by Christopher Scapelliti
Paying tribute to aviation is nothing new for watchmakers, and nearly every luxury brand has a line of pilot’s watches that celebrate horology’s unique place in the world of manmade flight. Less common is the watch that commemorates a specific aircraft. Luminox, however, has devoted an entire line to the subject: its AIR Series features timepieces whose stealth looks and aircraft-inspired designs honor some of the most remarkable strategic flying machines in history.
The AIR Series has just grown by two with the new F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II Flight Calculation/Chronograph watches. Inspired by fifth-generation stealth fighter jets, the new models each feature a bidirectional rotating bezel with black aluminum slide-rule ring and a dial ring with tachymetric scale to measure speed in kilometers, miles, or nautical miles per hour. The slide rule bezel can also be used to calculate distances, flight times, and fuel consumption.
Of course, most of us will want to wear them just because they look amazingly cool. The F-22 Raptor (Series 9270) features a 44mm case built of solid blackened titanium that houses a 13-jewel Ronda quartz movement with a host of useful functions, like a 1/10-second chronograph that times events up to 12 hours in duration. Chronograph times are shown via a central seconds hand, in a subdial at nine o’clock that displays total minutes and hours, and in a 1/10-second subdial at six o’clock. The face is covered with an antireflective sapphire crystal, and the case back depicts the F-22 Raptor aircraft. The watch is offered on either a solid-link titanium bracelet ($1,600) or a leather strap with red contrast stripe detail ($1,225).
For those who want something more colorful, the F-35 Lightning II (Series 9380) fills the bill with a refreshing blast of orange. The black, textured dial features bright orange hands and design elements that give the F-35 a strikingly sporty look. Like the F-22, the F-35’s 45mm stainless-steel case houses a 13-jewel Ronda movement, with a 1/10-second chronograph featuring central seconds and an hours-and-minutes totalizer at nine o’clock. The most eye-catching feature, however, is the 1/10-second indicator just below the dial’s center, which features a semicircular counter with bicolor propeller hand set against a two-color scale. The case back depicts the F-35 Lightning II aircraft and Lockheed Martin logo. The watch is available with a solid-link steel bracelet with signature Luminox buckle ($1,200) or a black padded leather strap with orange contrast stitching and signature Luminox buckle ($1,000).
Both watches feature a bold big-date display, water resistance to 200 meters, and Luminox Light Technology, a proprietary system of micro gas tubes on the hands and markers that glows continuously for up to 25 years—which is more than enough time for you to earn your wings.