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Review of the Luminox Navy Seal (3001)

Dive Hands on Watch Reviews Luminox Tritium

Luminox Navy Seal 3001

I look at a lot of different metrics when evaluating and reviewing a watch, however there’s one metric that I hold above all others: wrist time. Wrist time is simply the amount of time I wear a watch beyond the amount of time needed to review it.

The Luminox Navy Seal does very well in this category. Although I can’t pinpoint exactly why, I’ve been wearing it pretty consistently for weeks. I think it’s a combination of comfort, tritium gas tube illumination (which I’ve really come to love), high-contrast readability, and overall value. How do I judge the overall value of a watch? Let me put it this way: the Luminox Navy Seal isn’t the most sturdy watch I own, but if I ever managed to destroy it, I would have no problem spending the money to replace it, and would probably do so at the first opportunity.

That’s not to say I expect to destroy it. The Luminox Navy Seal is a relatively inexpensive watch made from relatively inexpensive materials, however it’s quite sturdy (don’t confuse inexpensive with cheap). The polymer case is very solid, the crown is protected, and the mineral glass crystal should stand up to anything but a hard direct impact.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I love the tritium gas tube illumination system which allows the hands and hour indices to glow brightly and consistently for 25 years without having to absorb light. Since I don’t use an alarm clock, and since I have kids who feel compelled wake me up throughout the night, I love always being able to easily read off the time. The Luminox Navy Seal is more than comfortable enough to wear to bed, so I’ve gotten in the habit of putting it on at night (if I’m not already wearing it), and wearing it all the way through my workout the next morning. Now that I have other watches to review, it usually has to come off when I get out of the shower, but occasionally I’ll continue wearing it throughout the day.

Features of the Luminox Navy Seal 3001 include:

  • Tritium gas tube illumination. All three hands, hour markers, and the “bezel pearl” all have tritium gas tubes embedded in them for 25 years of constant illumination.
  • Unidirectional ratcheting bezel.
  • Quartz movement with date. I’ve found the movement in the Luminox Navy Seal to be quite accurate — I’ve had it for about a month, and it has only gained about a second.
  • Mineral glass crystal.
  • 4 year battery with an end of life indicator (the second hand starts jumping in 4-second increments when you need a new battery).
  • Water resistant to 200 meters, or about 650 feet.
  • Hard plastic 43 mm case with a stainless steel caseback, push-in crown (fairly well protected by crown guards), and a very soft and comfortable polyurethane strap.

The Luminox Navy Seal 3001 is what I call an “honest” watch. It’s simple, functional, and does exactly what it’s designed to do, which is provide an accurate, reliable, and easy to read watch at an affordable price. The Luminox Navy Seal 3000 series retails for $225, but they are usually sold at a pretty decent discount.

This watch was generously provided by Princeton Watches.

By Christian Cantrell


  1. Written V3 on my 3001 Back? Is There different than the 3001 in this review.. Not  Written ” Stainless Steel ” Back too..

  2. Ditto on this review as if reading my mind. My Luminox 3903 was stolen at the gym in a careless moment after wearing it for 9 years. Like the author said, this watch was my “wrist time” watch and not only did I replace my watch, I bought a second one for a friend. Great watch, great price.

  3. I have just changed a battery on one of these and was not impressed to see rust on the steel caseback between the case and caseback where the screw holes are. It must just be painted mild steel and not 316L marine grade SS you would expect. Also rust on the crystal ring where the bezel goes effectively jamming the bezel. This is on a watch that has not been worn that often or used in extreme conditions (Unless being kept in a drawer is extreme). The strap also broke with ease from the wearer. It’s a light attractive watch but I would not spend the money some retailers are asking for. There are much better watches out there for your money.

  4. ive had my luminox for 10 years now. its a great watch! i bought it for work because i wanted a durable, yet low key looking watch that would hold up and not stand out. i work as a driver/guard for an amored truck company. i own an omega seamaster, but its expensive and flashy. i dont want to give anyone any wrong ideas. but i have worn my luminox so much that the inscription on the underside has completely been erased. the bezel is heavily dinged from hitting it on things, but its still going strong. the only downside is the rubber strap. i have had to replace it a couple of times. and over the past year now with increasing frequency, the strap comes apart from the watch. the pin doesnt hold the strap as secure anymore as it once did. i can easily put the strap back on, but it doesnt take much to knock it apart now. when the battery finally does run out, whenever that will be, i will replace the watch intirely. i bought it thinking if it was good enough for the navy seals, its good enough for me.

  5. I bought my first one about 10 years ago. Loved it. Got another one for my middle son when he graduated from Cavalry Scout school for the Army and another one for my youngest son when he graduated from Corpsman School for the Navy. My eldest son is a civilian like his dad so, like his dad, he’ll have to buy his own 😀

    But – really solid watch. Wearing mine right now.

  6. I bought this same model of Luminox watch in 2001 and it lasted about a year or so, before it began to build up moisture/condensation on the inside. I mailed it off to Luminox’s warranty repair center and they sent it back with a letter saying condensation build-up is normal and nothing to be concerned about. The problem persisted and only got worse, to the point where the white painted trim and lettering was starting to peel away from the dial/face. I really liked the watch a lot, until it started having problems. I’ve thought about buying another one, but still reluctant for now.

  7. I bought a 3001 Luminox watch around 1994 from Service Merchandise before they went belly up. Over the years, I’ve owned maybe 6 of this series and maybe 5 other models. I’ve sold everything except my original which still keeps great time and still has some glow from the dial markers and hands. 26 years later. I just bought a 3003 this week from new old stock and learned Luminox no longer makes this series. There have been some comments (very few) about the quality lapse over the years and I thought I would comment on that. So, I have a 90’s model and a 2019/2020 model and the differences are few from my observations.
    First appearance;
    1. Dial appearance…….The outer rim(not rotating timer bezel) with seconds markers and tritium vials are closer to the crystal on the 90’s model. On the newest one they’re further down from the crystal maybe giving a slight magnifying effect. Also the newest model has larger tritium vials which gives the dial a bit busier appearance.
    2. The rotating timer bezel has an almost invisible tritium marker at the 0 mark on the new one. Older watches had a noticeable stainless steel marker with a little dot of tritium. The newer watch has a clear, glass covered, (maybe sapphire) lens with a tritium stick inside. Hope it works.
    There are some differences. The old watch has an engraved steel cover for the battery hatch. The new one has an engraved plastic one. Plastics have come a long way. Maybe it’s better.
    The rotating bezel turns as before maybe with a little less effort which might be good if you’re a diver. Still has a good “click” quality feel.
    I’ve owned well over 250 watches some over $2,000. I keep going back to one of my favorite all time watches, the Luminox 3000 series. Sorry they no longer make it.

    I hope this is not just a waste of a read and maybe a little help to some.


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