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Lum-Tec V Series - COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW>>>>>>>>



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Scott D

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Published on 09-12-2011 03:00 PM

Number of Views: 4959

Review:

LUM-TEC

V - SERIES



September 11, 2011


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INTRODUCTION:
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; 13mm thick; 22mm strap; 131g (on leather & deployant buckle)
Strap: includes 22/18mm “flieger style” leather strap and 22/22mm Lum-Tec rubber strap. Also included is style-matching deployant buckle.

Lum-Tec is a USA-based watch company, located in Ohio. They've been producing watches for almost 4 years, with models offered in limited-production runs. Models range from 43-50 millimeters in size, with the majority being 44 millimeters, as the V series is. 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. All Lum-Tec's have final assembly, casing, testing and final inspection done at Lum-Tec's Ohio, USA facility by Lum-Tec employees.

The V series currently consists of 4 models’, all in a limited production run. They are:
V1 – stainless steel case with white markers. MSRP $865.
V2 –stainless steel black PVD case with orange markers, hands & writing. MSRP $895.
V3 – stainless steel black PVD case with white markers & ‘phantom glass’ crystal (front & back). Non-phantom-glass option is available upon special request. MSRP $895.
V4 – stainless steel rose gold PVD case, which is currently scheduled to be released on October 16th. The V4 will MSRP for $935.

Despite the V’s 44mm diameter, it’s strong lines & sharp angles help it wear extremely well on the wrist and does not feel as large as most 44mm watches. People who typically wouldn’t consider a 44mm watch might find them surprisingly attracted to the V’s slightly smaller feel on the wrist.

As you see above, 4 of the 5 models in the V-series are PVD cases, the V1 being the sole stainless steel model in the series.

PVD, or Physical Vapor Deposition, is a generic name for a thin film being applied via a condensation of vaporized gas. While PVD is a generic term for the process, not all PVD is created equal and the end product can be completed using one of several different materials and/or gases, resulting in different degrees of hardness in the finish.

Lum-Tec’s V-series uses a Titanium carbide PVD. In the process, a layer of titanium carbide is deposited onto the underlying base plate, in this case the stainless steel of the case, crown and buckle. The PVD is applied by atomizing titanium into a gaseous state, then adding the gaseous titanium into a carbon-containing atmosphere at high temperature, with the end result being titanium carbide gas. The positively-charged titanium carbide is attracted to the negatively charged case, crown or buckle, providing a complete and even coating over the stainless steel. The scratch-resistance of titanium carbide PVD is similar to that of tungsten carbide, and considered one of better of the PVD applications for watches due to its higher scratch resistance. This is not to say titanium carbide PVD cannot be scratched -any material can under the right, or wrong, circumstances. However, with proper care the Lum-Tec PVD applications should provide a long, worry free life for the finish.

From the moment you open the box you immediately see the little things LUM-TEC does that adds up. Many watches sold in the $750 - $1,000 range will include a nice box, however very few will provide a nicely polished wood box such as Lum-Tec’s. 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 strap that is 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 $900.

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CASE:

At first glance the case might appear reminiscent of an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or Hubolt Big Bang style design. Take a second look though and you’ll see the design is all Lum-Tec. Setting themselves apart from most other brands in their price point, many of the Lum-Tec designs are custom designed. Such a level of custom designed models is extremely rare in the sub-$1,500 watch market, especially for comparable-sized watch companies. Many other brands in this range will get cases mass produced from some case vendor where all the cases are available to virtually any watch company, who only add their dial & bracelets, throw in a movement & let it run. Not Lum-Tec. Once a final design has been completed, the parts are manufactured to Lum-Tec’s specifications.

The stainless steel PVD case offers a beautifully satin-brushed case with just a hint of polished surfaces on the bezels beveled-edge, bezel screw-heads & crown. All surfaces are perfectly milled & crafted. While the case & bezel boast strong lines and sharp angles, I can find no sharp edges anywhere on the case – front or back. Put the watch on your wrist & it is extremely comfortable. No pinching, pulling or poking regardless of the angle of the wrist.

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A unique feature is ‘double holes’ drilled in the lugs for strap attachment. My assumption is the 2 different mounting locations allow for different thicknesses of straps to be attached without large gaps between the strap & watch head. It is also possible the soon-to-be-released bracelet option will utilize a different mounting location than the strap. Regardless of the reason behind it, having 2 strap mounting positions to allow for optimum placement of the strap to minimize the gap is a big plus.

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Weighing in at 131g (on leather strap & deployant), the weight is on par with other 44mm watches, maybe even a bit less. Given this, the V wears extremely comfortably, on either of the included straps.

The V-series has a water resistance of 100m / 330ft, which should suffice for any water contact during normal daily wear, and for most swimming and even snorkeling activities.

The flat sapphire crystal sits just below the bezel, providing excellent protection and virtually eliminating the possibility of 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 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. Furthermore the ‘blue-hue’ seems to be less pronounced on the V series than on other Lum-Tec models.

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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.

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The LT-signed crown is easy to unscrew, adjust & re-screw into the case. Crown-guards extend about ½ way up the crown, providing excellent protection against bangs & bumps to the crown while maintaining the strong appearance of the case.

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The sapphire case-back is screwed down, and engraved with the model & individual serial number in the series.

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DIAL:

The V series comes with a matte-black dial and a highly-polished & reflective black rehaut. The V1, V3 & V4, have very-slight off-white print on the dial, with large stainless steel or stainless steel PVD applied markers, filled with lume. The V2 had orange writing on the dial and orange lume filled in stainless steel PVD applied markers. Larger fonts are used to mark the 3, 6, 9 and 12 numbers. 10 minute marks and 5 minute tracks are labled on the rehaut, resulting in their 'glowing' in low light do to the lume of the dial markers reflecting off them. The micro-print text print of the dial is crisp, clean and easy to read. A date window sits between the 4 & 5 o’clock hour markers, outlined by a polished stainless steel or stainless steel PVD surround. The dial is extremely crisp & clear, providing excellent visibility & contrast. The large sword-style hands and applied markers are filled with Lum-Tec’s proprietary Luminescence material, MDV or Maximum Darkness Visibility.

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As with every Lum-Tec, the heart & soul of each model 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. Each of the applied hour-markers as well as the large, sword-style hour & minute hands are filled with Lum-Tec’s MDV SuperLuminova. 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 V’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 V series will not disappoint you.

As you see each of the V series PVD models has outstanding low-light visibility.

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STRAP / BRACELET:

Not only does Lum-Tec include a leather strap, they also include a Lum-Tec molded rubber strap, showing again the little things add up. Utilizing a 22mm lug interhorn, a wide variety of after-market straps are also available to provide an almost endless variety of looks customized to the owner. The straps will fit a wrist up to approx. 8 1/4", plenty of size for most customer’s right out of the box.

The 22mm “flieger-style” leather strap is extremely well made, tapering to 18mm's at the clasp. Right out of the box it's soft & pliable, making it easy to wear right away. Design-matching color stitching adding a touch of sport to the strap, as does the single case-material matching accent-screw on each side of the strap.

The “flieger” leather strap:

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The matching accent screw & stitching is a nice touch, and I can certainly see what Lum-Tec designers were looking to accomplish with a strong-looking strap. However, the 4mm taper is quite strong, and I’m not sure if it’s the best compliment for the watch design. I’d have rather seen a straight 2mm taper for a watch of this size, but strap style & size is extremely subjective to the wearer’s preferences, and the V series will look good in either the OEM or any number of readily-available 3rd party straps.

The 22mm non-tapering black rubber strap is also very nicely made being soft yet strong, and has the Lum-Tec name on each strap. A large buckle will keep the watch secure on the wrist.

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The one item I'd mentioned in a previous review is the desire for Lum-Tec to provide a Lum-Tec signed deployant buckle. Many other watch enthusiests have voiced their desire on the watch forums for a deployant buckle as well. Well as usual, Lum-Tec listens to what their customers asks for & delivers. A deployant buckle is included with each V. Taking the extra steps they’re known for, Lum-Tec wasn’t happy with just any deployant. Lum-Tec designed the V deployant to complement & match the V’s strong case design. Again, doing the small things very few others in this price point do.

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The deployant is very well crafted, and as mentioned designed to match & complement the V’s case design and makes a very nice addition to the watch.

And if you prefer a tang buckle to a deployant clasp, Lum-Tec provides BOTH with each model.

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And both the deployant & tang buckle

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In addition to the leather & rubber strap, Lum-Tec has a stainless steel bracelet in production, scheduled for release within the next few months. The bracelet will be an add-on accessory, and will be available in stainless steel, stainless steel black PVD and stainless steel rose gold PVD to mach each version accordingly.

MOVEMENT:

Inside the Lum-Tec M24 is a Swiss-made ETA 2824-2 automatic winding calibre movement.

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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-horse' caliber that is extremely reliable. The 2824-2 makes each of the V-series a Swiss-powered timepiece, providing a lot of Swiss-powered watch for the price. As another example of Lum-Tec’s excellent customer service, every watch is tested by Lum-Tec to insure proper timing & function of the movement before being shipped to the customer, and every mechanical Lum-Tec comes with free lifetime timing adjustments should one become necessary.

FINAL IMPRESSIONS:

With a price right around $900, it's extremely hard not to compare the Lum-Tec’s V series models to watches selling for FAR more. This is as perfect a blend of value for the dollar as any other watch on the market. You’ll be very hard pressed to find a better value and unique design – in any price point.

Despite only being available for a few days so far, the V series has enjoyed immense popularity from the watch enthusiast community since its announcement in November 2010. In fact I cannot remember any other new release – regardless of brand – that seems to have created the amount of enthusiasm in the online watch enthusiast forums the Lum-Tec V series introduction has. Lum-Tec themselves confirm the V-series was their largest preorder ever. Considering this excitement has been created without one watch being on a customer’s wrist, I see it only growing in popularity now that the series has begun shipping to customers.

As to post-sales customer service, one only needs to browse the watch enthusiast forums to find constant & repeated testimony & praise from Lum-Tec customers on the outstanding support Lum-Tec provides. I’ve personally experienced Lum-Tec’s post-sales support and can say without reservation it’s as good as or better than any other brand I’ve ever experienced in my 20-plus years of watch-collecting. Lum-Tec is not happy until the customer is completely happy, period.

In fact Lum-Tec’s president and General Manager can frequently be found in the Official Lum-Tec forum on Watch Talk Forums, answering customers questions, addressing concerns 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 possible and providing a truly world-class customer service.

To view and/or order the V1, V2, or V3, visit Lum-Tec’s V Series Website Page.

To preorder the V4, visit the V4 Preorder Website.

To see the rest of Lum-Tec’s models, both current & upcoming check out Lum-Tec's Website.

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ALL TEXT AND PICTURES ARE COPYRIGHTED & PROTECTED. Use of any text or images without the authors written permission is prohibited.


This article was originally published in forum thread:

Lum-Tec V Series - COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW>>>>>>>>
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