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A Visit To LÜM-TEC Headquarters In Mentor, Ohio>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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Published on 10-10-2011 07:34 AM

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A Visit To LÜM-TEC Headquarters In Mentor, Ohio
By: John B. Holbrook, II

Given that I only live about a four hour drive from the headquarters of the one of the hottest brands to ever hit the WATCH TALK FORUMS community, I'm ashamed to say that's it taken me this long to work out the time in my schedule to visit them. But, on Sunday, October 2nd I hit the highway with my LÜM-TEC M27 strapped to my wrist:

Watch Sky Cloud Motor vehicle Automotive design

LÜM-TEC headquarters is located in Mentor, Ohio which is a suburb of Cleveland:

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The closer I got to Cleveland, the prettier the early Fall leaves got. It was a lovely drive.

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I grabbed dinner and a hotel on Sunday evening when I arrived, and went to the LÜM-TEC facility on Monday morning.

LÜM-TEC is located in an industrial business complex in Mentor. The location is very strategic as several of the surrounding companies are utilized in the production of their watches. In fact, LÜM-TEC Vice President Art Bastulli owns one of the nearby companies (Coastal Diamond) which LÜM-TEC uses quite a bit to do prototype work, grinding, final re-working, and finishing:

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Many LÜM-TEC fans don't realize that LÜM-TEC was originally created in 2008 to showcase the OEM production capabilities of Wiegand Custom Watch, LLC. Thanks to Chris Wiegand's unbridled passion for watches and customer service, the LÜM-TEC brand has skyrocketed in popularity. But Wiegand Custom Watch, LLC still makes watches and components for many other brands.

Here's the view of their front door from the parking lot:

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When I went inside, none other than Chris Wiegand himself came to greet me.

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As you might expect for a relatively young and small company like LÜM-TEC, they operate in a fairly small facility which they're quickly outgrowing due to the incredible growth and demand for their product.

From the front door, you enter in to a seating area which has some fantastic display cases filled with examples of LÜM-TEC's product lines.

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The new and recently reviewed V Series:

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Chris gave me the distinct honor and pleasure of getting to play with a prototype of the upcoming V series bracelet - it's fantastic!!

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Among the other models Chris had me try on was the infamous "Lumzillia." Despite being nearly 50mm in diameter, the watch looked surprisingly good on my small wrist:

Watch Analog watch Clock Everyday carry Wrist

Another watch that caught my eye in the display case was the M51. Here's a catalog photo of the watch:

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When I tried the watch on, I was surprised by how much I liked it - I've never owned a PVD coated watch. I was thinking to myself when I tried it on "man this would look great with some red elements." I told Chris I wanted to buy it while I was there, and as if reading my mind he told one of his service personnel "put a red second hand on the watch, and a red-stitched strap." I couldn't have been more shocked at his uncanny ability to know exactly what I wanted. Chris said it was his years working in new car sales prior to starting LÜM-TEC which helped him develop much of his customer oriented focus. Here's how my custom M51 now looks:

Watch Analog watch Silver Clock Material property

Look for a review on this watch coming soon!

This display case in their entrance also held many case design protoypes for new and existing models, including some that haven't quite made it from the "the drawing board" into production. LÜM-TEC is constantly experimenting with new materials, and manufacturing processes to bring uniqueness to the brand's designs.

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Chris Wiegand wears many hats at LÜM-TEC - among them is the role of "Chief Designer." To do a fully detailed 3D model of an entire watch can take "hundreds of hours" according to Chris. Once done, the 3D files are converted into 2D CAD drawings for detailing (measurements, etc.), and are sent to the manufacturing engineers who put in all the proper dimensions and tolerances for each and every part according to LÜM-TEC' s specifications, and the component manufacturing process can begin. LÜM-TEC selects different manufacturers from all over the world for each component. The manufacturers they work with are selected based on their ability to deliver the highest quality production capability at the the maximum value for their end customer. All watch design, assembling, testing, adjusting, and quality control is performed in the USA. I for one am so proud to show people my "made in America" watches from LÜM-TEC.

As LÜM-TEC fans know, the company is more in-touch with their customers and fans then most companies in the watch manufacturing landscape. The official LÜM-TEC forum right here on WATCH TALK FORUMS is an invaluable resource for them to maintain the lines of communication with their end customers. Chris constantly solicits the forum for feedback on new and existing designs:

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This feedback loop between LÜM-TEC and their fans is a big part of their success - owning a LÜM-TEC means your part of the company and your opinion has value.

After we played with some watches, Chris took me on a tour of the rest of LÜM-TEC headquarters. the LÜM-TEC staff was a little camera shy, but here's some photos of their facility. Here's the movement test and regulation station:

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LÜM-TEC watches equipped with some of their remaining stock of ETA 2824 movements:

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LÜM-TEC is committed to producing accurate watches. They are one of the FEW watch manufacturers which regulate each and every mechanical movement before they sell, and offer FREE lifetime regulation services on their watches.

Here's a photo of an ETA 2824 movement (left) next to one of the newer movements LÜM-TEC has begun using - the Miyota 9015:

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As most watch enthusiasts know, ETA has changed their policies regarding their movement production and supply, making movements like their ETA 2824 more difficult to obtain. Chris and I spoke quite extensively on the benefits of using the Miyota 9015, as LÜM-TEC has developed considerable experience with this relatively new movement. Chris feels the Miyota 9015 is in every way superior to the ETA 2824. They're thinner, lighter, better engineered, and easier to service and in his experience more accurate than the decades older ETA 2824 design provides. The factory level of decoration the Miyota 9015 is also impressive - just look at how attractive the Miyota 9015 looks through the display back of my new LÜM-TEC M51:

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Dial work and hands placement is done at this work station:

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Some completed dials - painted, lumed and ready to go:

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Next I was taken into the holy grail room at LÜM-TEC - the lume room! This is the room where, like mad scientists, they experiment with new and exciting ways to to make watch dials glow brighter and longer, like with their MDV (maximum darkness visibility) formulation:

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Here's their shipping and receiving room:

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Some magical white boxes ready to embark on their journey to a loving customer:

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One of the best parts of the visit came after the tour when Chris's wife came and we all went out to lunch. You couldn't ask for a more friendly, down to Earth couple of folks to have lunch with. We talked about everything from watches, dogs, iPhones....Chris really is just "one of the guys."

All too quickly my time at LÜM-TEC came to an end, and it was time for me to head back to Dayton. My only regret from my visit at LÜM-TEC was that I had not been able to visit sooner. Meeting Chris, Bes, and the rest of the gang at LÜM-TEC was a distinct pleasure and the information share was, if you'll pardon the pun, very illuminating. Thanks to everyone at LÜM-TEC for going the extra mile to make my visit so great.

Automotive design Audio equipment Shelving Gadget Electronic instrument

I'm very proud of the fact that WATCH TALK FORUMS has played host to The *Official* LÜM-TEC forum since December of 2008. To celebrate the fantastic relationship which WATCH TALK FORUMS has with LÜM-TEC, I want to announce that we're partnering with LÜM-TEC to create an official WATCH TALK FORUMS edition LÜM-TEC watch! The best part? Members of the *Official* LÜM-TEC forum will help design the watch! We're going to hold a special contest this month to decide what the WTF Edition LÜM-TEC watch will look like (it will be based on an existing design, and not made "from scratch."). The member who submits the design which gets the most votes will not only see their vision become a reality, they will win their very own WTF Edition LÜM-TEC watch! Look for the official contest announcement coming SOON!

**Photos & Text Copyright 2011 WATCH TALK FORUMS. No part of this report can be reproduced outside of WATCH TALK FORUMS without the expressed permission of John B. Holbrook, II.

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