As I mentioned in yesterday’s article, we’re in a bit of a golden period with solar-powered watches. Sure, they’ve been around for quite some time, but there are just a number of them popping up on my radar lately. One of the brightest students to arrive at my desk lately was the Lum-Tec Vortex D5.

Of course, we know Lum-Tec for their amazing lume applications, but the Lum-Tec Vortex D5 shows they’re not afraid to be bright in the daylight, with a healthy dose of lime green. Then again, for a watch that’s powered by the light, having a design that likes to show off in the daytime just makes sense. If you’re the sort that likes to cycle through different watches, you really don’t have to worry about the VS42A movement running down. Let it sit in the sun for a minute, and it’ll run for a day; give it five hours, and you’re set with a 6-month power reserve. For me, that means if I’m not wearing a watch regularly, it just gets to sit in the window sill for a day, and it’s good to go.

Then again, a watch like the Lum-Tec Vortex D5 is meant to be worn. The 42mm steel case has a PVD coating on it to help it keep looking good, and comes in at just 12mm thick; with the curved lugs, it’s ready to fit your wrist snugly. As it comes on the NATO strap, it does stand up from your wrist a bit, but you could easily fit a two-piece strap into the 22mm lugs for a snugger fit.

Whatever strap is on the Lum-Tec Vortex D5, it fits the profile that I like for a solar-powered watch. By that, I mean it’s rough and tough piece that’s ready for whatever you’re doing (me, it tends to be my yard work watch). With the PVD on the bead-blasted case, it should keep looking sharp. Mix in the 200m WR rating (no doubt helped by the screw-down crowns) and you’re set in case you fall into the river while you’re out on a hike.

On top, you’ve got a sapphire crystal (again, helping protect the watch) letting the UV rays through to the solar panels, and you’ve got dual crowns over on the side. The lower crown of the Lum-Tec Vortex D5 is what you use to set the time (so, you’re not going to be using it that often, given the quartz will just run and run and run). The upper crown, which also screws down, is how you set the internal 120-click timing bezel. Internal bezels can make a watch look thicker, but it does make for a much smoother top surface (and no accidental bumps and adjustments once you’ve got it locked in).

While it would be pretty slick for the twisted coin-edge bezel to be used to set the internal timing, that would be quite an engineering feat, and no doubt a nightmare to seal for the water resistance. And frankly, with a watch like the Lum-Tec Vortex D5, you just want it to work. I mean, why else would you pick up a solar quartz watch? No worries about batteries running down, having to reset the time, and all that good stuff. As I’ve said before, the ultimate in set it and forget it.

On the wrist, I found the Lum-Tec Vortex D5 to be very comfortable. While it’s got beefy looks, it certainly does not feel that terribly heavy on the wrist, and it fit my wrist quite well. Again, that NATO-style strap does have it stand off a bit more, but it does give you the extra security layer should a spring bar give out. Then again, with a watch as boldly styled as this one, you’re looking for at the looks.

Within the wider Lum-Tec catalog, the Lum-Tec Vortex line reminds me of their B line, given the case shape and the coin edge bezel. Here, of course, you’ve got a much different dial design, and a variety of bright colors available. Frankly, it looks and feels like a watch that’s perfect for summer adventures. Or hey, why not strap it on outside your jacket sleeve as you go sledding or skiing? In other words, it’ll be ready for whatever you’re doing outside, and put a smile on your face with the color combos (day or night). Really want to up the game? Perhaps pick up a strap that has some luminous thread stitched in there as well.

Whatever color of the Lum-Tec Vortex that you go for, they’re running $585. This makes it a higher-end solar quartz watch, and Lum-Tec is known for their excellent build quality as much as their lume applications. And should something go sideways, you’ve got a 2-year warranty and their facilities in Ohio waiting to make things right. Check out the whole lineup over at lum-tec.com

Tech Specs from Lum-Tec

  • Solar powered VS42A movement from Japan
  • Just 1 minute of sunlight produces a full day of power
  • 6 months power reserve on full charge (5 hours sunlight)
  • 316L Surgical grade Stainless Steel case
  • 42mm case width / 22mm lug width
  • 48mm lug to lug length with curved lug profile
  • 12mm case thickness
  • Internal rotating 120 click luminous diver bezel operated via crown@2:00
  • 200 Meters water resistance
  • Military grade Titanium Carbide gunmetal tone PVD hard coating
  • Bead blast finish for extra durability
  • Screw down crown with double Viton® seals
  • Semi-transparent solar dial
  • 2-tone glow X1 grade Super-Luminova with MDV technology
  • Premium, diamond-cut hands with X1 grade Super-Luminova
  • Solid, 316L Stainless Steel threaded caseback with Viton seals
  • Curved double dome sapphire
  • Military grade polarized double side anti-reflective coating
  • Anti-shock movement mounting system
  • Military style strap with matched gunmetal PVD hardware
  • Free lifetime pressure testing and seal cleaning
  • Two year limited warranty
  • Designed, assembled by hand and fully tested in Ohio 

By Patrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.

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