Lüm-Tec is a brand we’ve been following since we first started w&w. Their mix of bold design, moderate prices and focus on listening to their customer’s desires (they are very active on forums, regularly taking comments and criticism from members regarding design) makes them a unique brand. In their ever growing line of mechanical and quartz watches you wont find any direct clones of larger luxury brands, but rather a refreshing array of distinct designs that takes hints from here and there. Previously, we’ve reviewed their M33 chronograph, a phantom style quartz that is solid as a rock, and two of their higher end mechanical watches, the Combat B16 and Super B2, both of which left a lasting impression. Now, we are taking a look at one of their newest watches, the V6.
Case: Stainless Steel w/ Black & Rose Gold PVD
Movement: Miyota 9015
Dial: Black and Rose Gold
Lume: MDV Technology
Lens: Sapphire with A/R coating
Strap: Black Leather + Rubber
Water Res.: 100m
Thickness: 13.5 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 7.5 x 4 mm screw down
Warranty: 1 year, lifetime adjustments
The V series of watches is not like anything else the brand makes, or anything else in the sub-$1000 price range that we are aware of. Featuring a dramatic case design, sapphire crystals front and back, a Miyota 9015 movement (some of the earlier V series watches have ETA 2824-2’s) and Lüm-Tec’s MDV technology, these are watches to be reckoned with. The V6 takes the series to another level by adding a two-tone PVD case of black and rose gold. The mix of coatings is provocative to say the least, elevating the watch to a different level.
Clearly, the center of attention on the V6 is the case design and finish. The non-traditional octagonal body is fairly large measuring 44 x 51 x 13.5mm. Lüm-Tec lists the diameter as 44mm, which is true, but doesn’t include the crown guard, which ups the size to 47mm. While large, the design looks and wears a bit smaller due to elongated shape and mix of colors. The case shape itself is a complex and hard to describe form, full of shifting facets and sudden curves. It’s sharp and geometric design is distinct, though when mixed with the two-tone PVD coatings and contrasting hex bolts around the bezel, begins to hint at luxury watches such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Off Shore and Hublot Big Bang.
Shape aside; the real focal point is the mix of black and rose gold PVD. Lüm-Tec did a great job of implementing the colors, using black for the bezel and crown and rose gold for the bulk of the case. The two colors go to together impossibly well, creating a rich palette that when mixed with the bulky case, creates a very masculine look. Not that rose gold is inherently feminine, far from it, but it does tend to lean towards elegant and formal designs. On the V6 it has a more raw presence that contrasts with the black PVD to create something bold and dynamic. While less rugged than some of their other designs, the V6 certainly isn’t a dress watch, but rather a sport watch with an added touch of refinement.
Emphasizing the use of PVDs is a clever mix of finishes. Starting with the bezel, the top surface is brushed, and the sides are polished. Then the top of the case is brushed though the crown guards are accented with a polished finish. Flipping the watch over, once again the watch is primarily brushed though the bevels at either side are polished. What this does for the case is embellish the unique geometrical design and give it a more dramatic appearance. The attention to detail and quality of the finishing also adds value to the overall package.
The case back itself is a stainless steel ring around a sapphire window. It would have been nice for this piece to have been black as well, but it’s not a deal breaking detail by any means. The Miyota 9015 24-jewel automatic movement inside has a touch of finishing in the form of Cotes de Geneve on the plate under the rotor. While not a superbly finished movement, it’s nice enough to look at, and regardless, is a robust movement that we are happy to see implemented.
Every watch in the V series has the same dial design, but with varying colors. It’s a simple design with an emphasis on large and legible markers and geometric forms that reflect the design of the case. The dial of the V6 is matte black with a single index consisting of very large 12 and 6 numerals and a series of trapezoidal markings all made primarily of lume layered on a rose gold applied marker. The use of the rose gold marker is a nice touch as it adds an occasional glimmer to the dial, as well as emphasizes the colors of the case. At 4.5 is a circular date-window with a rose gold edge. The date is presented in white on black, as to not disrupt the dial. I did find that the small diameter window created a shadow that cast over the date. While this does not prevent the date from being read, it is a bit of a distraction.
The dial of the V6 is set very deep and Lüm-Tec decided to use this to their advantage by adding an index to the internal bezel / chapter ring. The index here corresponds to the dial index, but with minute/second numerals in intervals of 10 from 10 – 60. Alternating with the numerals are large square or trapezoidal markers. While I like that Lüm-Tec used this area as its steep sloped sides create an interesting sense of depth and motion when looking directly at the dial, I think the design itself just misses. First, the numerals and markings are very heavy and lack the finesse that the rest of the watch has. Second, the numerals and markings are a chartreuse / pea green color that one would expect to be due to lume material, however, there is no lume present. Since that is the case, the color doesn’t really add anything to the design. Lastly, it just has a bit of a plastic-y look to it that belies the rich materials present in the case. I would have expected a metal insert such as that of the Rolex Sea-Dweller models. That being said, this is just my opinion and certainly would not be true for everyone.
The hour and minute hands on the V6 are primarily lume with a thin rose gold boundary. They have a truncated roman-sword shape that is bold and works well with the case and dial design. The second hand is a simple lumed stick. The main index of the dial and the hands all glow very brightly and with a good duration as one would expect from a Lüm-Tec watch.
Straps and Wearability
The V6 comes with 2 straps and 3 buckles. Out of the box, the V6 has a black leather aviator style strap as can be noted from the step-down taper design (which goes from 22 – 18mm) and the screw located just below the lug. This is the same style strap that came on the Super Combat B2 we reviewed before, though I did not find I had comfort issues with it this time around. The stitching and screw have been colored to match the rose gold of the case, which makes the strap fit nicely with the watch. The somewhat geometric shape of the strap also reinforces the case design. The strap comes with a rose gold PVD thumbnail buckle mounted on it, but the watch also come with a nicely designed deployment clasp. The deployment has a more unique form that reflects the case better and thus ties everything together. It is nice, however, to have both buckles available.
The other option is a standard matte black Lüm-Tec brand rubber strap with a rose gold pre-v buckle. I really liked how the matter black played off of the brushed and polished finishes in the case, adding yet another textural element to the design. The rubber also adds an edgier and sportier feel to the watch, which never hurts. This is the same style strap that came with the M33 we reviewed and as was the case then, I found it very comfortable. I do wish, however, that they would come out with a custom molded strap for the V series, much like they did for the Combat B’s. A form-fitting strap would continue the line of the bezel around the wrist and make the whole thing even more striking. Regardless, this rubber strap is a great option to have especially if you plan on wearing the watch in or around water, as the 100m water resistance would allow you to.
On the wrist, the watch wears smaller and more comfortably than one might expect from the size. The shape of the case is more ergonomic than it appears, conforming to the wrist well. The relatively thin case, proportionally, also aids in the comfort. Visually, the geometry and two-tone coloring combine for a very bold look. That being said, the watch is less ostentatious than it would seem, as the black bezel gives a false sense of a smaller watch. In my opinion, this is a good thing as the design alone has more than enough presence without needing to be large.
With the V6, Lüm-Tec demonstrates once again that they are capable of pursuing a unique direction in the affordable watch market. Sticking with their generally aggressive and masculine aesthetic, yet introducing some interesting “precious” materials into the mix. The winning aspect of this watch is the gorgeous case. Not only is the form intriguing and distinct, the two-tone PVD is genuinely striking and the mix of finishing adds a level of detail previously unseen in their line. I do wish that they will try some different and subtler dials on models in the near future and try to work the internal bezel area into the overall aesthetic a bit better. That being said, the look of the V6 is different and appealing in its own right. At $895 the watch isn’t cheap, but the finishing, components and build quality speak to the cost, as does Lüm-Tec’s customer service commitment.
Review unit supplied by Lüm-Tec
by Zach Weiss