Luminox Bear Grylls Survival MASTER Series 3745 Watch | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Luminox Bear Grylls Survival MASTER Series 3745 Watch | Review

Bear Grylls’ survival weapon of choice, this big, bold and burly tool watch draws on Bear’s unique brand of high-octane adventure in its striking looks and rugged build

Since it was established back in 1989, Luminox has built a solid reputation for crafting robust tool watches. They’re particularly popular with the US military, having released a dedicated Navy SEALs range in the line-up. They’ve also forged intriguing and successful collaborations with the Icelandic Search and Rescue Association, as well as American explorer and diver Scott Cassell. In 2020, however, the brand announced a new high-profile partnership with TV adventurer Bear Grylls, launching a capsule collection of survival watches designed for active outdoor use.

“As an all-round adventure watch, this does the job extremely well.”

The current line-up includes Sea, Land and Master models, each designed to excel in different environments. Though cynics might view this as little more than a branding exercise, that would be unfair. We’re told that the project was a true collaboration, with many design elements coming from Bear himself. He tested all the watches in the field during the production process and several design tweaks were made as a result of his feedback.

Our pick of the bunch is the Luminox Bear Grylls Survival Master, and luckily that happened to be the one we got our hands on. It’s a big and bold tri-compax chronograph with striking looks and a feature-laden design.

Who is the Luminox Bear Grylls Survival MASTER Series Watch For?

It’s a large and purposeful watch with plenty of personality, so it seems well-suited to those who love a bit of high-adrenaline adventure. But the rugged build, technologically advanced materials and survival-focused features will also appeal to a variety of outdoorsy types, from ultralight gear nerds to weekend bushcrafters.

Photo: Luminox

As a wrist accessory, it’s also a real attention grabber, particularly this version, with its striking yellow dial and contrast orange crown. Not one for those who are afraid to make a statement, or proudly proclaim their adventure credentials.

Materials

The case and rotating bezel are both made from Luminox’s proprietary CARBONOX material, a mix of compressed carbon fibre and resin not dissimilar to the latest G-Shock Carbon Core Guard. Luminox’s compound is six times lighter than steel and three times lighter than titanium, whilst also being anti-allergenic and anti-magnetic with strong chemical resistance. On the wrist, it feels warmer than steel in low temperatures, and cooler in warm temperatures. Just about the ideal material for a survival watch that might see duty in extreme environments then.

The crown and chrono pushers are stainless steel, though the crown is also fitted with easy grip knurling in high-contrast orange rubber. This makes it easy to unscrew and adjust, even when wearing gloves. The screw-down caseback is also stainless steel. This ensures an impressive water resistance rating of 300 metres.

Photo: Luminox

The dial features Luminox’s signature self-powered tritium tube illuminating technology, which offers superior visibility even in pitch black conditions compared to luminescent paint. The dial is protected by a premium sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating.

This watch comes on a two-piece black 24mm rubber strap that is supple and comfortable yet reasonably tough and tear-resistant too. It is also fitted with a removable in-line button compass.

Dimensions

Photo: Matt Jones

This watch is 45mm wide and 14mm thick, so it’s pretty chunky, as is the broad 24mm rubber strap, with its protruding button compass. Angled lugs help to reduce its overall wrist profile, but it is still a hefty timepiece. Then again, it’s designed for brawny survivalist types, so if you have larger wrists, it’ll sit comfortably.

Despite its relatively large proportions, the watch isn’t heavy. In fact, at a mere 89g, it’s surprisingly light, especially compared to a stainless-steel brute like the Victorinox INOX. That’s down to the Carbonox case, which is a real weight saver that makes the Luminox extremely wearable as a versatile adventure companion.

Features

The dial of this particular model is bright yellow, with twin black sub-dials, plus a third yellow sub-dial and a black date window positioned at 6 o’clock. There’s lots going on, so it all feels quite busy, but for those who like a feature-laden watch, there are plenty of small details to study and enjoy. And despite the visual clutter, clarity of the hands is good – it’s easy to tell the time at a glance. The vibrant dial provides a good contrast to the darker hour and minute hands, which are brushed steel with a black-tipped finish and Tritium inserts.

Photo: Luminox

The seconds hand has actually been moved to a sub-dial at three o’clock while its original spot is occupied by the chronograph hand, activated by the top pusher. The sub-dials at six and nine o’clock then display the chronograph’s elapsed hours and minutes respectively. There’s also a circular date window at the bottom of the dial. Every alternate hour marker is illuminated at night via a Tritium tube, as are the hands and the bezel pip.

The bezel itself is a 60-click unidirectional design, which moves crisply and has no play. It’s marked with 60-second numerals as well as 360-degree compass bearings. At the edge of the dial the cardinal compass directions are also displayed, though these are fixed.

Bear Grylls branding on this particular watch is actually relatively understated, particularly compared to some of the more logo and slogan-heavy models. It’s there if you look for it – the stainless steel caseback does have Bear’s ‘Never Give Up’ motto engraved alongside Bear Grylls’ name, logo and signature. The same mantra and logo also appear on the dial, but they’re fairly unobtrusive.

Movement

The watch is powered by a Swiss-made, Ronda 5030.D quartz movement for long battery life (depending on how often you use the chronograph), accuracy and reliability. It’s likely to be far more robust than a mechanical movement too.

Conclusion

As an all-round adventure watch, this does the job extremely well. It’s rugged, reliable and offers fantastic legibility in the dark thanks to the vivid glow of the Tritium luminescent technology, which doesn’t rely on being charged by the sun to work effectively.

Photo: Luminox

In fact, that’s our favourite feature, and what sets it apart from most others. There aren’t too many watch brands who use Tritium – along with Luminox, only Traser, Ball and Nite are widely available – but it’s a bit of tech that works brilliantly. If you were going night-hiking, caving or just had to be up early for an alpine start, this is the first watch we’d grab.

This model also has the added appeal of a chronograph function for precise timekeeping, which is undeniably useful. Then there’s the button compass, which for us is a bit of gimmick. It won’t replace a proper baseplate compass, but in an emergency situation could come in handy (though bona fide adventurers should know how to use a standard watch dial to find compass directions too). But in short, if you’re looking to invest in a solid piece of wristwear for all your outdoor adventures, Bear and Luminox have teamed up to create just the timepiece for you.

It’s a collaboration that makes a lot of sense, and we don’t just mean in commercial terms. Although Bear Grylls is an occasionally divisive figure in the survival/bushcraft community, his brand instantly evokes fun and adventure, with an earnest appreciation for grit and determination that is hard not to admire, even if grudgingly. This intentionally overbuilt and eye-catching watch is the perfect example of that in action, and results in a genuinely rugged watch. Put it this way: after a few months of adventures in the outdoors, roaming the hills and mountains of Snowdonia – including a winter ascent of a snow-covered Cadair Idris – the Luminox Bear Grylls Survival Master was still ticking along happily, with little evidence of any wear and tear.

Priced at £865, it’s available from Luminox UK. That is expensive, especially for a quartz watch, but it’s a unique piece, and we don’t think you’d be disappointed if you did decide to splurge.

Specifications

Price: £865 / Carbonox case and bezel with steel crown and pushers / Stainless steel case back / Swiss quartz movement / Chronograph and date functions / T25 Tritium tube luminous technology / 300m/30 ATM water resistance / Sapphire crystal / Rubber strap.

BUY NOW: UK.LUMINOX.COM

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