September 7, 2010
by Ariel Adams
The first limited edition watch created as a partnership between Indy Car driver Tony Kanaan and Luminox was such a success that less than a year later another is already out. Instead of just being a watch with a famous racer’s name on it, Kanaan (being a major watch lover), and Luminox worked really closely together on the design. While Tony could have easily worked with a number of higher-end brands, he really wanted to make sure that his friends could afford the watch with his name on it. His friends were working with brands like Audemars Piguet – and while they created some beautiful timepieces, they didn’t make a lot of sense for the fans with prices around $70,000.
Luminox was a great partner for Tony to create a watch, and Tony was a good fit for Luminox because he is just a very personable, and friendly guy. I had a nice meeting with Mr. Kanaan to discuss the watch, the partnership, and what the future will hold for the two. Tony was very proud to show off a very cool timepiece with a price under $1,000. It has a large, uniquely shaped asymmetrical case that is 44mm wide. The steel case has carbon fiber elements in the side. The bezel is in black, and it has large curved pushers. When designing the watch, Luminox and Tony had lots of freedom to do whatever they liked. Aside from having the Luminox name on it, all it needed to be a brand watch was to have tritium gas tubes (that no one was going to argue with). The original version of the watch has Tony’s then colors of orange and blue. It came as a limited edition of 500 pieces, and did well.
I saw the watch on the wrists of everyone on Tony’s pit crew while the Sonoma Infineon Raceway during a Indy Grand Prix car. Speaking of pit crew – those guys are incredible. You can see in the video I took, just how fast they are. During a 75 lap race, each car needs to stop to get new tires and refuel twice. The pit crew needs to make sure that they do this with the utmost speed, and wow are they good. Really fast, just a few seconds tops. And their Luminox watches don’t seem to slow them down one bit.
As a second release of the Luminox Tony Kanaan watch, Luminox changes the colors on the dial because Tony changed the colors of his helmet. The watch now has a yellow and green tint to the dial. Luminox fans realize that this pieces is totally unique in the entire Luminox collection – as it is not based on a standard model. Inside the watch is a Swiss quartz chronograph movement with a big date complication at 6 o’clock. The dial is large and bold, and quite sporty. Not just in the “active” sense of the world, but actually feels like a watch that fits into the world of professional competitive sports.
The new version of the Luminox Tony Kanaan watch is going to offered in a larger limited edition of about 999 pieces I believe. This is because demand for the original was high enough. Although the new Tony Kanaan watch won’t be out until November, half of them are already pre-sold.
Luminox uses a cool movement in the watch that isn’t your standard 12 hour chronograph. I believe they use a Ronda movement, and it is a 1/10 of a second chronograph. The subdial on the left of the watch has two hands – for the hours and minutes. The subsidal at 6 o’clock is the 1/10 of a second indicator, while the subdial on the right of the dial is for the main time seconds. As a racing watch, of course it is going to have a tachymeter scale on the flange ring. On the dial is also Tony’s “TK” logo. Glowing tritium gas tubes are placed in the hands, and around the periphery of the dial next to the hour indicators. The watch crystal is sapphire with AR coating, and the case is water resistant to 100 meters.
The Luminox Tony Kanaan limited edition version 2 will cost about $950, and come on a polyurethane or leather strap with yellow contrast stitching. It is a fun, sporty piece for the brand, and a good supplement to Indy Car and Tony Kanaan fans. I got to taste the Indy Car life myself for a bit. The last picture in this post is of me riding in the back of a special tandem Indy race car built for two. It is certainly a high octane, high adrenaline sport – going around a track is fast, furious fun. Though I wouldn’t want the job of having to delicately tailgate the guy ahead of you while traveling 200 miles an hour.