I have reviewed and written on several high end wrist watch brands over the years; usually in the context of how they fit into a classic but updated sense of style. Watches are a very important component of one’s wardrobe – they are one of our most personal and telling accoutrements.
Though most of the attention gets focused on luxury and “investment” brands, there are more than enough guys out there who simply need a good, hardworking and distinctive watch. A number of readers have contacted me recently and asked that I track down a durable everyday watch that would fit into a less formal atmosphere.
I promptly started looked around for a functionally stylish watch that telegraphs personality but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I decided to focus on the broad category sports watches. These are the kinds of timepieces that you can take from the pool to the barbeque to the office (on a casual summer’s day at least).
So, in a world filled with chunky Casio G-Shocks and Timex Ironmen, what stands out as unique and durable?
In a word: Luminox.
Apart from building a relatively inexpensive yet tough watch, Luminox still provides its customers with something special: legitimate uniqueness. Its breakout model, the original Navy SEAL composite watch, gave the brand a certain cache in the sports watch world. Designed in close collaboration with active Navy SEALs, its functional yet cool design and landmark illumination technology captured the imagination of many armchair “operators”.
The latest evolution of this watch is the EVO Colormark 3051, and I’ve been testing it out for a few weeks now. While there may be some grumbling out there that none of these watches are particularly classic or preppy, I beg to differ a little bit.
One of the hallmark traits of American prep is its adoption of functionality as style. Timelessly practical tools and equipment that transcend their original purpose are cherished and repurposed. And while I readily agree that the overwrought cases and digital nature of the Casio and Timex watches are dissuasive, by comparison Luminox’s purpose built analog face is classic and functional in an attractively military way. I think it’s a perfect, albeit modern, fit.
By no means am I suggesting that you ditch your vintage Omega Seamaster Deville on a striped grosgrain strap. But, if you are engaged in a day of racing 420s on Long Island Sound or working in the yard, you just might want to opt for function over form.
Though I’ve been a fan of Luminox’s distinctive style and illumination technology, this would be a true out-of-the-box test. I’ve never owned one of their watches, let alone worn one.
Special thanks to Lumondi, Luminox’s distributor in the United States, and Princeton Watch for assistance with the review unit.
The first thing that caught my attention about the Colormark was its weight, or lack thereof. For its large 44mm size, the watch is light as a feather. It’s also very comfortable on the wrist, so much so that I often forgot it have it on. In fact, I have the watch on right now and barely notice it.
The soft neoprene strap is 20mm snout to tail, which nicely balances the visual bulk of the watch itself. The stainless buckle is double pronged which adds literal stability to the closure and aesthetic stability to the strap. The discreet date window sits at the three o’clock position and 24-hour markers ring the interior of the dial. A large and easy to grasp 60-minute timing bezel tops the case.
Turn off the lights and instantly the hands and hour markers are crisply visible as is the timing bezel’s mark. Without getting all technical, there are watch-specific sites for that sort of thing, Luminox’s proprietary lighting technology basically means the lums are always on full power. Pretty amazing stuff, and quite handy at night.
Without question this is a casual watch that does not mix well with any manner of formal clothing, nor is it meant to. The design and scale are clearly purpose-built and as noted above are so obviously functional as to be quite attractive.
Overall, this is a great option that meets your need for an everyday knock-around sports watch. It’s tough and durable, reasonably neutral in a “Navy SEALs wear these too” kind of way.
It’s also a pretty distinctive watch; I haven’t really noticed anyone else wearing one.