Around 2 a.m., I woke up to my dad snoring. And I had to pee. It was pitch-black in the cheap motel room in rural South Dakota. Not wanting to wake anyone up, I crept across the floor, stubbed my toe, and winced.
That’s when I noticed the bright glow coming from my wrist. There, the Luminox Atacama Field Watch stood out against the darkness like a beacon. I looked at the time, which registered as clear as day. Then, I twisted my wrist and pointed the watch at the floor.
Wow! The watch’s lume was so bright that I could light my way. I found the toilet, and then returned to my bed, illuminated only by the glow of the watch.
Using a loaner from Luminox for a couple of weeks, I enjoyed this borderline luxury tool watch. I put it to some tough use. Read on to learn more about one of the best field watches I’ve used.
In short: The Luminox Atacama Field is a burly watch with a 44mm case and 200 m of water resistance. It runs on an automatic SELLITA SW 220-1 movement with a 38-hour power reserve. While a handsome watch, this timepiece is more fit for rugged use for those with large wrists and is a bit over the top for a desk jockey. Rugged outdoor use, military, and law enforcement are ideal situations for the Atacama Field.
- SKU XL.1907.NF
- Case size 44mm
- Strap width 24mm
- Movement SELLITA SW 220-1
- Case material Stainless steel
- Strap color Green
- Case water resistance 200 m
- Lume shines brightly all night
- Durable bezel, case, screw down crown
- Heavy duty strap
- Appropriate for use in harsh conditions
- Too big for smaller wrists
- Too thick for dress shirts
Luminox Atacama Field Watch Review
Luminox, as a watch brand, doesn’t mess around with its intent. From its marketing with influencers like Bear Grylls to its unapologetically bright and functional lume, Luminox is a rugged, outdoor-focused brand with military and exploration roots. So, it’s not much surprise that its pinnacle field watch is one tough son of a gun.
Unboxing the Atacama is, I expect, much like any other Luminox watch. It arrived in a tough, no-nonsense plastic box that reminded me of a lighter version of a Pelican case. While a nice and authentic touch, part of me wished the case was just a degree or two more functional so you could use it as a stand-alone product for camping, hunting, or rafting. But it is, in essence, a watch case.
Taking the watch out of this burly case, I noted its significant heft immediately. The Atacama is a lot of watch. It has a 44mm case, which is about as large as I can comfortably wear on my 7.5-inch wrist. And at 115 g (about 4 ounces), it’s certainly on the heavy side of field watches. It’s also a little thick, at 14 mm, so keep that in mind if you expect to wear it under snug layers.
But even with the heft, the Atacama Field Watch has proven to be quite comfortable. The test model I used came with a textile strap. It was very stiff out of the box. Even after 2 weeks of daily wear, it’s still pretty stiff. But I imagine this tough-feeling band will break in beautifully after a few months of wear and last a very long time.
Luminox Atacama: Setting the Time and Date
For the Luminox Atacama Field Watch review, my first step was learning the basics of the watch. This timepiece is fairly easy to set, although it does have some finicky details common to most automatic watches.
First, you should not set the date and day if the time is near midnight. The owner’s manual spells this out, but it’s for the safety of the internal mechanism.
With that caveat out of the way, the setting goes as follows: Unscrew the crown and pull to the first position to change the day and date. One direction changes the day of the week (written in both English and Spanish, scroll through both depending on which you want).
The other direction sets the date of the month. Set the day and date to the day before your current time, and move to the next step.
Pull the crown to the second position and the watch stops. Move the hour forward only to set the time (as you should with any automatic watch). As you pass midnight, the day will flip to your current time. Continue moving forward until you get to the actual time.
If it happens to be the afternoon, make sure you continue through past noon before stopping at your current time. That way, the watch will change the day and date correctly at midnight.
Atacama: Perfect for the Field
In testing, I used the Atacama Field Watch on a trip to South Dakota pheasant hunting. I wore it there for 4 days of hiking through fields and thickets, working with my dog, and cleaning birds. I also wore it on the drive and around home for a couple of weeks before and after the trip. I enjoyed the watch. It feels like a luxury timepiece on a mission. This watch means business, even if that business does look pretty attractive on your arm.
With 200m water resistance and phenomenal lume, plus a rugged sapphire bezel and steel case, this watch is meant for tough use. And after what I’d consider moderately tough use, my test model doesn’t have a mark on it.
Before I wrap this review up, I do want to call out two minor downsides.
First, this is a big, hefty watch. At 44mm wide and 14mm thick, you won’t fit it under tight cuffs in a dress shirt. And those with smaller wrists will find the watch bulky and heavy.
The second downside affects readability a bit. The intricate face has a lot of markings, including 24-hour numbers, minute/second marks, and second numerals. It’s a bit busy for the world of field watches, which tend to aim for minimalism and readability.
But these are minor negatives. Some folks will love these aspects of the watch — especially those who like a larger, heftier watch will appreciate the Atacama.
It’s beautifully finished. It glows very brightly at night. In my testing, it kept spot-on time for more than a week. If you’re looking for one of the best field watches for larger wrists, the Luminox Atacama Field Watch should be high on your list.