After several years of development Luminox was finally able to release what I believe to be the brand's first serious mechanical dive watch. This is a bit ironic as the brand is well-known for their durable timepieces popular with none other than the Navy SEALs. For most of the brand's existence I think they mostly played with Swiss quartz movements but the last few years has seen a mechanical watch here and there. One of them is this very capable 1500 Series pieces also known as the Deep Dive Automatic.
According to Luminox the watch is IS0 6425 rated. This rating has mostly to do with water resistance, but also is the overall rating that a watch must meet to be considered a serious dive watch. Such ratings were established in order to separate watches that merely look like dive watches and ones that actually are dive watches. In this case the Deep Dive Automatic wants you to know it is a serious diving tool - whether or not you ever intend to submerge with it. For skeptics there is always the engraved diving bell style helmet on the rear of the case.
Even on the natural rubber strap the watch is large and heavy. This piece feels solid and weighty. The tonneau style case makes the 44mm wide size feel larger, but being in PVD black helps visually reduce the mass a bit. Though it is a darn cool looking watch on the wrist. 44mm wide is a bit of a misnomer given the large crown and guard structure. It is funny how 44mm wide can seem to large or small depending on the style of the case.
The prominent bezel in black is marked with silver numerals and markers. The non-white text helps the bezel design not over-power the dial - which Luminox wants to be the main attraction. Here you'll get your choice of a few colors mixed with a healthy amount of tritium gas tubes for luminant. There is also a tube at the 60 minute mark on the bezel. This particular model is the ref. 1505, being the "bumble bee" version in black and yellow with some white. It is my favorite, but other versions are available.
You'll find the dial to be particularly bold, as the hour markers are richly filled in with color. The protruding gas tubes as well as the angled flange ring make for a deep looking dial that isn't flat. Plus, the central part of the dial is recessed just a little bit to follow the hour hand track. Often times on dive watches with different color hour and minute hands the minute hand gets the more "obnoxious" color (such as orange). Here Luminox was clever and make the hour hand yellow with the minute hand being a softer white color. In the dark you can see the minute hand not only because it has double gas tubes but because it is colored blue versus green.
It is a great looking dial that is benefited by careful detailing and an emphasis and strong looks. The case itself integrates very nicely with the rubber strap. One the wrist the thick make case is snug even though it is built to be water resistant to 500 meters. On the side of the case is an automatic helium release valve that has a cosmetic red ring printed around it. Over the dial is a double AR coated sapphire crystal. Luminox designed the strap buckle to be "extra aggressive" with three tongues. According to them this is also meant to remind you of Neptune's three spiked trident. Little God of the Sea action with this watch. Luminox also includes a strap extension which helps if you want to use it over a diving suit.
The bezel lock doubles as a crown-guard and is a patented system special for this watch. The way it works is simple. When pulled out you can turn the bezel. Otherwise it is locked in. Production delays for this watch stemmed from complexities in making this system work I believe. When released the guard is on the sharper side, but Luminox polished it down a bit compared to early models which were very sharp. I did however notice on my model that over time it loosened a bit to not lock as tightly.
With the watch comes a water-proof Pelican-style case. These cases are always great, but awful if you are trying to clear up space. You simply cannot throw these boxes away! They can be re-purposed for lots of uses and make for a great presentation. What amuses me is that when I opened the box there was a Luminox insert for a special limited edition version of the Deep Dive watch. This was for a different watch than the piece inside the case. It felt like Luminox was trying to advertise a different watch than the new one you just got. That was gave me a chuckle. Inside the Deep Dive Automatic is a Swiss ETA 2826-2 automatic movement. The 2826 is a variant of the popular 2824 movement but with a slightly different date ring (a bit larger in size). It certain feels good to have a mechanical Luminox watch with the same brand DNA as we are used to with the less expensive models. Price for the Deep Dive Automatic 1500 Series pieces is $1,900. Steeper than many people expect for watch in the brand, but not at all unreasonable for what you get.
Tech Specs from Luminox:
1500 / 44 mm DEEP DIVE AUTOMATIC
Reference Numbers Case Dial LLT color Strap and Versions on dial
1501 Steel PVD Black/White 1-11h Green Black PU at 12h 3x Ice Blue
1503 Steel PVD Black/Blue „ Black PU
1505 Black Black/Yellow „ Black PU
1509 Black Black/Orange „ Black PU
Origin Swiss Made
Size/Diameter: 44 mm
Water Resistance 500 meters, 50 ATM
Movement ETA 2826-2 AUTOMATIC TIME DATE HH6
Case: 316L steel in PVD black
Bezel: 316L steel in PVD black rotating, at 12H colored LLT protected by metalized mineral glass window
Case back: 316L steel, screwed
Glass Sapphire glass, double side antireflective coating
Crown Stainless steel 316L
Weight: 158 g
Special feature - Automatic Helium Release Valve
- Patent pending Bezel Locking System to prevent bezel to turn accidentally in either way
FP.1500.20 Black PU strap with IP black plated brushed buckle, 30mm
Black PU extender strap with IP black plated brushed buckle, 25mm
Other straps available: No
Standard box: GBO.L012 - Deep Dive Special, Water resistant black plastic box with red knob, Black matt alu plate printed
with Luminox Logo on top, 210 x 167 x 90 mm, packed in black carboard box
Thanks to Luminox for the review unit. Opinions are 100% independent.