtoRead.com Beau Hudspeth take some pictures of the model I had, the 500M-3. He previously shot another LUM-TEC watch (the B15 here). I like how he can take images of a real watch and make it look like a fancy 3D computer graphic - that is the same watch that is on my wrist. The 500M-3 is a real looker. LUM-TEC gave the watch a sharp, sculpted look that feels modern and functional. The case is high and 44mm wide in steel. This version is PVD black titanium carbide coated with all orange indicators and hands.
At 18.5mm thick with this design, saying the 500M is a bold watch is a bit of an understatement. It actually wears snugly, and is legible, but this is a "look at me watch" all the way. I envision some very loud celeb chef on the Food Network wearing one of these. There are two elements about the watch that I think will change with future versions if LUM-TEC extends this line as I think they will. First is the crystal. The watch has a very dramatically curved AR coated sapphire crystal. The extreme curve makes the dial look like a bubble, and there is a lot of purple (from the AR coating) reflections on it at all times. While the hour indicators and hands are large enough to see with much easy, there is a lack of "clarity" that I think LUM-TEC can improve on later. Still a good look however. This model has a Seiko Instruments caliber NH15 automatic movement with hand-winding. By all accounts decent movement, but I think that future models will have demand for Swiss movements - just call it a guess.
Some people complain that the custom rubber strap included with the 500M is a bit thin. It helps the watch be comfortable as the strap wraps easily. Some people however prefer a thicker strap - for those people there are plenty of straps to get. These are 24mm wide. Aside from these minor complains there is a lot to like about the watch. The design is cool, with exaggerated features and an impossible to miss dial. For this version LUM-TEC makes use of their excellent in-house MDV lume in orange. The lume is very richly applied in the dial and hands (and bezel). The thick bezel and crown complete that "over-the-top" look the design is going for.
Water resistant to 500 meters, the case is all matte finished in PVD, but polished for the non PVD coated versions. Currently there are three version of the 500M (500M-1, 500M-2, and the 500M-3. This model is the priciest thus far, but is the only PVD coated model. I really love this timepiece and think that if you like the aesthetic of it, it can make a good addition to a lonely under or above-water wrist. Price is $825 and can be purchased online direct from LUM-TEC.
Thanks to LUM-TEC for the review unit. Opinions are 100% independent.