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Review: Luminox CARBON SEAL 3800 SERIES

Lightweight and Indestructible?
by Chester Lau on October 15, 2016
Positives

Light and comfortable, 3 times lighter than titanium
Highly legible with tritium gas tube lume system
Quality case construction with a thick sapphire crystal and strong carbon case

Negatives

Nothing particularly special apart from the case. 46 mm size maybe on the large side for skinny wrists.

Luminox releases its latest collection the Carbon SEAL 3800 series with three model variants. With durability and reliability as its namesake, Luminox’s new series achieves not only what it is already good at, but also comfort and aesthetics. The new carbon case looks better than the PVD variants and is much lighter than steel and even titanium.

 

The Luminox Carbon SEAL 3800 series- the 3802 limited to 500 pieces.

The Luminox Carbon SEAL 3800 series- the 3802 limited to 500 pieces.

 

luminox-carbon-bracelet-links

The Ultra-Lightweight Carbon Compound (40% Carbon) bracelet with superior tensile strength and scratch resistance.

The carbon case

Using 40% Carbon in bar form, Luminox’s carbon case is three times lighter than titanium, yet still highly durable, scratch resistant and chemical and heat resistant. Luminox’s cases are manufactured through a process it has not done before. Previously it mixes carbon powder with polymers, but with the Carbon SEAL, it uses carbon bars instead. The carbon bars are used to support the polymers which results in a stronger case structure than the powder mixture.

 

The 3801 which weighs just 80g.

The 3801 which weighs just 80g.

 

Within the carbon case beats a quartz movement which is powered with a battery with an 8 year life on a single CR2016 battery. The movment is the Ronda 715 HH6, made by the Swatch Group and is well known to be robust and accurate.

 

luminox-carbon-insignia-back

The closed caseback bears the Navy Seals insignia. Running behind it is a Ronda Quartz movement with battery power lasting up to 8 years.

Light yet durable

Not unlike mainstream carbon cases in appearance, the Luminox Carbon SEAL has a warm anthracite colour. The all black watch is stealthy looking but also highly legible in any light conditions. Coming in at just 105g for a full bracelet watch, the Luminox Limited Edition (500 pieces) Carbon SEAL 3802 is ideal for users who would love a tough tool watch without the massive weight they usually pack along.

 

The 3813 with a green dial.

The 3813 with a green dial. Note the well fitted micro-gas tubes filled with H3 tritium gas.

 

Comfort and performance

The new Carbon SEAL is great on the wrist. In terms of comfort and reliability, the watch scores exceedingly. It is water resistant to 300 meters/1,000 feet, enabling the timepiece to withstand incredible pressure on deep dives. The 3800 series is engineered with more robust components; an extra thick sapphire crystal and stainless steel case back that ensure its water resistance.

 

The limited edition Luminox 3802 sports a carbon fibre dial and is water resistant to 300 metres.

The limited edition Luminox 3802 sports a carbon fibre dial and is water resistant to 300 metres.

 

The build quality is quite good. The case has a nice texture, not quite smooth, not rough. A nice feel. The bezel clicks very positively, and as it is designed for diving (300m depth rating), it is unidirectional. Somewhat unusual, we found the bezel does not sit quite flat on the case upper, as it is able to rock slightly. By this we mean that if you push the bezel down into the case at 12 o’clock, and alternatively at 6 o’clock, the bezel rocks like a toggle, albeit a very small toogle. This gives the impression that tolerances are not quite as tight as they should be. But otherwise the build quality is high and the watch feels very solid, yet light.

 

The bright lume

 

luminox-carbon-lume

A lume shot reveals the glow of the micro-gas tubes. The radioactive material in the tubes are self-emitting. They are said to last for as long as 25 years.

Luminox uses micro gas tubes filled with tritium; a radioactive substance, that can provide illumination for up to 25 years. Unlike paint lume, which emits light by absorbing light from another source, or a pushbutton to illuminate the watch, tritium gas tubes are constantly glowing without the need of external energy. Read here for more about luminosity and the history of lume in watches.

 

luminox-carbon-strap-stealth

Sized at 46 mm, the Luminox Carbon SEAL 3800 is the right size for legible underwater reading.

 

luminox-carbon-wrist

As seen on the wrist under natural light, the carbon case has a nice matte and textured colour to it.

 

Concluding thoughts

The Luminox Carbon SEAL 3800 series is a real tool watch that performs and looks great. Having carbon on watch cases used to be exclusive to the big brands like Audemars Piguet. Then came along micro watch brands with carbon cases that were made in China at affordable prices but were known to be fragile, it chipped and cracked. With this offering, Luminox provides an option for the carbon watch lovers, the full carbon look without the woes of inferior case construction.

 

Luminox Carbon SEAL 3800 Series Specifications and Price

 

Retail Price: S$1060 before GST/ S$1134.20 incl GST (3801, 3813), S$1280 before GST/ S$1369.60 incl GST (3802)
Ultra-Lightweight Carbon Compound (40% Carbon)
Case Features:
-Carbon compound is three times lighter than Titanium
-Superior tensile strength and scratch resistance
-Made out of Carbon Longbar
-300 meters water resistant, screw in crown with octagonal crown tube to prevent over spin
-Scratch resistant Sapphire Crystal
Origin : Swiss Made
U.S.P. : Always Visible Constant glow for up to 25 years in any light condition
Size/Diameter : 46mm
Water Resistance : 300 meters, 30 ATM, 1000 feet, individually tested
Movement : Ronda 715 HH6
Battery/Battery life : CR2016 / 96 months
Case : Carbon Compound
Bezel : Carbon compound, unidirectional turning bezel, at 12h fitted with colored light tube protected with sapphire crystal Case back : 316L Stainless Steel, Screwed
Crystal : Sapphire glass, single antireflective coated
Crown : 316L stainless steel, screw down
Height : 14mm
Weight : 80g (3801, 3813) /105g (3802 – Limited Edition of 500 pieces)

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