What's cooler than a badass chronograph dive watch? One with a compelling purpose. The new Luminox Pacific Diver is just that: it's big, tough, functional and technical-looking, and it was made for a partnership between the watchmaker and an organization that retrains Navy SEALs and other special forces veterans for conservation initiatives. With a 44mm stainless steel case, these watches don't look overly big on the brawny wrists of these bonafide tough guys.
Gear Patrol got to meet the members of the organization known as Force Blue as they worked on the project "100 Yards of Hope" — restoring a football field-sized patch of coral reef off of Key Biscayne in Florida that's been extensively damaged by a number of factors.
When we meet them, they're accompanied by marine biologists, Luminox's CEO and a couple of journalists — and they're all wearing the Pacific Diver watches as they harvest coral clippings from an incubation area, prepare them on the boat, and then replant them using a cement-like substance at the target site. (Of course, they accomplish it all with military efficiency.) The organization's purpose is not only to address environmental causes, but to help rehabilitate returning soldiers, as well.
Dive watches aren't strictly necessary for diving, but many divers still wear them as a dive computer backup — and for fun. Add in the chronograph, and it actually becomes a tool that can be used in a lot of ways, with the stopwatch feature and rotating bezel used either individually or in combination. Despite the additional complexity of engineering a water-tight chronograph case, I was able to confirm that the chronograph buttons are completely usable underwater without waterlogging your watch.
In addition to a 200m water resistance, the Pacific Diver promises general durability with sapphire crystal and a bezel made from Luminox's own carbon composite material called "Carbonox." Just as important as durability and functionality is legibility, and Luminox nails that with, firstly, good design but also with perpetually glowing tritium illumination on the hands and dial.
With a quartz movement and rugged specs, watch collectors might consider something like the Luminox Pacific Diver a "beater" watch — but at $795 on a rubber strap or $895 on a steel bracelet, it isn't exactly in the ultra-budget range. What you're shelling out for is a watch that's highly capable and durable, but also rather handsome, with 12 colorful variations to choose from. The worthy cause and compelling story are just bonuses.