As the owner of both of the watches above, and knowing that in some ways they are rather similar, a retrospective review seemed to be in order. The G-Shock GW3000BB-1A I bought on an impulse one day in a department store; I had wanted a tough watch and liked the idea of rocking a G-Shock at the time.
Several years later, before a trip around Mexico, I decided that I didn't want to bring my more expensive pieces but wanted a fun 'expedition' watch that I didn't need to worry about. Enter the Luminox Recon Nav SPC.
Both watches are rugged, look stylish and are very hard to do any damage to. They have very high water resistance (200M), great night visibility (tritium tubes vs luminescent paint) and wear nice and chunky on the wrist without seeming comical, appearing instead to be tactical. Here are my thoughts on how they break down:
The G-Shock looks great, is very fashionable and has some epic features. That said, it is infuriatingly difficult to operate without the little 100+ page manual that comes with it. In my opinion, product design should be self evident, but with its four buttons and endless invisible menus to click through, good luck if you don't cary the manual on you. Daylight savings time changes are a major hassle, knowing what mode you are in is worse and the supposed ability to do a quick time zone change is impossible for all I can figure.
That's most of the bad, and honestly its pretty bad, but at nearly half the price of the Luminox, it does have a lot going for it.
- Fantastic legibility at almost any angle
- Light and comfortable strap, hard to notice even with its big size on the wrist.
- Cool chronograph feature (if you can start it) where the center second hand spins a full rotation per second for the first 15 seconds. It looks like you are reading an altimeter in freefall and is alone worth buying the watch for. Unfortunately it stops and becomes a normal chronograph after the first few seconds.
- Slightly domed acrylic crystal
- Solar powered, no batteries required
- Radio controlled time from regional towers all over the world. Accurate is an understatement.
- However if you like to run your watch a little fast it is no easy feat to accomplish.
- Day and Date
- Very bright lume at first, gets dark fairly quickly however, doesn't last all night.
- For small wrists, the strap is very long, I had to cut the end off so it didn't flop around.
- Unique, recognizable styling. The cool kids will take notice :)
- Basically the top range as far as G-Shocks go.
- MSRP: $280, a good deal cheaper on the secondary market.
For serious adventuring, this Luminox has no equal. It is equipped with a ton of useful features, and takes a lot of styling cues from the Breitling Navitimer. What it lacks in solar power and radio time setting, it more than makes up for in build quality and 'toolishness'.
- Anti-reflective (AR) Sapphire Crystal at this price point is great to see.
- A removable compass to help you get your bearings, it goes unnoticed on the rubber strap.
- GMT 24 hour hand complication to track multiple timezones.
- An ingenius walking Tachymeter which easily tells you your ground movement speed. I find normal tachymeters pretty useless as I don't fly planes.
- 60-click rotating bezel with tritium pip.
- Plastic case/bezel feels very hard, but appears a bit cheap.
- Tritium tubes on indexes and hands, super bright all night with purple and orange markers to show orientation. It is a truly awesome sight when you glance at it in the middle of the night.
- Swiss made (for what its worth).
- The side of the comfortable rubber strap has a ruler on it in Inches/mm. I've used this several times when I couldn't find a proper one.
- High legibility in day and night with contrasting white hands on the black dial.
- Easy to use standard crown.
- Date complication.
- The compass works well with a small disc floating around inside a fluid chamber.
- Pretty much the top range of Quartz Luminox.
- MSRP: $450, a good deal cheaper on the secondary market.
Between the two, on most days I would take the Luminox hands down. It is a purpose-built, great looking and user friendly tool that could literally be a lifesaver if you ever get lost in the wilderness. However I own both, and if I feel so strongly, why not sell the G-Shock and move on? Well, there is a certain charm to the G-Shock that makes it more fun than the Luminox, and lends hip youthful style to your wrist. A G-Shock is a very versatile piece, because it tends to go with anything in an effortless way, and transmits that the wearer can let loose and have fun.
In sum, both will look badass, both can be the only watch you'll ever need, and I feel both are very appropriately priced.
What do you think? Comment below!