Are Luminox watches tough enough to survive a Search and Rescue mission?

Since its launching 25 years ago, the Luminox brand has grown to become a name indicative of robust, functional and reliable watches. And of course, their calling card is a very special Luminox Light Technology which utilises tritium gas tubes to provide the watch with a constant glow for up to 25 years. Their watches do the job of keeping time in the harshest environments so well that elite military forces, like the Navy SEALs, and law enforcement, peg it as essential gear.

Last year, Luminox decided to also push the limits of their watches even further by announcing that it is now the official partner of The Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue (ICE-SAR). Harsh environments become an understatement as the guys from ICE-SAR would probably bring these watches, quite literally, into disaster zones. To find out what this means for the Luminox watches, they invited us to experience a simulated search and rescue mission. And because we are in this neck of the woods, instead of heading to Iceland, we journeyed a little closer to home arriving at the Malaysia International Search and Rescue (MISAR) HQ.

Captain K.Bala (sitting), founder of MISAR, flanked by the volunteers.

Just a quick backgrounder, MISAR was founded and is led by Captain K.Bala, a well-known safety activist and emergency survival trainer. MISAR is a non-profit, and non-governmental organisation that trains volunteers which will then be deployed to any part of the world that needs their expertise. To-date they have participated in search and rescue missions after the earthquakes in Nepal and Sichuan, the Aceh Tsunami in 2004, local East-Coast flood operations and much more.

What’s interesting about MISAR is that all the personnel involved are volunteers. And what’s even more interesting is that most of them come from very different backgrounds. There are engineers and lawyers, even a radio station producer and accountants on their team of rescuers. Their professions may be diverse but what unites them all is a yearning to save lives. They receive no funds from the government so they have to rely on providing training services for income and also partnerships like this one with Luminox.

Search & Rescue

The first order of the day was to strap on the Luminox Recon Point Man 8820 on my wrist to see if it could take the beating of a ‘simulated’ danger zone. Naturally, the next step was to synchronise the time with the other participants of that experience because according to the Luminox tag line: “Every second counts!” And I can imagine, the ability to track and keep accurate time would be more than vital in a danger zone.

Donning on all the necessary gear, we were subjected to a very mild version of what these MISAR folks might face on their missions. We were repelling down walls, putting out fires, learning basic techniques to save people during a flood and even encountered a simulated situation where we had to asses a victim which was stuck in a drainpipe after an earthquake. At the end of the day, I was completely knackered but the point stuck. These guys go through hell and back during their missions and although they are equipped with quite a few high-tech equipment (underground sonar detectors, night vision cameras, etc.), one can never underestimate the value of a good reliable watch on the wrist. It’s just so much more convenient to keep track of time with a wristwatch and the 24/7 glow of the watch means even if you have to work through the night, which they often do, your watch stays functional.

Luminox ICE-SAR Arctic 1200 Series

This year, Luminox unveils the second collection in the partnership with ICE-SAR offering a new stainless steel construction. The case is a massive 46mm which helps with legibility and one new aesthetic touch is the engraved relief of the globe on its dial. Adding to its functionality, the bezel can also be used as a compass as long as the sun is visible and as usual, the watch also features the tritium gas tubes providing a constant glow for all the major indicators of the watch. The Luminox ICE-SAR Arctic 1200 Series is powered by a TimeDate Ronda 715 Lithium Swiss quartz movement for reliability and is paired with either a stainless steel bracelet or a textile strap that has reflective material embedded within.

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