TECH SPOT: Luminox’s night vision

Find out how the watch brand helps SWAT teams with tiny gas lights.

Luminox watches are worn by SWAT teams, fighter pilots and Navy Seals because of their ability to glow in the dark. Kathryn Bishop finds out how the brand uses tiny gas lights to make sure its timepieces are visible in any situation.

At first glance it’s hard to understand why Luminox watches would attract the attention of Navy Seals, SWAT teams and Stealth fighter pilots, other than its monochromatic style and tough look. But the secret to a Luminox watch is that when the lights go out, its ability to tell time is unimpaired.

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It is this secret function that makes the brand popular with professionals who embark on covert missions where timing is crucial but stealth is essential.

The hands and hour markers of this Colourmark Blackout 3150 watch appear white in the light but when put into darkness they glow blue, with the 12 o’clock marker shining orange to make it easier to work out which angle the watch is at in the dark, allowing the wearer to be able to tell the time in any situation.

To create this glow-in-the-dark functionality Luminox has employed technology usually reserved for the military, which it refers to as the Luminox Light Technology. Each watch has tiny gas lights called borosilicate glass capsules fitted to the hands, hour markers and bezels. These tiny lights are always lit ensuring that the watch can be read in any condition.

This special technology is hand assembled in every watch, making it a more expensive and time-consuming method compared to other forms of luminescence, but the result is lasting. Luminox watches can stay luminous 24 hours a day for up to 25 years.

In the light the watch looks tough and slick, with a chunky black PVD-coated stainless steel 44mm case and bracelet, perfect for fashion-conscious shoppers that want a good-looking watch with extra performance functions. The watch is also extremely durable, with an anti-reflective hardened mineral glass face, and is water resistant to 200m so it can withstand a few knocks and splashes.

Other models in the Blackout collection include the bestselling Colormark 3051 design, which is produced in lightweight polycarbon and is used by the Navy Seals and other elite groups.

The Luminox F-117 Nighthawk collection also offers a stealth Blackout option in black stainless steel. The design is based on the Lookheed Martin, all black F-117 Nighthawk fighter jet, flown by the US Air Force. Luminox entered into its relationship with Lockheed Martin nearly a decade ago, and offers a series of watches designed specifically for their pilots’ needs.

Slick design, visible day and night, and worn by some of the world’s toughest men of action – what’s not to like?



  • Black PVD stainless steel case and bracelet
  • 44mm case size
  • Blackout watch remains luminous 24/7 for up to 25 years
  • Anti-reflective hardened mineral glass face
  • Water resistant to 200m
  • Screwed caseback
  • Screw-in crown
  • Rotating bezel
  • Swiss made with jewelled Swiss movement
  • Shock resistant
  • RRP £420

This article was taken from the March 2011 issue of Professional Jeweller magazine. See the whole edition by clicking here.




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