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Lum-Tec Solar Marine


The Lum-Tec Solar Marine comes in three different styles, all three have 316L steel cases with a bead blasted finishes, one version comes in all black, one with a silver rotating bezel, and this one with a bead blasted case but with a black bezel.  As usual, Lum-Tec delivers a very densely spec'd out watch, that does not cut any corners.  The Solar Marine comes with a solar-powered movement that requires a single minute of direct sunlight to run for the day, and once it's been in direct sunlight for about 5 hours you get six months of charge.  As always you get the legendary lume application that Lum-Tec offers, there is no other company that even comes close.  This is my second solar-powered Lum-Tec and I got it for purposes of reviews before release.  The retail price will be in the $500 area, and you get the typical warranty from Lum-Tec.  I would recommend checking out the long spec sheet of the Solar Marine on their website.    

Reason For Purchase:

I always enjoy dive watches, tool watches, dive watches that are tool watches, as well as, new technology in watches. Solar-powered watches are likely going to start being more and more available and the fact that Lum-Tec jumped into this arena should give everyone a reason to consider solar-powered movements seriously. This watch comes in at about 39mm, which may be a little too small for some that are used to wearing larger profile watches.  It also comes with a NATO strap for the "military" or "tool" feel of this watch.  

The Solar Marine comes in the standard Lum-Tec white box.

Inside the white box, you get Lum-Tec's leather watch box, which has a spot for the watch and two compartments for other straps or hardware, also a sleeve for the warranty information. 

First Opinion:

The Solar Marine is a light watch, especially with the nylon NATO strap.  you can immediately tell there was a lot of attention to detail when this watch was made.  

The few most obvious and most visible features, like the double AR (anti-reflective) coating on the sapphire glass, the lume markers, and the solar panels behind the dial are very eye-catching.  I personally like the second hand having a red tip and the bezel lum marker having a red filling.

A decently sized "LT" labeled screw-down crown is the other clear feature that many people will be interested in.  The crown is sized just right and tightens to keep the water out.  It is a "dive watch" after all.

The bead blasted case does well to matte out the light, and it is aesthetically pleasing, especially in this two-tone model.

The nylon NATO strap feels like a quality strap in my hand and the hardware is bead blasted in the same color to match the case.  Aesthetically and functionally pleasing.

In The Field:

The Solar Marine keeps near perfect time, I would say it's +-0.01 over two weeks at most, even then it's barely noticeable.  The only reason I even mention it is because I set the watch against time.gov to the second  It is supposed to be a digital movement so, of course, I wanted to see how accurate it is.  I also put the watch into a dark box with no sunlight for 5 days to see if it would lose power or stop keeping time properly, only after wearing it out one day.  It did not lose time or stop ticking, I am sure it lost power but no way to gauge it without taking the case back off and using a voltmeter before and after.

Ownership and Usage:

If you are a fan of NATO straps this is a very nice strap, covering the case back and allowing you to figure out which direction you want to loop the tail of the NATO, forward to backward.  I will probably be changing the strap out as I do not prefer NATO straps, but as far as NATO's go this one is a better quality version than others on the market.  

The bezel clicks very audibly and has a similar firm feel that divers 5x have.  The lume bead in the bezel is very bright and very visible.  It compliments the dial face an the function hands very well.  The sapphire glass is very clear, no magnification, and the double AR coating is very visible when you are out in direct sunlight at the right angle.

The NATO strap held up well and does not show any signs of wear, nor does the bead blasted hardware.  Definitely designed for work.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations:

I prefer watches that are bigger, 43mm+ although some 42mm watches wear larger.  This watch comes in at 39mm, and if you prefer smaller watches with a lot of function this is probably an instant buy for you.  I would recommend you read the spec list for this watch, it has all the details that everyone who is looking for a quality tool watch would want.  Lots of really specific attention to detail that watches in the same category do not have.  While Lum-Tec ships this watch with a quality NATO, it may not be your style or speed, but it is very easy to replace a different strap, lots of different types out there to select, I think I will end up getting a black or similar color profile to the NATO nylon strap for this watch down the line.  The smaller profile helps with daily wearing, as does its weight.  Check it out on their website.