In the industry that measures time, longevity is often a testament of success. However, a strong design and build can rally a ravenous following in short order, as well. Such is the case with LÜM-TEC who, only a year after its introduction, is making waves. Big waves. We’re talking the kind of waves you get when the fat guy launches a cannonball from the springboard. While it’s too early to tell if they’ll be able to maintain this momentum and last into the next century, one this is for certain: LÜM-TEC has a recipe for success and the Gear Patrol Crew likes what they’re cooking.
Gear Patrol first introduced LÜM-TEC to readers back in May. Since then, we’ve been patiently waiting until just a few weeks ago to get our hands on the 2009 Combat B2 for review. Opening the UPS package, the B2 comes in a nice, white LÜM-TEC box. Inside, the watch was complete with instructions, warranty card, and certificate of authenticity. The overall presentation is excellent. It’s not triple-boxed like a Panerai, but the watch isn’t $4,000 either. Attention to the small details are easy to overlook when trying to control costs, and we’re glad to see that not happen here. An appropriate and classy presentation is something that anyone can appreciate.
Hit the jump for more detailed impressions and photos.
Our initial impressions were extremely positive. The Combat B2 itself is 43mm of 316L stainless steel and is finished with a super smooth, bead blasted PVD. That’s a stealthy black finish worthy of the B2 moniker. The watch features thick sapphire crystal and is powered by a 21 Jewel SII JAPAN NH25A11J automatic movement made by Seiko. The B2 also features a threaded case back, stamped with watch ID, serial number, and LÜM-TEC logo; the B2 is rated to 100 meters/330 feet of water resistance. For the strap, LÜM-TEC pairs the B2 with a leather riveted pilot strap and finishes it off with LÜM-TEC stamped on the matching PVD coated tang.
For the ’09 B2, LÜM-TEC updated the design and uses a their new GX MDV® (Maximum Darkness Visibility) dial. This consists of a special 8 layer application of Superluminova over a white chemical base. The new dial is sharp, easy to read, and with the lume fully charged is one brightest this editor has ever seen. LÜM-TEC also treats the sapphire crystal to not one but 2 double sided anti-reflective coatings, an essential for glare-free viewing.
After a few short weeks of wear, the Combat B2 has rocketed up our watch rotation. The watch is lightweight and once the leather strap is broken in, extremely comfortable. Even considering our strap fetish, we haven’t found the desire to start swapping them out… yet. The B2 sitting on your wrist is a dark-haired raven with hypnotic green eyes beckoning you to stare at her. Especially after basking in bright sun and unlike our 44mm Panerai 111, the B2 wears smaller than its stated 43mm, which is a good thing. The slim profile prevents us banging it around all over the place and we can even manage to get it under our shirt cuffs, too.
You’d expect high quality, limited run, 100% assembled in the USA watches to run easily into $1,000s but the Combat B2 is reasonably priced at $795 and was available for only $595, if you pre-reserved. The watch is both rugged and effortless in beauty, all at the same time. It grew on us so much that we often found ourselves reaching for it even when going out for a night on the town. Without a doubt, LÜM-TEC has turned the Gear Patrol Crew into fans and we can’t wait to see what else they’re cooking.
Editor’s Note: The entire 2008 series sold out and a good portion of their 2009 line is already gone, too. Our B2 was 38/150 and that was days after release. Better head over fast if you don’t want to wait until 2010.