Not Quite Smart, The Luminox ANU Chronograph Is At Least Quite Bright

This weekend’s watch review comes to us from Luminox, a manufacturer well-known for their amazingly bright luminescent hands and pips. Luminox uses small tubes of tritium coated with phosphor. As the tritium decays it excites the phosphor, allowing the tubes to glow for years without “charging” in sunlight. It’s a neat trick and it affords amazing readability in the dark. They put these tubes inside of the watch hands and array them around the face of the watch. In this case they even stick a small tube at the top of the bezel.

I’m a fan of Luminox and, although I prefer their automatic mechanical line over their quartz models, this watch grew on me. This new chrono is unique in that it is part of the ANU “sea” line and features secure screw-down pushers and a solid rubber bracelet. Like a few previous Luminox chronographs it features a big date – two large numerals that display the date instead of a single date window. The entire watch is Swiss made which we can take to mean that the movement, case, and bracelet are assembled in Switzerland.

Luminox is not quite a luxury brand. They sell “tool” watches, bold, beefy pieces for folks who either expect to get into scrapes or maybe feel that they would like to. This model, for example, has a large rotating bezel that looks even a bit clumsy but is just right if you’re expecting to bang this thing up against rocks. The black powder coating is thick and uniform and there is lume on the hands and the hour pips, allowing you to see the time but not the elapsed chronograph time, in the dark. The screw down crown is a bit fiddly – if you don’t unscrew it completely you end up with a pusher that won’t move – but it maintained water-fastness.

This watch requires a very specific taste. If you’re into pieces like the Marathon SAR or the Omega Speedmaster, you’ll understand the immediate allure of this chrono. As I noted before I’m not a big fan of quartz chronographs but this one felt nice on my mid-sized wrist and was great to wear in the dark. Luminox has improved their design chops considerably over the years and this seems like a culmination of years of solid work.

Expect to pay about $900 when this watch is available in stores and while it won’t call your friends or send your heartbeat to loved ones, it will knock out a too-curious fish with a well-timed wrist smack.

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