February 8, 2011
February 8, 2011
MODEL VARIATIONS: No exact model variations – 2 sister models (M23 & M25)
Features & functions: water resistant (100m), date, Maximum Darkness Visibility Technology
Dial displays: date aperture display between 4 and 5 o’clock
Size Specifications: 44mm diameter, 12mm thick. 24mm bracelet
Bracelet / Strap: includes 24mm tungsten carbide bracelet, leather strap and rubber strap
Lum-Tec is a USA-based watch company, located in Ohio. They've been producing watches for just over 2 years, with models offered only in limited-production runs. Models range from 43-50 millimeters in size, with the majority being 44 millimeters. While parts are sourced from various locations worldwide to provide the highest quality materials available to meet Lum-Tec's requirements, some components and parts are US-made, and some of those by Lum-Tec directly. And all Lum-tec's have final assembly, casing, testing and final inspection are done at Lum-Tec's Ohio, USA facility by Lum-Tec employees.
The M24 is one of 12 models LUM-TEC currently offers made from tungsten carbide. The M24 is one of 3 ‘sister models’ that share the same design, the only difference being dial type and color of lume. With a diameter of 44mm’s, a weight of 299 grams on the tungsten bracelet (158g on leather strap) and a thickness of 12mm's thick, it'll be best appreciated by those with larger wrists, or who enjoy large-sized cases. The M24 is limited to a production run of 175 units.
From the moment you open the box you immediately see the little things LUM-TEC does that adds up. Many watches sold for around $1,000 will include a nice box, however very few will provide a nicely polished wood box. Lum-Tec does. Open the outer cardboard box & you’ll find a very nice white-ash colored wood box with glossy finish and the Lum-Tec name on the top. Open the box up and inside you’ll find a felt-lined interior including a storage bay on each side of the watch slot (great for storing the additional straps that are supplied), and a pocket in the cover for the manual & warranty card. Also included is a Certificate of Authenticity, documenting the model, serial number, production date & movement caliber.
All in all it’s a fantastic package, especially for a watch with a price just under $1,000.
The tungsten carbide case offers a beautifully polished case with superior scratch resistance over stainless steel. With a hardness of approx. 8.5-9 on the Mohs scale, it’s comparable in hardness to sapphire & is extremely scratch resistant. By comparison, stainless steel has a hardness of approx. 5-6.5 (depending on formula) on the Mohs scale. Very few items encountered in normal daily use will be able to scratch the polished finish of the M24's tungsten carbide case, with diamonds from jewelery being probably the most common encountered. This hardness & scratch resistance should provide a superior, long-lasting polished shine to the M24’s case & bracelet.
The tungsten carbide provides a slightly muted color when compared to the brighter appearance of stainless steel. Not as harsh as polished stainless steel, the tungsten carbide metal will have a slightly darker tint to it. This provides a warmer, less flashy feel to the polished surface in my opinion.
As a result of the higher density of tungsten carbide, the M24 case is substantially heavier than a stainless steel version would be. Weighing in at 137g for the watch head alone, there’s no debating it’s a heavy watch. However, despite this weight the M24 wears extremely comfortably, on either of the included straps or the heavy tungsten carbide bracelet. Rotation & slippage of the M24 on the wrist is minimum, far less than one might expect from a watch of this weight, regardless of whether it’s on the bracelet or strap.
At first view, the case has a Panerai-style look to it. And while there’s no denying some of the same characteristics between the 2 brands, Lum-Tec has done an outstanding job of giving the M24 its own identity. The case boasts strong, square lines and angles, all of which are perfectly milled, crafted and polished. Despite its large size and being able to feel some sharper angels on the case while holding, the M24 sits completely comfortable wearing on the wrist.
The M-24 has a water resistance of 100m / 330ft, which should suffice for any water contact during normal daily wear, and for most swimming and snorkeling activities.
The flat sapphire crystal sits virtually level with the to of the bezel, providing excellent protection from any bangs or nicks against the edge of the crystal. Anti-reflective coated on both the top & bottom of the sapphire crystal helps to provides excellent viewing from virtually every angle, though the blue-tinted effect of the coating will give the crystal a heavy blued coloring at times. While the dual-sided anti-reflective coating will turn off some who don't like anti-reflective coatings on the top of crystals, it is easily removed should the wearer decide to.
In this photo, you can see an example of the blue tint which can be seen from some angles which is a bi-product of the dual sided AR coating.
An over-sized LT-signed crown, required for a watch of this thickness to look esthetically correct, is easy to unscrew, adjust & re-screw into the case. Curved crown-guards extend about ½ way up the crown, providing excellent protection against bangs & bumps to the crown while maintaining a pleasant look to the case.
The case-back is screwed down, and engraved with the model & individual serial number in the series.
The M24 has a carbon fiber dial, and very-slight off-white Arabic numbers marking all hours. Larger fonts are used to mark the 3, 6, 9 and 12 numbers. The micro-print text print of the dial is crisp, clean and very legible. A date window sits between the 4 & 5 o’clock hour markers. The dial is extremely crisp & clear, providing excellent visibility & contrast.
However, the heart & soul of every Lum-Tec is Lum-Tec's exclusive Maximum Darkness Visibility (MDV) Technology used to provide superior visibility in dark viewing environments.
The MDV process consists of a special 8 layer application of a custom made for Lum-Tec SuperLuminova material. The MDV process starts with a base layer of white titanium dioxide followed by 6 layers of Lum-Tec's custom-made grade A SuperLuminova mixture, then capped off by a final clear varnish layer. On the dial each of the numbers and their hash are MDV treated, and have a raised, 3D effect. The hour and minute hand are large sword-style hands, also MDV treated. The combination of the dial & hand MDV treatment provides outstanding overall visibility of the dial and hands in any lighting condition. The second hand, like the hour & minute hands, is also MDV treated.
The M24’s nighttime visibility is absolutely superb, with the glow of the lume lasting strong enough throughout the night to tell the time even in the latest of AM hours. If you like lots of lume, the M24 will not disappoint you.
As you see the M24 has outstanding low-light visibility.
STRAP / BRACELET:
Not only does Lum-Tec include a finely crafted, highly polished tungsten carbide bracelet, but they provide both a leather and rubber strap as well, showing again the little things add up. Utilizing a 24mm lug interhorn, a wide variety of after-market straps are also available to provide an almost endless variety of looks. The bracelet & straps will fit a wrist up to approx. 8 1/4", plenty of size for most customers right out of the box.
The 24mm black shell cordovan leather strap is soft & pliable, tapering to 22mm's at the clasp. Gray stitching adding a touch of sport to the strap. Quick-change spring-bars provide a quick, tool-free removal and attachment of the strap. While when switching straps this is really only beneficial if the strap you're changing to also has quick release spring-bars, it's a very handy way to quickly & easily remove the leather strap should you want to simply wash or clean the watch head without getting the leather strap wet.
The shell cordovan leather strap:
The quick-release springbars:
The 24mm black rubber strap is also soft yet strong, and has the Lum-Tec name on each strap.
The one item I'd like to see is for Lum-Tec to provide a Lum-Tec signed deployant buckle, either included with the watch or as a customer add-on. A deployant bucket would provide an extra elegance to the leather strap, and extend strap life.
The 24mm bracelet is constructed from tungsten carbide links and out of the box it's large enough to fit approximately an 8 1/2" wrist, and tapers to 22mm at the clasp. As with the case, the tungsten carbide makes the bracelet heavy, weighing in at 163g for the bracelet alone and 299g for the watch on the bracelet. However, despite this extra weight, the M24 feels extremely balanced & comfortable on the wrist.
The double-fold milled clasp secures cleanly, and is released via a double push button clasp. The clasp is the only stainless steel on the bracelet. The bracelet fits firmly & securely against the case, providing an excellent finished look. However the bracelet is more difficult to attach to the case than most, so if you enjoy switching frequently between the bracelet & strap this could prove to be a minor inconvenience. Lum-Tec does provide a short video on installing the bracelet on their YouTube page to assist with installing the bracelet which helps.
The tungsten carbide bracelet:
"Wrist-shots" of the M24 with the supplied bracelet & straps.
Tungsten carbide bracelet:
Inside the Lum-Tec M24 is an Swiss-made ETA 2824-2 automatic winding calibre movement.
Movement photo copyright of Lum-Tec. Used with permission.
The ETA 2824-2 is a 25-jewel, bidirectional-winding automatic, hacking movement, running at 28,800 BPH with a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. The 2824-2 has been in production for years, and is considered a 'work-horses' caliber that is extremely reliable. The 2824-2 makes the M24 a Swiss-powered timepiece, providing a lot of Swiss-powered watch for the price. As another example of Lum-Tec’s excellent customer service, the M24 comes with free lifetime timing adjustments should one become necessary.
With a price of $995, it's extremely hard not to compare the Lum-Tec M24 to watches selling for more than two or three times its price. From the extremely clean & visible dial, the durability of the tungsten carbide case & bracelet, to the excellent night-time visibility, it's very hard to find any faults with the M24. The only substantial addition I'd like to see is the availability of a Lum-Tec deployant buckle for the leather strap. Yes, aftermarket deployants are easily accecable, but a Lum-Tec signed deployant would really be a plus.
Lum-Tec has openly sought the input of the watch enthusiast community by providing details of upcoming and concept models on a regular basis to allow the watch enthusiast community to provide inputs, suggestions & thoughts on their models. And based on the excellent design, function and comfort of the M24, it's obvious Lum-Tec has listened to the watch enthusiast community's input as well. Lum-Tec has succeeding in producing a high quality, aesthetically pleasing watch in the M24, offered it at a great price that will be extremely functional, and it's customers will enjoy wearing day after day.
While I have not personally utilized Lum-Tec's customer service for warranty or service work, one only needs to browse the watch enthusiast forums to find repeated testimony from Lum-Tec customers on the extra mile Lum-Tec goes in making sure every customer is handled at a personal level, and is completely satisfied. In fact Lum-Tec president Chris Wiegand will frequently be found in the Official Lum-Tec forum on Watch Talk Forums, answering customers questions, providing input on discussions and most importantly - seeking input from his customers on how Lum-Tec can do better as a watch company. This speaks volumes to Lum-Tec's devotion to making the finest products and providing world-class customer service.
To see the other available dial version of the M24's sister models, as well as the rest of Lum-Tec’s line, check out Lum-Tec's Website.
For ordering information, go to the Lume-Tec Online Store.
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