G-Shock vs Luminox - which one's better?
It's a common question I hear from people that are looking for a reliable all-rounder watch.
And understandably so.
Both G-Shock and Luminox have a reputation of "toughness". Both brands are used by armed forces, EMS, and law enforcement agents.
And from the outside, it looks like it could be an even fight between the two.
But when you break it down, there is one clear winner in this comparison.
Let's jump right in.
- G-Shock vs Luminox Toughness & Durability
- G-Shock vs Luminox Features
- G-Shock vs Luminox Size, Comfort & Style
- G-Shock vs Luminox Price
- Takeway & Conclusion
Casio G-shock watches are inexpensive, extremely tough, 200m waterproof, and come packed with features. Because of that, G-Shock is the go-to watch for servicemen, policemen, EMS, diving instructors etc.
Luminox watches are known for their military style and their "always visible" tritium lume. Luminox makes watches for US Coast Guard, US Air Force, Navy SEALs and a variety of other special forces and EMS teams worldwide.
Side note: Tritium is a slightly radioactive material that has a half-life of 12.3 years. It is a step up compared to "normal" watch lume, as it doesn't need to be "charged" by daylight. If you buy a Luminox watch, the tritium will will still have 50% of its brightness left after 12.3 years.
G-Shock vs Luminox: Toughness & Durability
G-Shock is the only watch I know of that will survive being run over by a truck.
Even a budget G-Shock can take nearly anything you throw at it. Which is why most other watches - including Luminox - can't compete with G-Shocks on toughness and durability.
A video says more than a thousand words. Click play to see some of the tests that the G-Shocks go through:
Unlike G-Shock, Luminox makes two broad categories of watches:
- Cheaper, plastic models with mineral crystals ($150-200)
- High-end, metal models that are heavier and come with a sapphire crystal ($300+)
Plastic Luminox models feel and wear like regular cheap watches. They don't have a good reputation when it comes to durability. High-end Luminox models are built better.
I found this forum thread on the first page of Google. Here are the experiences that people have had with Luminox:
- "My Luminox broke 3 times in 3 years and it's not that I wear it every day."
- "I'd pass on Luminox. The one I had lasted about two weeks. POS."
- "My Luminox fell down and one of the Tritium tubes came out. Never again."
- "Front fell off."
- "Warranty and support sucks."
- "I dropped my Luminox on the linoleum floor of my last house, from waist height. one of the hands broke off at the center pin. They would not repair it."
And this is only the first page of Google. The posters don't specify their models, so I assume that it's the cheaper Luminox watches they're talking about.
For comparison, the only thing I've heard G-Shock owners complain about is having to wear their old, beat-up watch because it never seems to break down.
G-Shock vs Luminox: Features
Features and value for money are where G-Shock really outshines Luminox. A $200 Luminox has less functionality than a $40 G-Shock.
Tritium lume is the main "feature" that you'd want to buy a Luminox watch for. And if you were choosing between Luminox and another analog watch with "normal" lume, Luminox would win.
But the backlight of a G-Shock on beats tritium for me. With one push of a button, I can see the time and access my timer/stopwatch/alarms. There's even a hands-free backlight setting on advanced G-Shocks that lets you activate the backlight by flicking your wrist.
With the G-Shock backlight, I can control when my watch is visible. With tritium, it's always "on" and I have no control over the visibility of my watch.
Side note: Tritium lights up in night vision like a road flare. You can't turn it off, so if you want to hide your position... don't go for tritium.
Here are the basic features that every G-Shock comes with:
- Auto-adjusting calendar
- Timer (auto-repeat option)
- A vivid backlight so you can see the time effortlessly
- Date/weekday/time/millisecond readout
- 12/24h time display
- Multiple time zones
- Solar powered battery
- Atomic Clock (time is adjusted daily via radio signal)
- Tide Graph
- Vibration alarm (GD350)
There's probably more, but you get the point. If something can be built into a watch, G-Shock has done it.
The basic models will have:
- Tritium tubes on indexes and hands for visibility in the dark
- Date on the side
- Rotating bezel timer
On advanced models, you might also get:
- GMT 24 hour hand complication to track multiple timezones
- Tachymeter for calculating your ground movement speed
G-Shock vs Luminox: Size, Comfort & Style
Most G-Shocks are bulky, which is their biggest downside. The bigger models won't fit under a shirt sleeve. But despite the bulk, G-Shocks are comfortable to wear day-to-day because they sit flat on the wrist
Here are two things that many people don't know about G-Shocks:
- They don't look like it's the 90s anymore. There are some sweet-looking models out there that can hold their own as "fashion watches".
- Smaller G-Shock models exist. For example, the 5600 and 5610 squares are around 43mm in width, which is about the size of a regular watch.
And while most G-Shocks come with a digital time display, there are plenty of analog models available.
Luminox has a more eye-catching "military" style. The analog display also makes it look more "elegant" than G-Shock. Luminox watches are also thinner, so they are more comfortable to wear with suits and shirts.
I wouldn't think twice about wearing a Luminox in a formal setting, while I would with a G-Shock. A Luminox on your wrist will definitely catch more compliments.
There is a significant difference in looks between the two watches. The styles are different and both Luminox & G-Shock look great in their own way. No clear winner here, as it comes down to personal preference.
It's A Tie
G-Shock vs Luminox: Price
G-Shock watches range in price anywhere from $40 up to $1000. They give you a good "bang for the buck", as even the cheaper $40 models will last for years.
Cheaper Luminox watches start around $200 but have problems with quality. If you want a Luminox watch that'll last, expect to pay more than $300. Compared to G-Shocks, Luminox watches are overpriced.
Get the Luminox if you like the styling.
Get the G-Shock if you want something that will take whatever abuse you can give it and laugh in your face.
G-Shock is still the go-to watch for a lot of military folks. No matter what the Luminox marketing says about it being the "Navy SEAL watch".
When it comes to tactical watches, I haven't seen a better watch than G-Shock.
- Better durability
- More features
- Cheaper price
- And more options when it comes to models