Review | Luminox F-117 Nighthawk EVO
A matt black cardboard slip (branded with the Luminox shield) protects the watch box. Sliding this out, the attention to detail is immediately evident. The square box, finished to match the slip, with a neat carbon-fibre effect panel embossed to the top and the manufacturers logo embellished onto this. Sandwiched between the hinged lid and base is a flash of bright red and on opening, the watch is presented on a soft black cushion. Luminox is imprinted to the inside of the lid and you’ll find a small instruction manual (in a range of languages) and warranty card. Considering the aeronautical connections (more of which and on) it would have be a nice touch to feature some literature about this military association and some brief detail about the F-117 stealth jet to which this watch is so closely linked.
The Luminox F-117 Nighthawk EVO (Series 6400). Far more than an aviation timepiece in name only - it is the watch that Lockheed Martin presents to Stealth Fighter pilots, in association with Luminox. Or so the press release would have you believe, at least.
To the casual observer and particularly on the rubber strap rather than bracelet, it appears to be plastic or resin based. However, on closer inspection and certainly on handling, it soon becomes apparent that we're looking at a robust metal watch of considerable weight. It is a large watch, at 45mm at it's widest point and some 13mm deep; constructed from stainless steel, hidden behind a layer of brushed black PVD, which lends a deep lustre to its finish.
Physical Vapour Disposition (PVD) - the chemical process which provides the F-117 watch with a stealthy appearance of its own - much like its nemesis of the same name - offers good protection against minor scratches and scuffs and certainly it is resilient in every day use. In a military setting or with hard abuse it may soon gain its own battle scars however, as that smooth inky black surface reveals the shiny silver of stainless steel beneath.
PVD is not to be confused with the more expensive DLC - the diamond like coating that a handful of luxury watch manufacturers (think Tudor, Bell & Ross and Bamford for Rolex as examples) also use to provide a Teflon-like coating to their range. DLC is extremely resilient and as it suggests, would be difficult to scratch under all but the most extreme circumstances.
Luminox watches are an American brand but Swiss Made and the initial appearance is certainly positive. A simple design (as one would expect), with clear white markers on the dial, the time in 12-hour format and 24-hour as a sub-reading. Centrally placed, below the 12 o'clock position, a red and white Luminox logo, with the model designation of the watch and an indication of the water resistance (to 200metres), above the 6 o'clock position. The date window is located at 3 o'clock and is easy to read with black text on white and of course, the dial also includes that coveted Swiss Made trademark below the 6 o'clock position.
The sword hour and minute hands are prominent, finished in white and highlighted at night with a clear strip of green lume. And the second-hand, a pointed arrow which is lumed at its tip, falls precisely and indeed centrally onto each marker, unlike some other quartz watches of considerably higher value.
The divers unidirectional bezel turns with a positive, reassuring click. The numbers (from 1 to 11) stamped in to this are also extremely legible, finished in bright white and with no further markings between them, to complicate matters. The markers on the bezel are not lumed but the 12 o'clock position is indicated by a pip of green lume, surrounded by a circle of silver stainless steel.
The F-117 is quartz rather than automatic and the battery is expected to last for five years - so a considerable duration before it requires replacement.
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