Back in the Day

Way back in the early 90’s a guy I was serving with showed me his new watch and it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It said “Navy SEALs” on the face, but I jokingly told my buddy I’d have a look at it anyway. The cool part was that it had glowing tubes on the hands (including the second hand) and above each of the hour markers.

The hands and hours 1-11 glowed a greenish-yellow and at the 12:00 position the tube glowed orange. I found out later this was so you could orient yourself to the dial of the watch and tell the time easier in total darkness.

At that time I had just graduated from the Army Academy of Health Sciences where we learned that recording a heart rate was damn near impossible to do in total darkness without violating light discipline. Now, with this new watch, we could just count heartbeats while we watched the ticking of the second hand.

I was sold and went out and ordered one the next day.

Discovering ProTek

The brand name of that watch was Luminox, and its creator and founder of the company is none other than a man named Barry Cohen. I had the pleasure of meeting Barry last January at SHOT Show, and that’s when I discovered his new watch brand, ProTek, that utilized the same “always glowing” technology as Luminox.

Barry is a hell of a good guy and a legend in the world of watchmaking, so I thought it might be a good idea to have him on the SOFREP Radio podcast and write up his new ProTek line. Rad was kind enough to let me sit in on the podcast, so you’ll want to check out the audio and YouTube versions of that interview.

Barry was also kind enough to loan me four different watches across his different product lines to review and evaluate. And that’s what I’m about to do right now.

The Official Watch of the US Marine Corps

Here, we see the caseback of the ProTek USMC watch. As you can see, it’s a screwdown caseback, and the image is deeply embossed with a tremendous amount of detail. Note that you can see individual feathers on the eagle’s wing. This is the same watch I am wearing in the featured image of the article.

It is also informative in that it tells you the watch has a carbon composite case, a stainless steel caseback, a sapphire crystal with antireflective coating, and it is water resistant to 300 meters.

The case hits the sweet spot on size, coming in at 42mm. Weight is a modest 73.2 grams. It’s just a tick under 14mm thick, with ProTek giving us an official measurement of 13.95 grams. Powering the watch is a Japanese Quartz Miyota 2S60 rated at +/- 20 seconds per month.

The 22mm strap is genuine rubber and offers the wearer a high-quality feel. The star of the show, however, is the ProGlo T25 illumination system. The tritium tubes are 100 times brighter than conventional lume and will give off a continuous glow for a quarter of a century without ever needing to be charged.

The retail price on is $495.

Series 2000 Dive

Next, we have the ProTek Dive Series 2001. This one is rocking a 22mm genuine leather waterproof Italian strap. The 42mm case is made of 316L stainless and contains a 120 click unidirectional bezel with no backplay.

A sapphire crystal with antireflective coating covers the face of the watch. The face is textured with alternating raised and depressed horizontal lines. This gives it much more character than a flat surface.

The indices are raised as is the silver covered ProTek logo. Below the pinion, we are reminded that this watch is rated to a depth of 200 meters. The hands are what I would call semi-skeletonized batons. The date wheel is not color matched, which is a pet peeve of mine but does not look out of place here.

Movement is the same Japanese quartz Miyota 2S60 that powers the Marine Corps watch above. Powering the movement is a 10-year battery. The 2001 weighs in at 96.7 grams and stands 13mm thick, which gives it a nice wrist presence for those with an average size wrist.

The star of the show is once again the tritium tubes, which will keep you telling time in the dark for 25 years (or two and a half battery changes).

The ProTek Dive Series 2001 sells for $525 on the ProTek website.

Series 1000 Dive

Above, we have the ProTek Dive Series 1005, which looks very much like the Marine Corps watch sans the Marine Corps Globe and Anchor on the caseback. It has the same dimensions and weight, along with a screw down crown and 60 click unidirectional dive time bezel, but this series has a pebble textured dial instead of a flat military dial. No backplay noted on this one.

The movement is the same as in the USMC watch, as is the sapphire crystal with antireflective coating. You’ll be pleased with the supple 22mm genuine rubber strap.

The only real difference I can see is that the date wheel is not colormatched on this model. It features the ProGlo T25 tritium gas tubes that will last 25 years.

The retail price is $495.

Series 3000 Dive

Last but not least is my personal favorite, the ProTek Field Series 3003 with a stunning blue sunray dial photographed here by yours truly. The waterproof strap is made from genuine Italian leather and is 20mm at the lugs.

The 40mm case is nicely sculpted out of medical-grade titanium and weighs in at a slight 48.4 grams. The crown and caseback are titanium as well. This can be considered a thin watch, being only 11mm thick.

The Field Series watches are run by a Japanese quartz citizen/miyota super 2035 movement with a 4-year battery. Not meant to be a diving watch, it still offers a respectable 100 meters of water resistance. Even though the strap is waterproof, I personally don’t think I’d take it in the pool. It’s just not that kind of watch. But if you decide to take a dip while still wearing it, it should be just fine.

Of course, it has a sapphire crystal with antireflective coating, as do the rest of the ProTek watches.

There’s the money shot. The fun comes out when the lights go down. It’s like a carnival on your wrist. These are the biggest tritium tubes I’ve ever seen. Swiss self powered ProGlo T100 tubes to be exact. Again, they glow 25 years with no need to be “charged.”

The 3003 can be yours for $525 at

There you have it, one watch for each of the ProTek series put out by the glowmaster himself, Barry Cohen.

And because Barry is such a great guy, he is offering all SOFREP and Loadout Room readers 20% off the retail price of these timepieces by simply using the code “SOFREP” at checkout.

Not a bad deal by any stretch of the imagination. If you buy one, send in a pic of you wearing it, and we’ll publish it in the comments section.