Luminous Watches Current and Past History


Watch hands were treated with radioactive substance called radium since 1910. This material glowed all night in dark, which added to the functionalities of vintage watches. You get to see yellowish or whitish colored paints on numbers, digits or hands of vintage watches. It is a blend of radium, phosphorus material and glue. Radium when dissolved in water, and sold as health tonic, claimed to cure disease and enhances the energy levels. It was a wondrous health elixir in the early phase of 1900.

luminious watch

Radium And Tritium Used For Illuminating In Dark

Young women workers at watch factories painted radium on watch dials and hands. They had to lick the brush tip to attain a fine tip to paint radium material. After few strokes the brush lost its pointed tip and girls again licked it with their tongues. There was ignorance about health hazards related to radioactive materials. It was used to paint nails, teeth and even makeup for an illuminating experience.

In five decades, health dangers started to get exposed in 1968 radium was totally banned.  At this time another radioactive material called Tritium, which was extremely less radioactive started to be used on watch dials and hands.

Non-Radioactive Glow-In-Ddark Material

Today, you will see innovative and safer options used in watches. Luxury branded watches like Panerai Luminor Marina make use of photo-luminescent material. This is a non-radioactive material that is painted on the dials, numerals, and hands. It glows in dark by absorbing light first and then re-emitting brightness. In addition, the glow longevity in the absence of light lasts for seven hours until recharged or exposed to light.

Luminous Watch For Divers

Panerai luminous watches have been helping military divers for more than a century. Military divers swam at shallow depths for long stretches, out of sight and after passing enemy lines came ashore to conclude their military mission like blow a bridge or investigate.  It is crucial for the divers to be familiar with their location and time.

Luminor dial includes a lower disk that bears the luminous substance as well as an upper disk with cut out numerals and indexes. The watch served as a navigational instrument. Even today, many military missions take place under cover in darkness. Brightly luminous dials are very crucial.

In fading daylight, underwater the big dial holding the luminous hands and number is nearly non-reflective and you can read it easily, which is an important requirement. The leather strap of the luxurious Panerai is suitable for water immersion as they are untreated. Today, Panerai has added a few distinguishing features like traveling at different time zone means repositioning hour hand without putting a stop to seconds or minutes hands. Second hand leaps to zero in this process making it easy to synchronize the watch with a radio time signal.

Watches To See In Dark

From an online watch store, The watch you choose to buy will depend on your purpose of seeing in the dark. Consider brightness, style, and precision when you look for luminous timepieces. The brightness level will be the same in a variety of luminous watches but working may be different. Check your options prior to buying.


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