Luminox Dress Field 1832
I have a soft spot for Luminox. It was the first “real” watch I purchased when I was about 16 years old. I got it from a now defunct store by the name of Service Merchandise, a popular store in the USA for some time. They sold many brands from Seiko to Tag Heuer, and of course Luminox. At the time, around 1996, Luminox was still making mostly resin cased watches with rubber straps that were marketed as used by Navy Seals. Luminox has come a long way from those original plastic watches that they still make, but have also expanded the line to include all types of watches from pilots, divers, field and more. The materials have been upgraded as well with titanium watches, solid stainless steel, sapphire crystals etc. One thing that has never changed is the use of tritium tubes instead of luminescent paint for reading the time in the dark. To be honest I am not 100% sure what company was the first to use tritium tubes, but I do know that Luminox definitely helped make it famous. That leads us to this new model I have in for review, the Luminox Dress Field 1832, part of the 1800 series that meshes a field watch with a dress watch. A watch that should be able to work well in both situations, though I don’t know if I would wear it with a tux. I think it is more that if you are an officer, it could be worn both out in the field and when in full uniform.
Luminox Dress Field 1832 Specifications:
- Case: Stainless Steel
- Width: 42mm
- Length: 50mm
- Thickness 10.8mm
- Lugs: 22mm
- Weight: 150 grams
- Movement: RONDA 515 Quartz
- Tritium Tubes
- Sapphire Crystal
MSRP: $650 USD
I have never been in the military so I am not going to pretend to talk about what officers wear. So I will of course look at this watch from the civilian point of view, which is most likely the majority of the buyers of this Luminox Dress Field 1832. The retail price is $650, and while you are getting a stainless steel case and sapphire crystal, 200 meters water resistance and of course tritium tubes, it also houses a quartz movement, the RONDA 515 to be exact. That got me thinking. In terms of looks, components, build quality and price this watch is very comparable to the VSA INOX, one that I have reviewed here on Watchreport, two of them actually, and I have the newest titanium in hand for an upcoming review. I have stated many times I believe the INOX to be a nice watch from a good company, but that it is more marketing hype with their claims. So to me, that puts these two watches in a very similar space. Both the original INOX and this Luminox are not dive watches but both rated as such, both Swiss Made and both similar in appearance, though the INOX is more chunky. The price is also similar, or at least within $100. We also all know that retail price is different from street price and can be found cheaper with some looking around.
I am not going to go into a comparison of those two watches more than that but since I have a VSA in hand I realized that they are similar in many aspects. Back to the Luminox Dress Field 1832, the dial is the biggest standout. It has a grey textured center dial that I have not been able to accurately compare to anything else. It almost looks like painted fabric or cloth. Whatever it is, I like it, and it does make a standard looking watch stand out a bit more. It is also a very clean dial which I approve of greatly. They did not feel the need to go overboard with the text and branding on the dial, they are Luminox after all, they don’t need to. As with most watches, the dial will look different in various lighting as you can see in my photos. I would say that the center dial is more of a charcoal grey but can very depending on lighting. Another thing that affects how you perceive the dial color is the crystal. The AR coating here is not the best, or maybe the crystal itself is just not super clear, but most of the time I found myself having to turn the watch to get the right angle to see the true dial color, especially when outside.
At 42mm it is modest in size, though when I initially pulled it from its box I thought it was a 44mm until I checked the specifications. It just seems to wear larger for some reason. Overall the Luminox Dress Field 1832 is comfortable with its solid stainless steel bracelet. The overall style of the bracelet is a form of an oyster link, though the middle links protrude more giving it a three dimensional element. Pins are used for assembly of the links and though I always prefer screws, sizing was easy enough and I have not noticed any pins backing out. The clasp on the other hand is a tad generic, especially on a $650 watch.
7 1/2 inch wrist for reference
The Luminox Dress Field 1832 is a solid watch in construction, though the finishing leaves something to be desired. While it might be weird to hear me say, I wish for some high polish to contrast the all satin finish, as I feel it would give the watch some needed pop. Normally I am all for the satin brushed finish, I just feel it leaves this particular model looking a little blah. The other thing is that the brushing itself could be more refined, as it looks a little rough, especially on the crown. The Luminox logo is also missing from the crown, and it just looks unfinished in its current state.
I know many who want a stainless steel bracelet for their watch, I see the comments all the time. The Luminox Dress Field 1832 just does not give that “dress” feel to me with the bracelet though. This model is offered on a leather strap as is the white dial variant, and both of those versions look more the part of an all around watch than the bracelet model. The bracelet is chunky and rugged and makes the watch feel more sport than dress field. If you like a bracelet, this one is no doubt well made, I just don’t feel it fits the model or style Luminox was going for.
Tritium lume as many know is not as bright as luminescent powder/paint but requires no light source to glow. Because it is not as bright, it is hard to photograph as you need complete darkness to see the tubes at their brightest. Case in point with the picture below. The advantage though is you never have to worry if your watch is going to glow in the dark, it always will, for at least 25 years that is.
The Luminox Dress Field 1832 is a good looking and well made field watch. My issue with the bracelet is just that, mine, and you might think it looks great. I think I would have enjoyed the leather strap version better as I feel it looks more cohesive and more a field watch than a chunky sport watch. The dial texture is unique, tritium tubes while not my favorite, do their job as intended and with the right strap this model can be a do anything/go anywhere type of watch. I like that Luminox is still evolving after all these years and while this model might not hit all the marks for me, I can see it being a very popular model for the brand.