So, I’m ready to book my flight into space and all I need is a watch and $100k. I know what you’re thinking. I need the Omega Speedmaster, a Breitling Navitimer or even a Russian Poljot. (I also need the cash, but let’s focus on watches.) Well, Luminox wants you to buy their SXC PC Carbon GMT. Luminox and XCOR Space Expeditions teamed up to create a family of “Space” watches. Luminox wants to sell you the watch; XCOR wants to sell you a ride into space.
My first impression of the Luminox SXC was its color and weight. The dark gray polycarbonate case feels like a toy, but the carbon reinforced polymers are extremely rugged. You might have seen through the same bulletproof material at a bank teller window. When you see this watch case, think: high impact and low scratch. What the watch lacks in heft (It weighs a little more than an egg at 64 grams.), it makes up in size. The case is 45.5mm wide and 15mm thick. It still does not feel imposing on the wrist, though. The case lugs curve sharply from the bezel to hold the gray rubber strap closely to the wrist. The strap’s buckle is gunmetal stainless steel and has the Luminox logo. The case sits high on the wrist, but this shape hugs it nicely.
The dial is protected by a hardened mineral crystal and comes in four different dial designs in the gray case. I chose the dial with the yellow second timezone hour hand (model A.5021). The bidirectional bezel has the numeric markers evenly spaced from 2 to 24 in a white type that contrasts nicely with the gray bezel. It’s not too bright and not too dark. The next inner ring from the bezel is the home of the minute markers. Inside that ring is the over-sized, white Arabic numerals at 2,4, 6, 8, 10 and 12. These hour markers are whiter and brighter than the 24-hour markers on the bezel and offer a sharper level of contrast between the two rings.
The innermost center ring on the Luminox SXC is the base dial and holds the Luminox logo, a series of small 24-hour numbers marking the second time-zone hand and finally the GMT and SXC logos. The GMT hand is a yellow, broad arrow and clearly points the way to your second time zone of interest.The hour and minute hands are aluminum brackets holding the light tubes that promise to give away 25 years’ worth of light. Since the Luminox was founded in 1993, that promise is now being tested by the early adopters of their watches.
The luminescence is placed in two areas on the watch. It’s on the hands and above the hour marks. An “ice blue” glow is only above the 12 o’clock position and on the yellow second time zone hand, while the white glow is only above the other eleven hour markers and numerals and on the hour and minute hands. The seconds hand is brushed aluminum and doesn’t dare compete with the yellow or have any luminescence. It’s important to note that the numerals do not glow at all. I was expecting a little more “lum” from a watch whose company name comes from the Latin roots for lumi, which means light, and nox for night. Still, it’s visible in the dark, but not so bright you can use it to find your glasses by the bed.
The movement in the Luminox SXC is a tried and true quartz Swiss Ronda 515 with second time zone and a hack set and date function. This prolific movement is in many quartz-powered watches that make up the $500 watch market. If you’re trying to set a space endurance record without bringing an extra battery for this watch, you have 60 months before you need to replace it according to the technical specifications.
There is nothing fancy about the polycarbonate case back of the Luminox SXC other than the Space Expedition Corporation logo, but the stainless steel crown has some nice vertical flutings on it and a ring grooved on the end to give your fingernail a catch. It has a double-security gasket on the crown which partly enables its 200 meters of water resistance. Luminox did a nice job working the logos onto the buckle and the strap which also includes a few stars and a simple graphic of SXC’s spacecraft design.
Overall, this is a comfortable watch with a usable second time zone function. It’s utility as a casual watch is clear even though it is billed to the amature astronaut market, a small niche right now, I bet. I think the weekend warrior would get more use out of this than your Ed White wannabe. The overall value seems in line with the other models offered by Luminox. luminox.com
- Brand & Model: Luminox SXC PC Carbon GMT Model A.5021
- Price: $495
- Who we think it might be for: This is perfect for the guy who wants another sports watch in the all-black style and has the large wrist to put it on and pull if off.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: I’m an avid space history fan and am not easily swayed by the marketing. I’d prefer the more simple versions in the other family of watches.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I’d probably consider a screw down back since this one looks a little too cheap. I think I’d also add more luminescence to the dial.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: I really liked the striking yellow second time zone hand.
- Movement (technology): Ronda 515 second time zone with special HH Quartz
- Size of case diameter (mm):45.50
- Height of case:15mm
- Weight: 64g
- Case material: 30% Carbon reinforced polycarbonate
- Case Back: 10% Carbon reinforced polycarbonate
- Crown: 316L stainless steel IP black
- Crystal/Glass material: Hardened mineral
- Water resistance (m/ft/atm): 200 / 660 / 20
- Strap/Bracelet material: Rubber / Silicone
- Illumination: Night Vision Tubes (25 years)
Watch provided by Levy’s Fine Jewelry