A video on watch lume types, performance comparison, and some history.
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#horology #wristwatches #lume
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Lume photographs shot at 1/5 sec, f1.8, ISO 3200 @ 28mm
Final boost shot at 1/2 sec, f1.8, ISO 3200 @ 28mm
WATCHES FEATURED (in order of appearance) & lume types:
1. Rolex Submariner Date 16613LN - Tritium paint
- Amazon: http://amzn.to/2xVtx85
- Jomashop: http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8476504/type/dlg/https://www.jomashop.com/preowned-1-rolex-watch-pre-rlx16613bkso.html
2. Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon "Magnate" GMT (GM2098C-SCAJ-BK) - Tritium gas tubes
3. TAG Heuer 3000 Professional (932.213) - Zinc Sulfide (?)
4. Invicta Pro Diver 9094 - "Tritnite"
- Amazon: http://amzn.to/2yFjy3H
- Jomashop: http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8476504/type/dlg/https://www.jomashop.com/invicta-pro-diver-automatic-watch-9094.html
5. Citizen Perpetual Chrono A-T (AT4010-50E) - Sr Aluminate based
- Amazon: http://amzn.to/2xVYl8C
- Jomashop: http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8476504/type/dlg/https://www.jomashop.com/citizen-watch-at4010-50e.html
6. Seiko SKX007 - "Lumibrite"
- Amazon: http://amzn.to/2yFmsFH
- Jomashop: http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8476504/type/dlg/https://www.jomashop.com/seiko-mens-watch-skx007k2.html
7. Oris Aquis Date 43mm (OR733-7653-4135MB) - "SuperLuminova"
- Amazon: http://amzn.to/2zqUeNZ
- Jomashop (new ver.): http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8476504/type/dlg/https://www.jomashop.com/oris-watch-01-733-7730-4135-07-8-24-05peb.html
8. Omega Seamaster Professional 300m (22.214.171.124.03.001) - "SuperLuminova"
- Amazon: http://amzn.to/2yFoLu8
- Jomashop: http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8476504/type/dlg/https://www.jomashop.com/omega-watch-21230412003001.html
Lume = Luminous Phosphorescent Markers
Perth WAtch - Sharing my passion for horology and watches. Enjoy the videos on watch reviews, general thoughts & discussions, side-by-side comparisons, horology topics, and more!
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Prelude in C (BWV 846) Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
So....what feeble excuse do you have for not using an exemplar LUM-TEC wrist watch?
And I like the way you avoided the issue of beta particle radiation vs. alpha particle radiation when talking about Tritium gas. Unlike alpha radiation emitted by Radium, beta radiation is TOTALLY harmless, as long as the gas is not ingested, inhaled, etc.
Thanks for the comment - let me clarify that this is a hobby channel, not a profession or business of mine. So what watches I feature are what I can get from family or friends, or collaborations. I have never come across a LUM-TEC watch... but if you want to lend me one, I would be most happy to feature it ;)
PS. I don't think there is any need to talk about alpha vs. beta radiation... most people just want to know that the tubes are completely safe.
just a great video on a subject that by me was greatly misunderstood. i would prefer no lume and more legible hands when it fades so fast but i am sure i am in the minority. the citizen and bulova dive type watches i have are the best with seiko divers a close second. i keep a small led flashlight nearby at nite to re-energize when i wake up and they are a little hard to read. i probably rely more on my watch at nite than during the day. the gold hands (no lume) on my dress orient are easier to read than others with lume in a dimly lit room!
Thanks for the comment. As mentioned in my reply I have reviewed a Turtle from that family of models... the lume is excellent but more in an expected way. I did not do a direct comparison test but that's because it certainly did not blow me away to think that it's definitively superior to the SKX.
Perth WAtch give the Seiko SRP773, 775, 777, 779 family a try. I have an SNE109 and a SNE107 (cos I just like the accuracy of quartz) and the lume is outdone by the latest turtles.
Of course it could be that I use my watches at the beach, in the water so the lume gets “used up” with the extra exposure so probably not a fair comparison but I always had the *feeling* the lume is slightly nicer than the SKX series.
Unlike my math, my eyesight isn’t that good (probably from sun exposure at the beach)
I have a 25 year old Luminox. While the illumination has faded significantly over the years, it is still bright enough for me to tell the time in the middle of the night - which is more than I can say for my Super Luminova Seiko watches.
Thanks for sharing that... great life you have gotten out of those Tritium rods! I think they do quote a "useful" life of 20-25 years - it will continue to fade beyond that so personal use can go longer depending on how dark you can read it.
PS. I think Seiko original lume (which they call Lumibrite) might be slightly different from current Swiss SuperLuminova...?
A banana is radioactive so if your watch lume is less than a banana and can't get through your skin there is nothing to fear. Tritium will last 20 + years which is really nice.
My marathon gsar using tritium vials and this is by far the best lume you can get and honestly when you try it all other form of lume suck in comparison. I can wake up in the middle of the night and read my watch where a regular lume would be long done. I like seiko for the good lume but it can't compare to something always lit.
I love watches and when I get my next one I will have a hard time getting a watch without tritium lume. Not much choice so probably a ball.
Pay close attention to the length and diameter of the tritium gas tubes. With shorter or thinner the tubes, the more weaker the luminescence will be. I have 2 tritium gas watches....a Ball Fireman II and a plastic quartz watch that would cost only $50 if it did not have tritium.
The Ball's lume is disappointing, because the Fireman II uses very thin tubes. And that equates to a relatively small amount of glowable surface area. The cheapo watch has fat tubes that run the whole length of the hour indices and hands, and it glows magnificently!
there is more brands. I use quartz NITE Icon and NITE ALPHA with T100. very satisfied. I wear them on bicycle, they got smashed a few times and still good. I dream of Ball Big boy because it is 46mm but the price is out of my range. look up on YT tritium watch lume test, no audio . it won´t let me put in the link.
Wow! An awesome video. I had no idea there was so much to learn about Lume. So I tested my 30 or so watches and agree. My date just Rolex around 30 maybe 40 years old was bad. My 10 Invicta's were Terrible. My Seiko's 3 Monsters a Tuna Baby 100yr ltd and a Turtle were amazing and my Aragon Virtuoso Super luminova dial was the best. Never really looked at any lume at all.
One think i will never understand is why on earth watchmakers charge for a view grams of superluminova so much. In the end this is just strontiumaluminate, i bought 250g of honeywell strontiumaluminate rare earth based pigments for like 100 Euro?
The SKX had a blueish lume which I found weird, mine has a very green lume, not even a little bit blue. In another video you mentioned the bracelet for the SKX had folded links but mine doesnt, they are solid. I don't mean any offense by this but could your SKX be counterfeit? or perhaps it is very old and they've made some changes to the lume over time?
Good question and astutely spotted - I'm afraid I used auto white balance (should've just used sunlight) and also edited further before using the photo, hence the colour has been altered. It's green to the naked eye. The bracelet I think has some variation by region of distribution.
Mine is secondhand but pretty sure it isn't a copy as it's extremely good, lume also nearly equals SuperLuminova, AND the movement looks just like 7S (I have opened it in past)... plus it's got dealer stamp on the warranty card! Now, all that can feasibly be copied but it would be astounding!
There is little value in a 13:00 talk about lumes, with nary a second of actual footage to support opinion, clarify for viewers to judge, regarding initial brightness, fading over time, and such obvious ways to compare. Picking up one watch after the other and rambling tells no one any meaningful info about their relative usefulness in the dark.
Thank you very much for the comment! Totally agree, it would be great to have footage of initial brightness, fading over time, and such obvious ways to compare! I would recommend watching the video for such footage ;)
PS. - start at 9:30 perhaps.
I have a tritium Marathon watch that is 20 years old and still glows about as well as Seiko lume after a few hours. It is still easy to read in the dark to well adjusted eyes. In my opinion and based on this experience, tritium probably does have a useful life of around 25years.
Thanks for the comment, that is useful to hear! There are Tritium tubes of different capacities, with higher capacity tubes having a longer useful life. In any case, even after 20 years I have no doubt that it will be brighter than standard phosphorescent lume after a couple of hours in the dark. Cheers, Ivan.
Well, you could choose to do nothing about it, such as in the Rolex and Tag used in the video. If you really want/need the lume to function you could get it restored - the cost will vary depending on the watch, etc.
Hi there Caz, I'm not sure exactly what you're asking - once the lume paint is charged (via exposure to light) it will glow regardless of surroundings. This includes glowing in total darkness. Hope that answers your question!
Well, as a college student who can't afford an expensive watch Invicta is pretty nice. They have decent automatic movements and you can get a watch with that classic submariner appearance. Yeah, ill buy a nicer watch later, but for now my Invicta works fine and looks good.
I have a very powerful cree LED flashlight (torch, to you folks in australia, I believe). When I use it on my Seiko skx007J, it is FAR brighter than even leaving the watch out in the sunlight for an extended period of time, I suspect due to the blue hue of the LEDs. After shining the light on my watch for a second or two, I can just about use my watch to see in the dark. Lying in bed, it actually lights up my ceiling a little bit. I wish someone would make a watch that stayed that bright all through the night, though, because it's actually quite useful and super easy to read (although I can still read the Seiko dial after 8 hours in total darkness, so it's not too bad).
My grandmother has an old clock that she leaves by her bedside and it glows freakishly bright, I've always wondered if it's radium, because I've never seen a watch or clock that lights up like that and it doesn't need to be exposed to bright lights in order to remain quite bright.
Indeed, EL glows nice and bright, same degree every time as well... unless the battery has gone ;)
Also I think it wouldn't really considered "lume" by most of us, although in truth there luminescent material in use!
There always has to be some compromise when it comes to watches. There IS a watch that is always super bright. It is called electro-luminescence, and is powered by a button battery. Timex used it on their INDIGLO watch models. Assuming all of your fingers aren't broken or missing, just push a button and the whole damn dial lights up! Same high brightness.....each and EVERY time.
As for your g/mother's clock, yes. That is indeed radium! And if you hit it with a UV light, it will glow even brighter and freakier!
Thank you for the detailed and insightful thought Scott! Yeah, I suspect your grandma's clock was properly radium by the sounds of the description!
I think the natural decay of modern lumes work OK... our eyes adjust progressively in the dark and to have something as bright as it is after you first charge it with your super light would actually be somewhat blinding when waking up from deep sleep! All of my watches with good lume remain visible through the night, but of course are quite dim by the end (just that we have adjusted to it). Cheers! Ivan.
At the time I made this video Seiko and Citizen honestly surprised me with their performance. I was expected the much vaunted Super Luminova on the Swiss watches to blow them away, but it didn't really.
Hi Mihir, in general the performance of a particular Lume brand (for all types, not just for Seiko) is largely a function quantity. All modern Seiko's used *Lumibrite* and the watches with larger amounts of Lume application generally perform better (brighter and longer lasting). Some examples would include the Sumo SBDC001 or similar types, or the Monster SRP309 or similar. Hope that helps!
Thanks for the comment - you're right in that the info isn't everything needed to replicate the shots, but don't forget I did also state the shutter speed and focal length, AND this is also more info than *every* other watch review video I have ever seen that have included lume shots. In my understanding the ISO limit on specific models mainly effects the image noise levels and not so much the brightness... but admittedly I'm no pro-photographer. For reference the camera used is a *Sony RX-100-II* with 1" sensor.
Anyway, these good points notwithstanding, the main point is that to meaningfully demonstrate degradation of lume over time, and compare brightness of different lume types, you *need* to keep your exposure the same. Cheers!
Sadly, this video shows a shocking lack of expertise. Tritium tubes come in 2 types, T25 & T100 and, as expected T100 is 4 times as bright as T25 with a half-life of 25 years vs 12 years. Obviously, brightness also depends upon the number of tubes grouped together. Modern lume paint is categorized by C1 vs C3 Superluminova, with C3 being much brighter. That this clown made a video on lume without, apparently, knowing any of this makes this video pretty much a waste of time.
al3xus03 everything correct except the part that states “life of tritium is 25 years”... actually it’s infinite (or a super long time... get your calculus book out).
The half life of 12.5 means in 12.5 years there is half the amount of radioactive decay. So a rough guess would be half as bright. The next 12.5 years will be half of what’s left, I.e. 0.5 x 0.5 = 0.25 or a quarter of the original sample will be radioactive. Hence a rough estimate would be a quarter brightness.
The next 12.5 years would be a half of what’s left... since you all did basic math, 0.125 or 1/8 the original. 0.0625 or 1/16 for the 4th period of 12.5 years.
Hence even after 50 years it will be radioactive and it will glow. However will you detect it when it 1/2^4 or 1/16 the brightness. In fairness fractions are rubbish at showing how small something is. Go decimal and it really shows... 0.0625... so only ~6% of the original sample is radioactive and hence with my rough radioactivity is proportional to luminescence math, it’s only ~6% as bright.
However my point remains: it will not stop after 25 years.
Actually Bella, your wrong with that assumption because of more than just surface area, type and number of tubes. The designations define the limits, not the actual amount, T25 will have up to 25 milicuries and T100 up to 100 , however can just as well have 60. So you might end up with a T25 watch on the upper limit of the designation and a T100 on the lower one, and the difference between them will not be x 4. Tests have been carried out by owners between T100 Balls and T100 deep blue's with similar configuration/number of tubes/colour and it can be a crapshoot what you get, but generally the Deep Blue's were brighter.
Also apart from tube shape, number and distribution colour is an important factor when it comes to perceived brightness. Green will seem brightest, followed by yellow, by white, by ice blue, etc...there are charts online that deal with this. The colour and finish of a dial will also play an important role in "reflecting" or "absorbing" light. The life of tritium is 25 years, halflife about 12,5 doesn't matter if it's T25 or T100.
The next mistake is stating that modern lume is categorized into C1 and C3, that's not true, you also have BGW9, C5, C7, C9 and also other colours. These names only refer to products by Luminova. They also achieved recently what's known as X1 grade lume. The fact that you write half true nonsense without doing proper research makes reading your comment a waste of time.
Bella Riley you actually did not get it right, either. T100 means that the total quantity of radioactive material on the face of the watch is four times as great as T25. This does not, repeat not, mean that it is four times as bright. The brightness depends on the surface area of the tubes, the type of phosphor that used within the tubes and the number of tubes. Remember that the 25 or 100 refers to the total amount of radiation in milliCuries on the face of the watch and does not translate directly into brightness. Your second error is the assertion that T100 will last 25 years where is T25 will last only 12. I'm sorry, Bella, but the half-life of tritium is what it is, just a bit more than 12 years. There is nothing you can do to tritium to change its half life from 12 Years to 25 years. So before you become too patronizing about the presenter of this video, you may want to be sure that you have your own facts correct.
@ Perth WAtch--I've had dials replaced on a few of my Ball watches. Ball USA (Florida) replaces the entire dial, not individual tubes. A new dial for my Aviator Dual Time (about 70 tubes in total) was roughly $230 US.
Replacement cost for Tritium micro gas tubes tend to be quoted per tube, so for a whole watch it depends on the number of tubes present (can be as little as 20 tubes to over 50 tubes depending on model). The cost mentioned in forums seem to range from around US$5-12 per tube.
in my brief opinion...seiko generally lumes the brightest but only for about 10 mins then fades into a lume which i can see 6 hours later...citizen stays the same dim lume all night though still easy to see...i dont yet own a tritium watch though from what i see they will never be as bright as a seiko and they will always shine over the citizen...
yes thankyou...i have a lot to learn...been collecting watches for just over a year...before that i used to only buy accurist watches...got tired of replacing batteries and bought an eco drive...then i bought a G shock...then something happened...i realised i was spending a lot of time just looking at watches...I think that I caught a bug... then I bought 2 seikos which brings me back to the lume... In my opinion you will go a long way to find a watch that lights up like my Seiko orange monster...
Thanks for the thoughts Carl. I think lume performance can differ dramatically between models so it depends on which Seiko and Citizen watches you have had experience with. From what I have read, both these brands have good reports.
As for Tritium, even basic cheap lume on lower end brands can shine brighter *immediately after being charged* but Tritium will outshine any luminescent paint after about the first half hour to 45 minutes because it does not fade during a night. The trick with subjective lume judgement is that our eyes adapt during the night (or similar dark exposure) and even though the lume has faded we will perceive perhaps just slightly darker 6 hours later.
Hi just to clear up the tritium light output. The beta particle (electrons) hit the phosphor that produces the light. So any light produced has already absorbed the radiative particle. Beta radiation has a very low impact, previous paint based on Radium now that was nasty.
If you remember TV's before LCD's then you had a beta particle emitter pointing straight out in your living room as that's what the cathode ray tube did; lit up dots of phosphor by firing electrons at it. Beta particles can be dangerous if the emitter is high powered this is not the case with tritium (Strontium 90 however is used for radiotherapy). Very occasionally a beta particle may create an x-ray if it hits a high energy particle when it absorbed, when I write "occasionally," I mean that you are more likely to get hit by cosmic rays than by your wristwatch. A couple of millimetres of aluminium will absorb tritium beta particles let alone a steel watch back and the dead skin cells naturally present. Put it in a phosphorus coated tube and you would be more likely to be irradiated in the waiting room of a dentist.
If lume replacement is a factor, I have to admit I'm not really sure, but apart from that a solid brand is probably the way to go - around the $500 mark Seiko stands out. If the budget is considerably higher then I would go for a Rolex - that submariner featured is nearly 30 years old, has NEVER been serviced and keeps +4 secs/day. That's brand rep that simply cannot be bought :)
From general research I would say that long term total cost for everyday would be a Seiko with the glass custom replaced for sapphire. Spent a lot of time today looking around and if one wanted a watch to last a lifetime then that would be it, anything else around the $300 USD mark just isn't going to have the parts. I'll inherit my father's speedmaster but every 5 years or so the chronograph goes and invariably it needs something else done like a seal replaced. So what would be your choice for a watch to last a lifetime?
Those are interesting questions you pose... But I will have to admit that I have essentially no knowledge of the cost of redoing lume on these watches. I do know that technically any of these can be redone, it's a matter of finding a centre that will do it, and cost. The Seiko has mineral glass but that can be taken off, lume redone, and then glass put back - not necessary to replace for this purpose unless it's scratched and you want new glass... Does that make sense? Of course if the flange seals are due for change then replacing those will be a factor, which is a likelihood for old watches.
Sorry, tend to witter, ex-nuclear physicist still looking for the perfect watch that would probably include tritium. Wouldn't mind seeing a lifetime total cost of ownership; anything by citizen over 10 years can't get parts yet my father's omega speedmaster from just after the moon shot is still serviceable though generally at over the price of a citizen. Could a Tag 3000 be re-lumed, what would the rolex cost. Seiko has the parts but no sapphire glass so would crystal replacement be a factor?
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