In a week or so the American-based brand plans to start shipping a new line of ruggedized quartz watches. Called Luminox Atacama Field Day Date (ref. A.1823 & A.1823) they are offered in three variations of the highly legible dial, and equipped with their signature micro-tubes that are filled with virtually non-radioactive tritium gas. The new timekeepers offer superb night-time legibility, although their trendy gunmetal-colored PVD coating is not particularly suitable for an everyday beater, like this one. Besides the trendy Day Date model that we review here, the series will also include a more impressive chronograph model that costs around 30 percent more, but actually gives you less bang for the buck.
Just like most timepieces from the brand, the Luminox Atacama Field is offered in a military-style black matte PVD-coated case and currently sports two versions of its large (kudos to the vintage-styled ultra-slim bezel) dial: black (ref. A.1833) that seems to be perfect with basically any type of casual and tactical dress, and violet(ish, ref. A.1823) that for obvious reasons will probably not sell as good as the black one.
Predictably, both version of the wristwatch are offered with the well-known Luminox Light Technology (LLT).
Being essentially a set of tritium-filled tubes that are installed on hour markers (1st-11th are green and the 12th is orange) and hour and minute hands, the LLT tubes are very bright significantly increasing watch’s legibility in twilight and tend to serve for as a long as 25 years.
The watch is powered by an inexpensive Ronda 517 Swiss quartz movement, which is built on one jewel, is 26.20 mm in diameter and 3.0 mm thick. Sporting a standard three-hands layout and capable of displaying current day and date, the movement can run for about 45 months before changing the battery and is accurate within -10/ +20 seconds per month.
The movement seats inside a well-proportioned gun-metal case that offers adequate protection for the crown and, being 42 mm in diameter and 10.8 mm in height must look well on just about any wrist. The watch’s dial is protected from the elements with a sapphire crystal, which is not very common in this price range.
That was the good news. The bad news, as always, is that the movement costs around 5 Euros and it makes some body parts hurt knowing that it motivates the watch, which is offered at a price of around $400. The combination of interesting styling, cheap mechanical guts, superb legibility and, well, price makes it difficult to judge the “value for money rating for this timekeeper”. If you simply want a cool-looking watch, it is perhaps greatly overpriced. If you are, on the other hand, a soldier or a member of low-enforcement community who values greater readability over lower price, this may be a very interesting proposition.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Luminox Atacama Field Day-Date quartz watch specification
Price: €300 (MSRP)
Movement: Ronda 517 Day-Date, HH6, quartz, Swiss Made, 1 jewel
Complications: Day, date
Power reserve: 45 months
Case material: Gun-metal PVD-coated stainless steel
Bezel material: Gun-metal PVD-coated stainless steel
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 10.80 mm
Dial: Blue or gray
Hands: Steel, luminous (LLT tubes)
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Gray or Brown suede natural leather
Case back: Solid, 316L Steel PVD Gun-metal, Screwed