The 2010 models of Lum-tec’s Automatic M series retain many of the characteristics that made their 2009 predecessors so desirable as daily wearers. However, using feedback from their customers, many of its qualities were improved upon in 2010. Most notably, the Russian-made Slava automatic movement with quick-date functionality has been swapped for a Swiss ETA. Reasons for the change include complications with the quick-date button and basic difficulties associated with sourcing the extremely rare twin-barrel, 21 Jewel Slava movement.
Limited to 100 pieces, the M40 Vintage is one of 5 designs found in Lum-Tec’s M-Auto collection. The M-Autos range in price from $795 to $825 with the M40’s price tag being at the lower end of that range. Featuring a modern 44mm case design (excluding the crown), the M40 fits comfortably on the wrist and looks the part too.
The “Vintage” in the name refers to the retro appearance of the Super-Luminova, which has been colored to emulate the appearance of old radium. The dial is able to accommodate more lume than ever before, thanks to a new process, which involved cutting out the indices and numbers with a laser and then filling the various holes by hand. This helps to create a very 3-dimensional look and adds another element of interest to an already aesthetically pleasing dial.
The M40 is slightly taller than its battery-powered brethren found in the M Chronograph Collection. The case appears to be slightly taller, and the M40 gains additional height from a taller bezel. I particularly like the effect the tall bezel creates as it recesses the dial far within the case and gives the watch great depth. You can see the differences here when compared to my M37.
The case is constructed from brushed stainless steel and features a threaded caseback. Water resistant to 100 meters, the M40 is able to withstand a substantial beating from the elements without dropping a beat. The back of the case is engraved with the Lum-Tec logo, the watch model, and the watch number, as well as some basic features about the watch.
The dial on the M40 has several aesthetic differences from the 2009 models. For one, the typeface used on the numbers, which in 2009 was a very simple san-serif font has now been changed to something a bit more futuristic, which I think better aligns with Lum-Tec’s identity. The dial is charcoal in color and when viewed under the right light, shines in a beautiful sunray pattern (best seen in the first image). The hour and minute hands retain the always-attractive sword style that was present on the 2009 M Autos, and the second hand is a simple thin line. All hands are easily readable in both day and night, thanks to double-sided anti-reflective coating and a healthy dose of old radium Color Super-Luminova.
As mentioned earlier, the movement found within is of the Swiss variety; a 25 jewel ETA 2824-2 Automatic Mechanical movement to be exact. It beats at a rate of 28,800 BPH or 8 beats per second, and is highly regarded for its accuracy, dependability, and longevity. When fully wound, the ETA has a power reserve of 40 hours and thanks to a bidirectional winding, ball bearing rotor, the ETA winds the main rotor very easily. The ETA 2824-2 has a quick set date function, hacking function, and hand winding function.
The M40 comes in a standard, Lum-Tec black leather box. The leather is of nice quality and the Lum-Tec logo is embossed on the top panel.
The inside of the box is covered in white felt with a small pocket to house the owners manual, warranty card, and Chris’ personal business card. In addition, two hidden chambers on either side of the box conceal two alternate straps (stainless steel bracelet and molded rubber).
The strap that comes on the M40 from the factory is black leather with gray stitching and features Lum-Tec’s quick release changing system (visible in the image of the caseback), a huge plus in my opinion as it makes changing straps simple. It also comes with a stainless steel bracelet and a black rubberized strap. Extra springbars are included to fit the other straps.
As a daily beater, it doesn’t get much better than the M40. It’s a very reasonable weight on the wrist and looks good under a dress cuff or with a white t-shirt. The black leather strap looks great, and there is an option for a brown colored shell cordovan strap from the factory. Being that Lum-Tec offers lifetime timing adjustments, I forsee the M40 being my daily watch for many years to come.