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Luminox Deep Dive Automatic 1500 Series Watch Review

Luminox Deep Dive Automatic 1500 Series Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

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.

Luminox Deep Dive Automatic 1500 Series Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

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.

Luminox Deep Dive Automatic 1500 Series Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Luminox Deep Dive Automatic 1500 Series Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

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.

Luminox Deep Dive Automatic 1500 Series Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Luminox Deep Dive Automatic 1500 Series Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

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.

Luminox Deep Dive Automatic 1500 Series Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Tech Specs from Luminox:
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
Main Characteristics
Water Resistance 500 meters, 50 ATM
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
Hight: 17.05mm
Weight: 158 g
Special feature – Automatic Helium Release Valve
– Patent pending Bezel Locking System to prevent bezel to turn accidentally in either way
Standard straps
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.

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  • IS3515

    Nice watch but a little steep in price. Also, the triple tongue might be an issue. While it looks cool a single tongue would be more practical. I do like it.

  • Andrew C.

    I have a Luminox and love it, it will be interesting to see if the Luminox haters/Deep Blue lovers (i have 2 deep blues) will come out of the woodwork to hate on this. Let the count down begin….

  • Jim Clement

    Marathon Watch Company (a Canadian concern) currently holds the GSA contract to produce military-issue watches for both the Canadian and U.S. Governments. The contract number is GSA Contract: GS-14F-0027K . Issued for a five year period, it will be up for renewal in 2012.

    They make several models for (Quartz and Mechanical) military usage, but the most commonly produced is the Marathon GSAR with the following specifications:

    25 Jewel Swiss Automatic
    Movement: ETA 2824-A2
    NSN: 6645-21-558-0133
    GSA Contract: GS-14F-0027K
    Dial: measures 27.7mm and utilizes Tritium Gas Vials for Night Illumination
    Crystal: sapphire – 2.8mm thick x 30.50mm diameter
    Case: is cut from 316L stainless steel
    Case diameter is approximately 46.0mm
    Bezel diameter is 41.10mm, milled engraved and filled
    Case Height is 13.85mm
    20 mm lugs with drilled holes
    Crown: 6.5mm dia x 5.50mm long, deep knurled
    Weight of head 93.1 grams
    Watch, Wrist, Divers, Automatic (WW194006)
    Intended Use: Dive, Search and Rescue (SAR)
    Uni-Directional Elapsed Time Ring (60 minutes-120 clicks)
    Analogue dial with date
    Water resistant to 30 atmospheres (1000 ft)
    Black face features luminous hands and hour markings powered by Tritium. Sweep second hand with luminous triangle powered by Maraglo.

    While the GSAR is the “officially issued” dive watch – – – it should be notedand ” that watch preferences among both “regular” military, and “SPECOPS” guys – – – are as varied as the time of day. As long as your watch meets or exceeds the performance requirements specified by the GSA requirements, you are basically free to purchase and wear what you wish.

  • kris c

    You can buy this very set on ebay right now for $1500 “or best offer”, which usually means you can get away with about 25% less than that.

  • Nathan

    Luminox’ very existence makes me sad. Their designs are as uninspired as humanly possible but then, I’d say the people who buy them are equally at fault for having bland, generic and immature tastes. Playing soldier buy wearing a “rugged” watch is so overplayed at this point and it requires a certain “Duuurrr, the military is cool!” mindset to buy into such rubbish. Especially since Luminox watches are military timepieces as much as a Hyundai is a tank.

    That’s not to say everyone should be wearing a Patek at all times or they’re a heathen. I’d just rather people actually have some semblance of taste and some consumer sense. This brand and especially this model offer little in the way of value, style or function.

    Doesn’t anyone notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

    • Johnny

      Does Hyundai have a special tank version? Cause Luminox has a Navy Seals version.

      I think you are sore because you were discharged from the military for being gay a few days before the repeal of the dadt policy.

      • Nathan

        This is no more suitable for Navy Seals than the Navy Seals JLC done recently. I have plenty of friends in various branches of the military, most of them use G-Shocks. The ones that don’t, and prefer analog pieces, use Momentums. Titanium watches with screw down crowns and casebacks, thin profiles, sapphire glass and heavily lumed dials for well under $200. The same brand does swiss mechanical divers in the $600-900 region.

        The reality isn’t that these are functional, well-designed (or even just plain designed), or a decent value. Luminox might as well give up the act and just change its motto to “Luminox: For When a Big Gun Isn’t Compensation Enough”

        • Johnny

          You come off as being more offended by the price than anything else.

          Is this about you not being able to afford it or about my latter assumption of “pre-mature discharge”?

          I recommend you google “prius lady” and watch the video.

    • I am actually a fan of many, but not of their designs. They end up working on the wrist better than you’d think. It is hard to get exciting about pricing these days, but Luminox is often more reasonable in price than others with lower quality.

  • Pete

    Why anyone would buy a luminox is beyond me, they are insanely overpriced. In the UK the watch above retails at around £1500 – for what? Your in Balls park with those figures and CWL does the same thing for a third of the price – without the useless crown guard and quality control issues Luminox suffer.

  • MichaelG

    As so many times happens here on ABTR, I force myself to apply that well known saying: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Yet, I very much agree with what Nathan posted previously about Luminox and similar watches. I can’t help but see these as ugly, tasteless chunks of metal with gaudy graphic inscriptions; a watch for people that neither dive or are in the military, but want to exude an image of macho bravismo or who are penchant about function over style. Thanks to Ariel, I get to see some watches that I could never care for but I guess fascinate me as they are an integral part of watchmaking and it’s industry. I just need to resist the temptation to “not say anything nice”.

    • Andrew C.

      MichaelG, I guess by your logic only divers should wear Diver Watches.

      • Nathan

        Part of what makes me dislike Luminox and the Seal watch concept is the fact that it’s based on a big deception. Dive watches not all that long ago were a legitimate category of functional watch. Same goes for aviation watches. So now many watches are made in the spirit of those traditions but we all understand that you would really use a dive computer, or your instruments if you actually had to go be a diver or pilot. Luminox watches sell themselves based off the premise that actual Navy Seals are wearing these. They’re not. It’s a made up category of watch and is sold despite its mediocre value because people buy into that.

      • MichaelG

        No, not at all, although I can see why you’d interpret it that way. What I mean is some people give diver watches a far greater value for something they will probably never be used for. It’s the whole concept of tool watch that really only has merit if you use it as such. All else, IMHO, is posturing (which is fine), I just don’t get it for what are usually brash and unrefined watches, with a few very expensive exceptions.

  • Joseph Frankie IV

    I bought the watch with blue face. I think it is well designed and I rather like the aesthetics of the watch. It is very large on the wrist and is considerable in weight. It is certainly in a different league than the typical Luminox watch. I currently hold the certification of Dive Master, but in actuality know that I will never go to a depth of 500 meters. For those that are looking for an interesting watch for heavy/ occasional diving and daily use I believe it will be a good choice. I have yet to find something comparable to this particular model on the market. If men bought things solely on utility and frequency of use, our garages would be a lot less cluttered. To those who don’t like the watch…Don’t buy one.

  • Tiger Moth

    I got a good chuckle reading the comments on this watch. I can almost see some of these folks with their noses high in the air – but not so high that they can’t look straight down them at those of us who consider ruggedness, chunky and oversized a pleasing style. I especially enjoyed reading the comment on how you can get a perfectly good watch with similar features for only a few hundred dollars. I’m certain that if that individual is taking the time to post his comments on a blog about watches, that his collection is NOT made up of $200 timepieces. Obviously, the biggest problem with this watch isn’t it’s style, ruggedness, features, or price, it’s the fact that it comes from an upstart watch maker like Luminox. How dare they?!?
    Why is it that elitism and hypocrisy so often go hand-in-hand?

  • Scott A

    I own this watch and I love it. It is very accurate too, +1 or +2 seconds a day( which did surprise me). I use the “official U.S. time” web site as a reference as it seems to be consistent. I also have the same opinions as the past two posts by Tiger Moth and Joseph Frankie IV. Well put gentleman.