The Special Edition Luminox 3503.NSF

Navy SEAL Of Approval: Luminox Partners With The Navy SEAL Foundation On A New Special Edition

As part of its nearly 30-year commitment to the armed forces, Luminox has developed three new watches and continues to go the extra mile to support those on and off the battlefield.

By Thomas Hendricks

Luminox has long been known for its tough and tactical timepieces. After all, this is the brand used by the US Navy SEALs, the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue, the US Secret Service, the USAF’s F-117 Nighthawk stealth jet pilots, Israeli Special Forces, and the Royal Thai Police Sea Dragon Frogmen (best name ever). The full list of elite forces partners is much, much longer than that, but we figured six examples proved the point.

Now, a partnership with the US Navy SEALs that began nearly three decades ago takes a new form and introduces a new watch to the market. Earlier this month, Luminox officially announced their collaboration with the Navy SEAL Foundation (NSF). The non-profit and non-governmental organization provides crucial support to the families and communities of the Naval Special Warfare personnel, particularly during times of illness, injury, or loss.

So, whereas many of Luminox’s partnerships center on providing watches directly to rescue experts, fighter pilots, or what have you, this NSF initiative reinforces the brand’s commitment to front line families and communities in a way that goes beyond supplying mil-spec watches.

In the words of Luminox CEO, Lluis Sole, “We value all the sacrifices the Navy SEALs and their families make to bring safety and security to this country. They are an essential part of Luminox’s history, trusting in us, and becoming a guide for our brand. Continuing our relationship with the Navy SEAL Foundation gives us the chance to give back to the community that has provided us all with so much.”

What To Look Forward To

The partnership between Luminox and the NSF is a multi-pronged initiative that, in some cases, even ties in with other existing efforts by the brand. The first output of this collaboration is the release of three special edition watches but more on those later. The partnership also includes connections to Luminox’s longstanding relationship with the Spartan Race series (read HERE).

For those who are not familiar, Spartan Races are long, muddy, intense, obstacle-packed races that writers like myself are simply not cut out for. Luminox will be sponsoring one of these upcoming races to not only raise awareness of the foundation but raise funds for it too. Luminox will also be sponsoring various other athletic events in support of the NSF, and winners of each of these events will win their very own special edition Luminox watch.

The Special Edition Luminox 3503.NSF

Now let’s check out the first new watch in this series. The Navy SEAL Foundation exclusive Luminox 3503.NSF is developed in collaboration with and in support of the NSF. And many of the Luminox fans reading this will recognize signature features of Luminox’s DNA in the watch.

Released in July, the 3503.NSF is a 45mm tool watch with a blue and yellow color scheme for its dial, hands, and unidirectional rotating bezel pulled directly from the NSF. Turn the watch over, and you’ll find another nod to the partnership with the organization’s logo engraved into the caseback. The watch also incorporates objective-oriented details such as the brand’s proprietary CARBONOX™ case, a scratch-resistant crystal, water-resistance of 200m, and Luminox’s Light Technology, which makes the piece visible in any light conditions for up to 25 years.

In addition to the Navy SEAL 3503.NSF watch, Luminox will also release two additional models in collaboration with NSF – a Limited Edition Navy SEAL 3001 (limited to 600 pieces and to be released later this summer) and a Navy SEAL 3050 Series to be released next year. Remarkably, all pieces within this collection are priced at $395.

More Than A Mission Statement

I want to pause quickly and take a closer look at the foundation this partnership supports. It’s not uncommon for watch brands to contribute to the causes they believe in, and we in the watch community, typically applaud any brand’s effort to be more than a wholly profit-based business. What is uncommon, I believe, is for watch industry commentators to take a deeper look at the charitable organizations watch brands partner with to gauge the effectiveness of the charities’ operations. To put it more simply: Does the Navy SEAL Foundation actually help the people they claim to, or do they spend donations on administrative costs like salaries?

Taking a look at Charity Navigator, which is essentially a report card for non-profits, we see that the NSF has been awarded the highest mark (four stars) each year since 2011. On top of that, the NSF has earned a perfect score of "100" each year since 2016 for financial health, accountability, and transparency. Incredibly, for every dollar donated to them, ninety-five cents goes directly to programs or is retained for future mission use. This impressive record places the NSF in the top 1% of rated charities.

Recent global events like the COVID-19 crisis have underscored the importance of people who are willing to pursue careers that put their own lives on the line for the good of others. It’s also shown the importance of support systems for these people and their families when the worst happens.

In the words of Chris Irwin, Director of Partnerships for NSF, “[Luminox] has been dedicated to the mission of [Naval Special Warfare] for nearly 30 years, so this partnership only demonstrates the strength of their resolve.” And as much as we as watch nerds love a badass timepiece, it’s encouraging to see that sometimes a watch is more than a watch.

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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