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Lüm-Tec Combat B16 + Super Combat B2: Part 1

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Articles | 02.15.2012

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The Lüm-Tec Combat B16 and Super Combat B2 watches clearly have a lot in common. They are part of the same series, have basically the same case design in terms of looks, and have similar styling that speaks to a military aesthetic. But there are many subtle differences that give the two watches very different personalities, from the materials they are made of, to the movements that power them to simply how they wear. Fortunately Chris Wiegand, the CEO of Lüm-Tec, has given us the opportunity to look at, wear and examine both watches, simultaneously. So, this review will work a bit differently than our typical reviews. Today, we are presenting you with two independent first impressions of the watches, one by Zach and the other by Blake. The final review, however, will be an in depth side-by-side look at the watches, comparing and contrasting them by each feature and detail.

Both the Combat B16 and Super Combat B2 arrived in identical packaging.  Inside of a white cardboard box (labeled with serial number) is a certificate of authenticity and the wooden case containing the watch.  The case itself is sturdy, and features space not only for the watch itself, but also for the extra straps that it comes with and additional documentation (user manual and warranty).  The case is made of wood with a faux wood laminate on the exterior, and the on the interior you’ll find a soft white cotton material throughout.  All told, the packaging of the Lum-Tecs may not knock you off your feet, but should serve more than sufficient for long-term storage of the watches.

Super Combat B2, by Zach

The Lüm-Tec Super Combat B2 is the top-of-the-line model in the Combat B line of watches. Sporting a larger 45mm Titanium case, gunmetal PVD, an elaboré grade Unitas 6498-1 and a steeper price tag, it takes the Combat B concept into different and interesting territory. We first became aware of the Super Combat B2 well before its release, as Lüm-Tec is prone to releasing teasers and hosting pre-sales well before a release date. And like many others, we have been eagerly waiting for a chance to get our hands on one. Though Lüm-Tec has many lines of exciting watches, if there were one that is the icon of the brand, in my eyes, it’s the Combat line. With a rugged and aggressive case that at once brings to mind classic military and modern stealth aesthetics and dial designs that are clean and purposeful, the Combat line manages to cut through the fray of military inspired watches and stand alone. So, take that already successful design and beef it up a bit, put a world-class Swiss movement inside, label it super, and you are going to have something special on your hands.

And let me tell you, when you first lay your eyes on it, nestled in the deluxe box they ship it in, you wont be disappointed. The gunmetal PVD is striking, and unlike any other PVD coatings I have seen in person. It is several shades lighter than black, giving the watch almost an aged look, that sets off the deep black of the dial. Then the dial design itself is a thing of beauty. The large 12, 3 and 9 markers, which are made of pure lume, jump out at you, as the rest of the markings maintain a very elegant and balanced layout. The overall size of the dial is very well proportioned to the new 45mm case, and the whole thing just looks tight and well considered, no outlying markings or unnecessary decorations; it is just a solid, masculine and purposeful design. Not to mention the beautiful coin-edge bezel that really distinguishes the Combat line.

The B2 is remarkably light, especially for a 45mm, thanks to the all titanium case, and it is also proportionally thin at 12mm.  As is to be expected, the build quality is outstanding, showing no irregularities and good tolerances where parts meet. Winding the B2 up for the first time is a memorable pleasure and further confirms the build. The screwdown crown grips nicely, unscrews smoothly and the cranking sensation of the Unitas is extremely satisfying. Flipping the watch over you can see the decorated Unitas movement, which has polished gears, Geneva stripes and blued screws.

The Super Combat B2 comes with 3 straps, a water resistant leather pilot style strap and 2 heavy weight Natos. The watch came with the leather strap installed, and I unfortunately have to say that I am not a big fan. It looks nice on the watch, but the texture is fairly synthetic and more importantly, it just doesn’t sit well on the wrist. This is due to the 2 screw/rivets that are near the lug ends of the strap. They prevent the straps from flexing, creating this sort of straight drop away from the lugs. The end result is that it both digs into my wrist bone and wont sit straight on the top of my wrist. Given the price tag, I did expect more. Sure the watch comes with two of the most rugged and sturdy Natos I have ever seen, both of which look great on the watch, but those cost next to nothing, so a nicer and more supple leather would have been good to see.  That being said, after changing the strap, the watch wears wonderfully. It has a lot of wrist presence, is comfortable for a large watch and just looks great.

Combat B16 by Blake

The Combat B16 is pure stealth, from its jet black bead blasted PVD finish to its utilitarian dial.  Most striking is the B16’s case, which is a deep, deep black that has the feel of a very well machined piece of equipment (which it is).   Adding to the military aesthetic of the B16 is its simple and very legible dial.  All of the markings  and hands are a clean white, which really pops in contrast to the B16’s black case.  Inside the B16’s 43mm case is a Miyota 9015 automatic movement, which features 28,800 vibrations per hour, resulting in a smooth sweep of the large second hand.  Taking into consideration the B16’s smaller size, more simple and stealthy styling and automatic movement, you begin to see the considerable difference between it and the more elaborate Super Combat B2.

Like the B2, the B16 comes with three straps, two NATO and one molded rubber strap.  As Zach described, the two NATO’s provided with the B series watches are of outstanding quality.  They feel sturdy and well constructed and the hardware matches perfectly to the watch case.  The coloring of the NATO’s is also quite nice, with both the black and green being rich and vibrant.  However, the molded rubber strap that accompanies the B16 is the real winner of the bunch.  Unlike many other rubber straps, this unique offering from Lum-Tec is molded specifically to fit the Combat B series of watches.  The portion of the strap that connects to the watch case is slightly more rigged than the rest of the strap and is molded to fit the contours of your wrist.  The remaining majority of the strap is flexible, just like any other, allowing for a custom fit to any wrist size.  What this adds up to is a remarkably comfortable wear that seems custom fit to your wrist.

With or without the molded rubber strap, the B16 wears very nicely.  The feel of the watch is quite comfortable on the wrist, and the weight is as you would expect from a watch of this size.  Its 43mm case provides a bit more presence than other comparably sized watches however, due in large part to the jet black case.

We’ll come back with our side-by-side in a few weeks, where we will get into all of the nitty gritty details, such as that tell-tale Lüm-Tec lume.