The new Luminox Master Carbon SEAL Automatic ($1,195) is serious business. According to the brand, this new watch combines “all the details for which Luminox is famous — toughness, luminosity, extreme water resistance, legibility, plus an automatic movement that also features a day and date window.”
This last bit is something of a rarity for Luminox, which generally sticks to the rugged reliability of quartz. By adding a mechanical heart, the company seeks to elevate the Master Carbon SEAL Auto into the realm of hard-use luxury.
But, as you might know, luxury watches are a hard sell at GearJunkie. As one of my editors recently said, we’re “definitely not a Rolex review site.” However, while the watch shown here costs a fraction of what you’d pay for an Explorer or Submariner, in many ways it’s arguably more capable.
In short: The Luminox Master Carbon SEAL Automatic lives up to every inch of its billing. Whether you’re willing to follow those inches up the sliding scale of cost is a matter only you can decide — $1,200 is a lot of cash, but the SEAL Automatic is a lot of timepiece. With 200 m of water resistance, a reliable (and visible!) automatic movement, and the multicolored glow of Tritium, there’s a solid argument to be made for this watch’s value. The comfort and wearability are there, and the “mil-spec” pedigree is legit.
- Case size 45 mm
- Case height 14 mm
- Case material CARBONOX+
- Lug width 24 mm
- Crystal Sapphire w/anti-reflective coating
- Movement Sellita SW 200-1 Automatic
- Lume Tritium tubes (25-year lifespan)
- Water resistance 200 m
- Band material Rubber
- Tritium on indices and hands
- Solid comfort and build
- Display case back
- Strong accuracy
- High price
- Band must be trimmed
Luminox Master Carbon SEAL Automatic: Review
Past and Pedigree
My personal history with Luminox is mixed. On the one hand, I absolutely adored the company’s Bear Grylls Survival Chronograph. And yet, the next watch I received for a potential review was so uninspiring that I returned it with a polite refusal.
I feel that many of the company’s products (like most “Swiss-made” brands) are being sold at prices that outpace the materials and functionality of the timepieces.
That said, Luminox is far from the worst or only offender. And the new Master Carbon SEAL Automatic is a genuinely wonderful watch.
Strapping it on, you absolutely feel the mil-spec nature at play. I’m a big fan of this “CARBONOX+” material, which the company advertises as “light, durable, hypoallergenic, weatherproof, and shock and scratch resistant.”
It may not come through in photos, but the case has a wonderful, almost camouflage texture that reflects beautifully in the light.
The watch’s face is equally striking. Horizontal lines cut through the flat black, broken only by a wide bridge between the 3 and 9 o’clock positions.
Here we find the day and date window, along with the simple “Automatic” text. Luminox’s applied logo sits at noon, and above all spins the handset — a gas-cylinder shape for the minutes, a baby bottle for the hours, and a red-tipped probe for the seconds. Each of these carries a constantly glowing, tritium lume tube, as do the dial indices. It’s a Luminox — what did you expect?
What you generally don’t get from Luminox are tiny, spinning gears. The Master Carbon SEAL uses a Sellita SW 200-1, which is a proven (and readily serviceable) mechanical movement, visible beneath a sapphire case back. The branded rotor provides a neat touch, and I’m happy to report that my tester gained around 3 seconds per day when worn.
As far as the on-wrist experience goes, I have zero complaints with the SEAL. Its 200m water resistance was more than enough for lap swimming, and the multicolored lume tubes are a treat.
The included rubber strap is both supple and thick. Its branding is a bit loud, and it needs to be trimmed for your personal fit, but this can be done with a sharp pair of scissors.
Over gym sessions, bike rides, chores, cooking, and hiking, this watch proved to be a perfect go-anywhere, do-anything companion. And with my lack of complaints, I got to pondering the obvious question.
Coolness, at What Cost?
So, this Luminox Auto is good, possibly even great. But in the end, the question always rolls back to price. Let’s consider the stats: 200 m of water resistance, sapphire crystal, and a durable automatic movement that’ll generally run ±5 seconds per day.
Yes, I realize that the latter two are currently sold out, but there are similar offerings in the respective companies’ lines.
Where’s the value, then? Part of it comes with Luminox’s brand recognition, along with its history and pedigree. Then there’s the CARBONOX+ case and the tritium lume, each carrying a weight of charm.
Just how much the watch’s name, materials, and gimmicks are worth is a personal question to the consumer. The best I can say is that no part of the Carbon SEAL is a letdown, and it’s arguably not not worth the price.
Luminox Master Carbon SEAL Automatic Dive Watch: Conclusion
Does the Luminox aesthetic and heritage call to you? If so, you will love the Master Carbon SEAL. Heck, I’m not much of a mil-spec guy, and I’m genuinely pleased with this auto.
And as much as I complain about watches being too damned expensive (which isn’t going to stop, by the way), this particular timepiece manages to at least make an argument for its value. It blows overpriced wrist-goblins like the Bremont Savanna and (to a lesser extent) the DELMA Quattro out of the water.
This military-inspired collection comes in four colors: Red, Green, Blue, and the Gray review loaner you see here.
For those with a Navy SEALs fixation and $1,200 to burn, in all seriousness, the Master Carbon is a wonderful watch. It represents everything Luminox does well — tritium, ruggedness, and wearability — along with strong legibility and an automatic movement to boot.
Do I like it as much as the Bear Grylls watch? Maybe not, but it’s damn close.