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The Story Behind Luminox Navy Seal Watch

4 min read November 01, 2021

The Story Behind Luminox Navy Seal Watch

Luminox is a US company that was founded in 1989 by Barry Cohen (founder), and his friend Richard Timbo, where the two started to create affordable military dive watches that would be visible in low light, or no light situations.

strapcode-watch-bands-Tiny Tritium Gas Tubes

Tiny Tritium Gas Tubes ( image credit : toughtacticalwatches )

The brand name “Luminox”, is Latin words where light “Lumi”, and dark “Nox”.  They also named their unique illumination technology ‘LLT’, which stands for Luminox Light Technology that can last up to 25 years and utilizes tiny micro gas light tubes to create ultimate visibility in complete darkness. 

strapcode-watch-bands-Original Navy SEAL 43 mm

Original Navy SEAL 43 mm, Dive Watch - 3001.F ( image credit : luminox )

Throughout the years, the Luminox Watch brand continue to grow as it became more and more popular choice for their customers, known for their quality and durability, they finally had their first break through in 1992,  where they became the official watch provider for the US NAVY SEALs Team.  It was the year 1992, when Barry Cohen, meet Nick North, an officer at the time whom was in charge of procurement for the US Navy Sea, Air and Land (SEALs) teams. The two meet at a watch trade-show where Nick was tasked to source a watch that the Navy SEALs team could count on during night operations.

strapcode-watch-bands-Original Luminox Navy SEAL 43 mm

Original Luminox Navy SEAL 43 mm, Dive Watch - 3001.F ( image credit : luminox )

After testing a variety of brands in all sorts of tough weather conditions, Nick came to the conclusion that the Luminox watch stood out against every other competitor and had the best suited watch that was able to withstand all of the tests and requirements.  As a result, Luminox became the official watch provider for the Navy SEALs team.  The two organizations have been working together since.  Two years after Luminox was chosen to produce watches for the Navy SEALs, Luminox launched the timepiece in 1994 that would later make the brand famous: the Luminox 3001 Original Navy SEAL Watch.

strapcode-watch-bands-Original Original Luminox Navy SEAL 43 mm

Original Luminox Navy SEAL 43 mm, Dive Watch - 3001.F ( image credit : luminox )

The Luminox Navy Seal Watch 3000 series was the first to bring recognized use of the Navy SEALs models. Desired for high visibility gas tube tech, fully functional as a true diving watch with protected crown, uni-directional rotating bezel, and 200m water-resistance, and as resilient as they come, this collection is an excellent option for the biggest adventurers.  Since then, more and more elite units contacted the brand directly, including the U.S. Coast Guard, New York City Police Department, Singapore Air Force, Special Military Forces Israel and many other law enforcement groups.  If working with the US navy SEALs team was a major milestone in the history of Luminox  watch, the Air force was not too far behind.

strapcode-watch-bands-Luminox F-117 Nighthawk 6441 Carbonox watch

Luminox F-117 Nighthawk 6441 Carbonox + watch ( image credit : luminox )

Luminox was approached in 1999 by the Edwards Air Force base informing them that they loved the watches produced by them, and would like to have a version for use specifically during bombing missions. The requirements was to develop something specifically for them them, and not to supply or even adapt the version to the Navy.  As a result, a series of watches were developed to be used by F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter pilots. 

strapcode-watch-bands-F-117 Nighthawk 44 mm Pilot Watch-6422

F-117 Nighthawk 44 mm, Pilot Watch - 6422 ( image credit : luminox )

Since then, as the popularity for Luminox watch continue to grow, it finally made its Hollywood debut courtesy of Viggo Mortensen starring in Ridley Scott's GI Jane back in 1997.  From there, Luminox watches continue to appear in action films such as Steven Soderbergh's Ocean’s Eleven have Luminox’s upgraded model - the Original Luminox Navy Seal Watch 3901 – further screen time, courtesy of George Clooney’s wrist during a well-known heist scene.

strapcode-watch-bands-Luminox Original Navy SEAL 3901

Luminox Original Navy SEAL 3901 ( image credit : luminox )

The brand became so popular that even Hollywood’s current highest paid actor, Dwyane Johnson 'The Rock' brought the Luminox Ultimate Navy SEAL Chronograph 8301 watch back to the big screen in his 2004 thriller-drama Walking Tall.  2006 was another big year for the Luminox where they have decided to globally market their goods. 

strapcode-watch-bands-The 1523 divers watch – part of the Luminox Deep Dive Automatic Series

The 1523 divers watch – part of the Luminox Deep Dive Automatic Series ( image credit : squaremile )

Ronnie and Andre Bernheim – owners of Swiss watch manufacturer, Mondaine Watch Ltd– decided to utilize their extensive experience of the Swiss watchmaking industry and head across the pond, acquiring half of the Luminox company shares back in 2006. Their experience of global brand building, coupled with their strong distributor relationships, enabled Luminox to reach its next level and become an internationally-recognized watch manufacturer.  In 2016, the Bernheim brothers reached to an agreement with founder of Luminox, Barry Cohen, to buy out his shares of the business.

strapcode-watch-bands-Ronnie and Andre Bernheim Barry Cohen

Ronnie and Andre Bernheim have reached an agreement with Barry Cohen to purchase the rest of his shares in Luminox ( image credit : luminox )

The brothers now own the entire Luminox company, as well as its associated American distribution company Lumondi, Inc.  In that same year, Luminox became an official licensing partner of the Navy SEALs, formalizing the agreement put in place back in 1992. As such, two generations of SEALs have now chosen Luminox as their watches of choice, solidifying the relationship between the watchmaker and the military service.  It’s safe to say that the success and future for Luminox watch will continue to grow and prosper with limitless possibilities. 

strapcode-watch-bands-The 1523 divers watch – part of the Luminox Deep Dive Automatic Series

The 1523 divers watch – part of the Luminox Deep Dive Automatic Series ( image credit : squaremile )

With today’s technology advancing by the day, fans of Luminox watch will certainly be looking forward to the company’s latest products.  For those who are looking to replace their Luminox watch bands, be sure to visit our online store and check out our collections of watchbands that we think maybe of interest to you.    


Written by Sam , images by others as noted

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