As I promised back in August 2011 while briefly reviewing their then-new F-22 Raptor 9270 Series quartz chronograph, I am finally getting back to its sister model: an even more massive Luminox F-35 Lightning II Chronograph (ref. 9388 aka GGL.L9388). Placed in the same price category (the model has an official price tag of $1200, but you can find one online at about $250-$300 less,) the watch offers basically the same exterior styling.
On the pictures below you can see that the new Luminox F-35 Lightning II Chronograph sports a chunky stainless steel body 45 millimeters in diameter and around 14 millimeters in height. The timepiece is, too, equipped with a rotating slide-rule bezel: something that we come to expect from a modern “aviator” (thank Breitling for that and for the frightening proportions of the watch.)
Even the quartz calibers that power both watches (I mean, the Lumi F22 and the F35 versions) belong to the same Ronda Startech 5050 family.
This one, however, is called Ronda Startech 5050.B.
Featuring a standard tri-compax chronograph with a big date aperture at 6 hours, the F-35 Lightning II Chronograph lacks the day of week aperture right above the visual center of the dial. Well, not a great loss, to my taste. I would even dare to say that without the extra display element the dial looks less busy and easier to read the other data with a single glance.
Speaking of the dial, I would like to point out that, from my point of view, it’s not the easiest to read even among modern aviation-themed chronographs: there is too much visual noise and the bright orange elements that are supposed to increase legibility, actually do nothing than overwhelm you with information. I mean, such a bright color should be used sparingly with the paint being reserved only for the main elements of the chronograph’s face. Here, on the other hand, the color is used for basically every logical part of the dial beginning with all six pointers and ending with all eleven hour markers. Not good.
According to Ronda’s official specs, the movement is built on 13 jewels and has a guaranteed power reserve of 54 months (if you won’t use the chronograph too often, of course)
The timekeeper is released in two versions with one featuring a solid multilink bracelet crafted from surgical-grade steel and the other comes shipped on a black leather strap with contrasting orange stitching that complements the black and orange color scheme of the dial.
As usual for the brand, the watch has its hands and hour markers set with 14 LLT tritium tubes that not only glow a lot brighter than the usual Superluminova paint but also retain the glow for as long as 25 years. That’s in theory, the brand guarantees that the LLT tubes will glow for at least a decade, even if all that time the watch will be kept in a bomb shelter deep underground.
Build Quality: 4.5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Luminox F-35 Lightning II Chronograph (ref. 9388) specification
Price: $1200 (MSRP)
Movement: Quartz, Ronda caliber Startech 5050.B, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 13
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, big date, chronograph
Power reserve: 54 months
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 45.00 mm
Case height: 14.00 mm
Lug width: 24 mm
Dial: Black and orange
Hour markers: Luminous, LLT tritium tubes
Hands: Luminous, LLT tritium tubes
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet or leather strap with orange stitching
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective