Lüm-Tec, without fail, delivers some of the most intense new watches every year. Unique, masculine and tough-as-nails, their watches have a character all to their own. We’ve taken a look at several different models over the last couple of years, including the M33, Combat and V series and are always left impressed. When we saw an early preview drawing of the 300M series, we were particularly excited by it. Not just because it is cool looking, and a bit different than other watches in their line, but also because it was available in two sizes, 40 and 45mm.
With tons of large watches flooding the market at any given moment, a 40mm tool diver stands out. The 300M series is available in a total of 4 models comprised of 2 sizes in either steel or PVD. Today, we’ll take a look at the 300M-2, which is the PVD 40mm version. Featuring a sapphire crystal and bezel, 2 straps, 300M water resistance and a Seiko Sii NH35 movement, this is the kind of over-built diver you’d expect from Lüm-Tec.
Case: PVD Steel
Movement: Seiko NH35
Lume: Yes, 2-tone
Strap: PVD Bracelet + Rubber
Water Res.: 300M
Dimensions: 40 x 48.75mm
Thickness: 14.75 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 6 x 4 mm screw down
Weight Bracelet: 7.5oz / 214g
Weight Rubber: 4.1oz / 117g
Warranty: 1 Years w/ lifetime timing adjustments
The 300M-2 immediately impresses with its solid feel and heft. The 40 x 48.5 x 14.75mm PVD steel case is built like a rock and despite being on the smaller side for a modern diver has a commanding presence. The case has a bold geometric design with long, wide, angular lugs and a cylindrical center case. Looking at the watch from above, the design is dominated by the sapphire insert bezel, which actually measures a drop wider than 40mm. At 3 is a moderately sized 6 x 4mm screw down crown that is flanked by angular crown guards.
The bezel is fairly tall, about 4mm, with wide grips running along the side, making it easy to grasp and turn. The 60-click unidirectional mechanism is of extremely good quality. It feels rigid and clicks with a very satisfying and precise snap. Flipping the watch over, you can see the screw down case back, which is does not have PVD coating. On the case back is a deep etching of the Lüm-Tec LT logo in the center encircled by various details. The case back is particularly thick on the 300M, appearing like a vault door of some kind.
The PVD on the case is deep black and is applied over a satin brushed finished. This gives the watch a slight sheen that works well with the design. There is an interesting detail on the outer edge of the lugs. Each has been beveled slightly, creating a flared flat surface along the edge. This surface has then been polished, giving the PVD a different look. It’s a nice decorative touch also gives the watch a bit a sharper and more aggressive look.
The real outstanding feature of the case is simply the build quality. It has a very solid feel that combined with the general heft of the watch is confidence inducing. I think the 40mm design adds to this as the watch literally is more compact than your typical modern tool diver, which tends to be at least 42mm in diameter. The AR coated sapphire crystal and sapphire bezel also help to create a durable package.
Lüm-Tec has a distinct bold aesthetic that they have been fine-tuning over the last few years. Their dials are usually fairly simple, with oversized markers and a contemporary sporty aesthetic. With the 300M, they’ve continued and refined this style on what I think is one of their most successful dials yet. The dial of the 300M consists of two layers, plus arguably the bezel. The lowest layer, the main dial, is matte black with a single index of bold symbols. At 3, 6 and 9 there are pyramid or arrow shaped markers with small cutouts, giving them a sense of directionality. At 12 is a larger numeral and the other markers are all large trapezoid that taper towards the center of the dial.
The markers themselves, which are all lumed, (more on that later) appear to be applied rather than printed. Whether they are just thickly applied or molded is hard to tell, but the visual result is that they have extremely crisp edges. There is a bit of text on the main dial area. Just below 12 is a Lüm-Tec logo in dark red and “MDV Technology” in dark grey. Just above 6 says 300M and automatic also in dark red and grey. Both of these colors are actually so dark that at a glance they can be ignored entirely. Given the intensity of the surrounding markers, this was a good choice at the dial would have quickly gotten too busy. Lastly, between 4 and 5 is a window for the date, which is presented as white text on a black surface.
The next layer of the dial is the chapter ring, which sits a couple of millimeters above the main dial, creating a great sense of depth. On this raised ring is a simple index of lumed squares and dark grey lines. The squares line up with the markers below, creating some continuity between the surfaces. One very cool effect of the height of this chapter ring is that it is almost level with the seconds hand. Where as normally, the seconds hand hovers above the markers, here it feels as though it points directly at the markers.
The last portion of the dial isn’t really part of the dial, it’s the bezel, but since its graphic elements integrate with the dial, it’s worth discussing at the same time. The bezel insert actually contrasts the style of the inner dial a bit, by having a slight retro aesthetic. The index consists of numerals for 15, 30 and 45 with a large dot for 60/0. There are then rectangles every 5 minutes, and a small lined for each minute up to 15. This sort of quarterly index is reminiscent of bezels from early dive watches. The contrast between the contemporary dial and the retro bezel is quite nice. They sort of balance each other out, so the watch neither feels too modern nor like a throwback.