Sticks with tried and tested elements
Great legibility in bright and dim conditions
Light carbon compound construction of both case and bracelet
Slightly clunky bezel
Luminox are perhaps best known for their association with the United States Navy SEALs, one of the top special operations forces in the world. This association goes back to 1993, when Luminox developed the first generation Navy SEAL series of watches. 24 years and several revamps later, we have in hand the 3500 series, Luminox’s latest addition to their Sea series. See here for a previous review of the Luminox Carbon SEAL 3800 Series.
Luminox Navy SEAL 3500 Series
The 45mm turtle-shaped case is constructed from Luminox’s now-standard carbon compound which is at the same time lightweight and sturdy. If one were to draw a comparison to conventional case materials, it would be closest to ceramic in terms of its durability, but without the fear of shattering it on an accidental impact. The shape is naturally in keeping with its rugged, tool watch purposes, and features a prominent crown guard as well as sharp angles on the lugs.
On the reverse, the insignia of the famed US Navy SEALs is embossed in 3D on the closed caseback. The heart of the 3500 series is a reliable Swiss Ronda Quartz movement that lasts 8 years on a single battery change.
The 3500 series brings something new to the Luminox Sea series in that the bracelet is made of carbon compound as well. This lends the piece some degree of versatility in terms of the wearability of the watch – it looks at home on a polo shirt and jeans day when on the bracelet, and after a quick strap change to the polyurethane rubber strap that comes with it, it’s ready for a quick evening jog around the estate. This series also comes in a variety of colourways such as all-black dial, white dial, blue dial, black dial with yellow numbers, etc.
As with all dive watches, the 3500 series come with a rotating bezel. The bezel on this is unidirectional with 60 clicks. While each click is solid and there is little play in between clicks, the sensation one gets when rotating the bezel is a flat, plasticky sort of feeling which diminishes the experience somewhat. Otherwise, this watch is built to 200m water resistance, thanks to the screw on caseback and double-security gasket crown which allows it to fulfil its main purpose as a diver. Also of note is its outstanding legibility under dim conditions, a result of Luminox Light Technology. The tritium gas tubes used are self-powering and reportedly last 25 years without losing its illumination. Read here for more about luminosity and the history of lume in watches.
On the wrist, the Luminox performs just as you expect a Navy SEAL-approved watch would: inconspicuous and lightweight when it’s not needed, and noticeably chunky when you actually do look. The carbon compound bracelet gets a nod of approval from us for being quite intuitive and easy to use compared to some other bracelets out there on the market. It is also more comfortable than it seems. Luminox also realise that bracelets might not be for everyone, and do provide a stock polyurethane strap that comes with all their regular range of watches. This strap will hold up to anything: run a marathon or dive into the depths of the sea and this strap will emerge on the other side smiling, for it is just that comfortable and hardy. The author can personally vouch for the former as he wore a Luminox Navy SEAL piece during the recent Army Half Marathon without any discomfort or inconvenience throughout all 21km.
The Luminox 3500 series keeps what has made their watches ever so popular and highly wearable over the decades, while incorporating some nifty new updates to the case material and bracelet/strap options. This is a true tool watch for the outdoor enthusiast or diving enthusiast.
Luminox Navy SEAL 3500 Series Technical Specifications:
- Material: Carbon compound
- Size: 45mm
- Height: 14.00mm
- Bezel: 60 click unidirectional
- Water resistance: 200m
- Crystal: Hardened mineral glass
- Caseback: screwed on close caseback
- Weight: 71g
Luminox Navy SEAL 3501 : RRP S$695.50 inclusive of GST