World of Watches (Singapore) - - Features -

Bar­ring elec­tronic so­lu­tions like LED lights, there are two main meth­ods to mak­ing a watch vis­i­ble in the dark. The first in­volves Su­per-lu­mi­nova or other such lu­mi­nous paints, which glow in the dark af­ter be­ing “charged” with light, whether nat­u­ral or ar­ti­fi­cial, am­bi­ent or di­rected. Lu­mi­nous paint can be ap­plied in any pat­tern and, with some tweaks in pro­duc­tion, any­where on a watch down to its case and lugs. It can also be recharged an un­lim­ited num­ber of times, and a suf­fi­ciently thick layer of it will glow in the dark for hours be­fore fad­ing off.

The al­ter­na­tive to Su­per­lu­mi­nova is self-pow­ered light sources driven by the ra­dioac­tive de­cay of tri­tium gas. To achieve this, tri­tium is sealed within a glass tube whose in­ner sur­face has been coated with a flu­o­res­cent ma­te­rial – the (very low lev­els of) ra­di­a­tion from tri­tium ex­cites this coat­ing, which glows and gives off light. This glow is con­stant, and lasts through the night. Tri­tium, how­ever, has a halflife of just over 12 years – af­ter this pe­riod, only half of the tri­tium gas in each glass tube re­mains ra­dioac­tive, which means that the bright­ness has also been halved ac­cord­ingly.


Why make a choice be­tween the two? As Lu­mi­nox has demon­strated with its Color­mark Nova series of watches – the two tech­nolo­gies are not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive. It makes sense to use tri­tium-pow­ered light for es­sen­tial in­di­ca­tors such as the hands and hour in­dexes, which can then be com­ple­mented with Su­per­lu­mi­nova on other in­di­ca­tors, such as bezel mark­ings.

Lu­mi­nox Navy SEAL Color­mark Nova

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