The “phantom” watch craze of the last few years had me a bit uneasy. Such watches looked cool a lot of the time, but really sacrificed functionality and practicality in many instances. Many of them just ended up looking silly with black hands and indexes on black faces. Even more insulting was the black colored luminant often used on these watches to make them “night viewable.” I don’t know about how you feel, but such lume was only moderately effective in my opinion. Nevertheless, these black-on-black watches sell pretty well. Here is one such piece from Luminox that I can recommend.
This is the phantom, or “black out” version of the Luminox Field Date Date 1820 Series watch. Specifically, this is the model reference number A.1876.BO. That latter “BO” likely stands for “black out.” A mid-range piece in the Luminox line-up, this is a handsome military style watch that retains the functionality you need with the style you expect from a black on black colored timepiece.
The Field Day Date watch comes in a larger 47mm wide steel case – here in PVD black. While it is big, the case has lugs curved enough to make it fit well on most wrists. The thin bezel makes the dial look even larger than it is, but a larger crown helps visually reduce mass. At about 11mm thick, the piece doesn’t sit too high off the wrist. The case is water resistant to 200 meters and thankfully employs an AR coated sapphire crystal over the dial. Although, AR coating on the top side would help prevent a bit of the glare when viewing the watch from certain angles.
Wearability is high if you like the look of a large all-black timepiece. There is a handsome masculinity to the design that I feel should appeal to a lot of people out there. Dial design is rather straight forward and a bit vintage looking. The utilitarian feel is marked by large Arabic hour numerals and a smaller 24 hour scale.
While this is a black-on-black watch, there are different textures used for the dial and the hour indicators so that they are still visible. The best part is that because this is a Luminox watch, there are tritium gas tubes for the hands and along the hour markers for illumination. Not only do these tubes offer glowing visibility at night, but in the daytime, they offer nicely contrasting points (white against black) to enhance legibility. The sloped flange ring around the dial is a nice touch that helps the dial look its best.
The Swiss quartz movement inside of the watch offers the time with a day and date indicator. These windows are designed to be at different points on the dial. I am glad that Luminox went with my advice to put them on black discs with white characters. While I am not a huge fan of “open” date windows, this one doesn’t bother me too much. The dial is large enough for the date and day of the week windows not to obstruct anything.
The black-on-black treatment makes this otherwise utilitarian watch feel a bit more like something you want to wear with a black leather jacket. The pilot style strap is cool looking. It is thick and uses two black rivets near the case for that aviator watch feel. A nice detail is the buckle which uses two prongs and a nice roller to make putting it on and taking it off very smooth. Enough little details like that not only help distinguish this watch, but also help it feel like better value for the money. Overall, this handsome watch with its Swiss movement, sapphire crystal and tritium gas tube lighting feels like a good buy for the retail price of $465.