Luminox watches are known by the self-powered illumination system that is unique to them, and guaranteed to last for at least ten years. In order to incorporate this facility, Luminox watches undergo additional manufacturing steps that no other watches in the world do. The history of Luminox is closely tied to this unique feature of its watches.
Richard Timbo and Barry Cohen, two business acquaintances who knew each other through their career as sales representatives, were looking for creating a market through branded products or proprietary technology that would place a barrier on competition. They found the Swiss company RMBG, which had a unique illumination technology, and suggested that this technology be incorporated into Swiss watches, and obtained exclusive rights for the use of the technology in Northern America.
The new design watches, which were initially marketed under the brand name of the Swiss company, was soon re-christened Luminox, a name highly suggestive of its unique illumination capabilities that had been derived from the Latin roots Lumi, meaning light, and nox meaning night.
The unknown brand of watches was still struggling to make a mark in a competitive market that laid great value by brand name, when it got a break in the form of a call from a US navy procurement officer. In 1993 the company received an invitation from the procurement officer of the US Navy SEAL teams to supply it with a specially designed range of watches. The US navy’s Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) teams needed a dive watch for use on their night missions. Luminox took up the challenge and worked with its Swiss partner for nine months before coming out with the first Navy SEAL watch in 1994.
This was a turning point in the history of Luminox watches. The seal of approval given by the SEAL improved the credibility of the brand and boosted its image in the consumer market. Demand for the watches started to grow. The company started selling its plastic model Luminox watches.
After selling several thousands of its plastic model watches for five years, the company introduced the first steel version, with carbon fiber bezel, in 1999. The steel version of the SEAL dive watches was an instant success. From this, it was apparent to the manufacturers that if they could make the watches in greater varieties and numbers, the market would absorb them. This spurred the company on to an expansion drive and the desire to introduce new models.
In the fall of 2000, the company came out with an all steel series and an all titanium series. The new launches were again greeted with resounding success, as the market lapped up both the products. These series incorporated features that are found in what are considered fine watches, and included 10-year lithium batteries, sapphire glass crystals and anti reflective coating.
The company also developed a new version that was targeted at special customers adding freshness to its range.
If the call from the US navy was a major milestone in the history of Luminox watches, the Air force was not to lag far behind. The company received a call in 1999 from the Edwards Air Force base informing them that they loved the watches produced by them, and would like to have a version for use during their bombing missions. The requirement was to develop something specifically for them, and not to supply or even adapt the version that was supplied to the Navy. This gave rise to a series of watches that was developed for use by F-117 Nighthawk stealth pilots.
Luminox subsequently acquired rights to develop watches for the unique requirements of aviation industry. Thus was born another range of watches in the Luminox group.
The company is now working on plans for new ranges of watches for meeting both the requirements of the Navy and the Air Force, and is also taking several measures to retain and consolidate it’s hold in the retail market.