The Luminox Master Carbon SEAL watch collection has been a hit with Luminox fans since it was released because it combines a few elements that watch lovers enjoy, including a Swiss Made automatic mechanical movement, a modern military diver’s watch style, and the high-performance of contemporary carbon cases. This is very much an enthusiast entry into the otherwise more practical world that is the Luminox Navy SEAL timepiece collection. That means it mixes performance and style in a package meant for those who like to wear watches to celebrate themselves. That also means it costs a bit more than the lower-end Swiss Made quartz models, but not so much as to have this watch compete out of its league. The Luminox reference XS.3875 reviewed here brings bright red accents to this popular model line.
For this version of the Master Carbon SEAL Automatic, Luminox chose to offer a radically different dial than what you’d find on the quartz models. This was probably a good idea from a product differentiation standpoint since it can be hard to identify the differences in the company’s many models. This dial seeks a cleaner, more elegant look that sees stripped-down hour markers (which are mostly just the tritium gas tubes), emphasis on the minute marker tracks (there are three minute marker scales if you include the unidirectional rotating bezel), and understated hands. Of course, there is also the horizontal line texturing on the face. On the dial is also a window for a day/date complication — that to my knowledge is not offered on any Luminox quartz models.
The dial is not the most legible in the Luminox catalog (although in the dark the tritium gas tubes are just as legible as another other Luminox watch), but it intentionally goes for a more designer versus utility look. Of course, the Master Carbon SEAL Automatic’s 45mm wide case is all sports and adventure in style. The case is a lightweight and strong carbon blend that Luminox calls CARBONOX+ (upgraded over the original CARBONOX), with a steel core.
The watch case is 45mm wide and 14mm thick with a roughly 52mm long lug-to-lug distance. The case is water resistant to 200 meters with a screw-down crown. Over the dial is an AR-coated sapphire crystal, and another crystal is placed on the steel caseback in order to show off the automatic movement within. Inside the watch is a Swiss Made Sellita SW 220-1 automatic movement. It operates at 4Hz with about two days of power reserve. The movement isn’t decorated, but it has been given a black-colored Luminox-signed automatic rotor. The case is larger, but not too heavy (110 grams) given the carbon case material, and the overall shape is comfortable, even if your wrists are on the smaller size. The Luminox case design also continues to be stylish and inspired — more so now than perhaps even a decade ago.
I have a few minor quibbles with the strap. It is attractive being in natural rubber and here colored red. The first issue is that you need to cut the strap to size — which means you can’t make mistakes. If you do, a replacement strap will cost you $87 USD (as of writing). So this is a good reason to get a professional to size this strap for you. With that said, there is really no good reason why Luminox can’t think of a better solution to having a comfortable wearing experience. My other issue with the strap is the totally non-matching color of the steel deployant hardware. It isn’t like they don’t make this exact same part in black-coated steel. I just found it to be a glaring mismatch of colors to have a black case with a natural steel deployant on a watch that is going for an upmarket, elevated design look. At least the straps come on quick-release spring bars and you can pair this Master Carbon SEAL Automatic 45mm watch with any 24mm wide strap you like. I think this would look and feel great on a NATO-style strap (perhaps with a dash of color in it).
Luminox charges roughly double the price of their core collection of Navy SEAL watches for this CARBONOX+-cased automatic version. The Automatic is a nicer watch in general, but it is meant for looks and style as opposed to added performance. Because there is a hunger for more automatic watches like this, and given how there are plenty of quartz models, I understand why it is selling well. It is my guess that Luminox will continue to develop not only more automatic watches with Master Carbon cases, but that they will also continue to get more and more of a distinctive personality. We shall see. The Luminox Master Carbon SEAL Automatic 45mm also comes in styles with a green or gray strap (and matching dial accents), in addition to this reference XS.3875 red version. The price is $1,195 USD. Learn more at the Luminox website.