LUM-TEC V Series V3 Phantom Watch Review

LUM-TEC V Series V3 Phantom Watch Review

A legible phantom-style watch?! Oh yes - but it is from LUM-TEC so function is expected. The V Series collection from the American brand is an interesting range of watches that have Swiss mechanical movements. I see the angular style case as being inspired by classic Gerald Genta designs such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Only here it has been stretched lengthwise a bit.

On the wrist, the V Series watches come to life a lot more than they do alone on a desk. While the steel case is 44mm wide it doesn't wear too large. For those wanting a substantially-sized timepiece that never feels massive, this just might be the right watch. One reason for this is LUM-TEC's use of a relatively narrow strap. The strap even tapers. It goes from 22mm wide at the lugs down to 18mm wide. These thin proportions work well to visually reduce the mass.


This version of the V Series watch is the V3, also called the V3 Phantom. Watches like this have black cases, black dials, black indicators, and black straps. Pretty much everything in some shade of black. What LUM-TEC did was use a tinted sapphire crystal over the dial to create the black-on-black look. A nice touch is how the sapphire crystal over the movement on the caseback has the same tinted effect. As I mentioned above, while the dial is all dark tones, it is still very legible. A high point is the lume. LUM-TEC produces their own lume called "MDV" (Maximum Darkness Visibility), which glows brightly after being charged by light. You can see how all the indexes and hands are lume coated - even the thin seconds hand.

A great detail on the case is the mixture of brushed and polishes surfaces - that manages to still come across well after the PVD black coating application. The crown screws down and the case is water resistant to 100 meters. While the case does have a futuristic look, it is still rather conservative and won't have the wearer coming across as a Star Trek nerd. While it is totally OK if you are a Star Trek nerd... you probably don't want your watch saying that you are.

The dial of the V3 is set deep into the case. Around the periphery of the dial is a steeply sloped flange ring that has five minute indicators on it. The dial is a bit shiny, as are the indicators. As angular as they are, they still look bubbly. The dial design is love it or leave it, but it is very much LUM-TEC in design and you can't at all say it isn't legible. The decision to offer just hour indicators and not all the minute indicators is likely inspired by Panerai-style minimalism.

Inside the watch is a Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. LUM-TEC has used a whole range of watch movements over the years. Swiss movements are not necessarily common for their watches, but more and more LUM-TEC is using them. What I like is that the price of a watch like this V3 is still pretty comparable and not much higher than what they charge for pieces with Japanese automatic movements. The movement isn't fancy or decorated, but that is totally fine with the sub $1,000 price.

Little touches make the V3 watch what it is. Whether it is the great lume or neat sapphire glass tinting, it is the sense of effort that helps LUM-TEC watches remain popular. A good example is the strap. LUM-TEC could have just gone with a simple leather strap. Instead they created a unique quasi pilot watch strap with a rivet and interesting look to compliment the case (the watch also comes with a rubber strap). By all means, check out other V Series watches via LUM-TEC's website to see what else they have done with the design. Price for this non-limited edition piece is $895 and you can get it via LUM-TEC's website here.

  • DG Cayse

    Like the watch. Like the sword hands. Personal criterion is legibility, durability, wear-ability.
    This model Lum-Tec has it. I do not care for the ‘smoked’ dial. With such a deeply recessed face this can hamper legibility in some circumstances. But it does fit the “Stealth” model marketing niche.
    Thankfully Lum-Tec covers this possible concern with their other models in the V3 series.
    Good looking watch.

  • CG

    Shouldn’t a “stealth” model also be anti-reflective, no high polish? certainly more fashion watch oriented to me. Is that band screw functional for removing band? Doesn’t look like it… I’d pass on this one.

  • Kris C

    Quite the ugly duckling. Lum-Tec wearers are some of my most common customers, so I can only assume the stock straps are not very appreciated. Can be seen here with the extreme taper that looks so out of place, and single screw-type rivet that is just off-centre enough to look like a rookie mistake.
    That is a nice case though – I think this would have come off a little cooler if the lume glowed blue.

    • John C Ross

      @Kris C – i disagree. I love the tapered strap. The screws lookgood. That is easy to change as well if you dont like it. They have a nice custom rubber strap included too with no taper. I have seen these in person and they look really amazing. Very high quality.

  • Ulysses31

    The design is pretty sweet; just enough of a modern flavour with a traditional appearance.  On the other hand, you might say it looks a bit like an AP with a few bolts missing around the edge.  The brushed flat front looks really nice but I think the strap looks too narrow; a metal bracelet would work better than this leather one.

    • John C Ross

      @Ulysses31 they would probably look awesome on the optional bracelet they have.

  • JohnnyJohnnyJohnny

    It’s like Paneri meets RRO. I like it.

    • JohnnyJohnnyJohnny

       @JohnnyJohnnyJohnny ROO*

  • MichaelG

    I’m going to say what I usually tell people I know that buy IMO budget watches like this: Save up, and instead of buying 2 or 3 $300-1000 priced watches, buy 1 from a higher end brand. Lum-tec’s, and similar brands, look and feel like their price tag, sometimes even less, so instead of owning a couple, own something a bit more special. Just an opinion, of course.

  • hushaotang

    I like this watch because of the traditional appearance.

  • hushaotang

    I like this <a href=””>watch</a> because of the traditional appearance.