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REVIEW: The Lum-Tec M27 Automatic>>>>>>>>>

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Published on 03-21-2011 05:09 PM

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Review of the LÜM-TEC M27
By: John B. Holbrook, II

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Many of you reading this review may think of LÜM-TEC President Chris Wiegand as brilliant watch designer and friend to watch enthusiasts everywhere....because that's his "cover." The whole "wildly successful watch manufacturer" is a subterfuge to a far more sinister end goal. In actuality, Wiegand is a vile temptor who insidiously preys on hapless watch reviewers, such as Yours Truly. "Here little's a "review sample" of one of my watches...just send it back when you're done." Yeah, right. He might as well be handing out M&M samples at Weight Watcher's meetings....I'm sure he would get about as much actual product returned to him. In the case of the LÜM-TEC M27 Automatic which was recently sent to me for review, it was a one-way trip.

The LÜM-TEC M27 is from LÜM-TEC's "Tungsten" line of watches, and has a 100m (330 ft.) water resistant case and accompanying bracelet constructed almost entirely of tungsten carbide. Despite the fact that both the case and the bracelet have mostly polished surfaces, the tungsten carbide provides amazing, almost magical scratch resistance. Unlike some other "alternative" metals watch manufacturers use (titanium springs to mind) tungsten carbide has a very attractive appearance. Clearly the metal is extremely hard, but it's also very slick. Getting the metal bracelet to seat between the case lugs was like trying to hold on to a wet dog with silicon gloves - I completely failed at being able to get the bracelet on the watch (see the below video supplement for more on the bracelet). That's not necessarily a fault or shortcoming of the watch. Actually, I'm lousy at getting almost any bracelet made with solid end links back on a watch - it an exercise in futility and frustration for me every time....enough to make a preacher cuss. So I tend to not remove the bracelets on my watches. Fortunately for me, I bought the M27 with the idea of wearing it with straps. Here's a photo of the M27 on the included leather strap - it's a nice strap, and well padded.

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My personal preference would be for one for white stitching (this one has grey stitching) but I do appreciate the quick-change pins sewn into the strap...a great feature. One of the pleasures of owning this style of watch seems to be getting a variety of straps to change on an almost hourly basis....I've always poked a little fun at Panerai guys for this. They seem to collect straps like little girls collect outfits for their Barbie dolls.... Yes, I've already got some other straps ordered. Just call me "Malibu John."

It should be noted that both the included leather strap and the rubber strap each have case matching tungsten carbide buckles....a nice touch. Here's a close up photo of the tungsten buckle on the included leather strap:

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I find myself really enjoying the rubber strap which is also included with the M27 Automatic, particularly now that warmer weather is upon us. A sweaty wrist in the Summer months will do in a nice leather strap in no time, but a rubber strap can be easily rinsed off with soap and water. A resilient rubber strap combined with the tungsten carbide case is a near indestructible combination. Here's a photo of the watch on the included rubber strap, which has the LÜM-TEC logo handsomely molded into the sides:

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Like every LÜM-TEC watch with a solid case back, the limited edition M27 shows it's production number - mine is number 49 out of 100.

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Inside the case of the LÜM-TEC M27 Automatic is an ETA 2993-2 in ETA's elaboré execution. Not only do ETA elaboré grade movements look prettier than the standard base line option (Rhodium plated, Côtes de Genève embellished rotor, decorated bridges), they're regulated to tighter tolerances straight from the ETA factory. I did an accuracy check on my Orbita watch tester, and the movement was running well within COSC parameters for accuracy:

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The ETA 2893-2 is a 21 jewel self-winding mechanical movement with a balance which oscillates at a rate of 28,800 beats per hour (BPH) and has a power reserve of 42 hours. In addition to the hour, minute, and central second hand displays, the ETA 2893-2 provides fourth hand "GMT" functionality to the LÜM-TEC M27 Automatic.

The 44mm dial of the M27 is both attractive and functional. The proven recipe for high-contrast visibility and legibility using a black dial and light color combination Arabic and stick markers is well-done here. The red accents in the hands and logo look fantastic - probably my favorite cosmetic aspect of the M27. The dial is protected by a sapphire coating which has an anti-reflective coating applied to both sides of the crystal. This has an unfortunate side effect of creating a rather severe color cast on the dial when light hits it from certain angles. Here's how the dial normally looks:

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Tilt the watch slightly though and it can look like this:

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The double AR coating "blue hue" as I call it bothers some more than others, but it's a pet peeve with me so I'll be removing the coating from the top side of the crystal. Of course, the M27 wouldn't be a LÜM-TEC without the application of their patented "MDV" (Maximum Darkness Visibility) luminous coating to the hands and markers of the dial:

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As any LÜM-TEC owner will tell you, it glows like a torch in low-lite and I have no problem at all seeing the dial in the dark even after many hours have passed since it was exposed to a light source.

The LÜM-TEC M27 is among their product offerings with the highest price tag, but justifiably so in my honest opinion. The tungsten carbide used in the watch, the ETA 2893-2 elaboré grade movement, and the truly limited edition production run are premium cost features which all combine to create a very high value watch. With unbeatable durability, good looks, and the ability to track a 2nd time zone, The LÜM-TEC M27 Automatic is a fantastic travel companion and "daily driver." The retail price of the M27 Automatic is $1595.00. While it may be a model with a product run of just 100 examples, you guys will just have to fight over the remaining 99....good old number 49 is spoken for.

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Also included here is a video supplement to my usual written photo review on the LÜM-TEC M27 Automatic:

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I recommend running the video in full-screen mode.

**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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