The Best Luminous Watches – (10 No-Fail Night Illuminated Watches)

29th January, 2021

Starting from the spring-driven clocks of the 15th century to 19 century, one of the problems watch inventors left unresolved was the difficultly to read time in the dark. Towards the end of the 19th century, swiss watch inventors discovered their best watches could be luminous if they painted the hands and dials with natural luminescent paints.

Today, after hundreds of years, we have several thousands of lume watches, and choosing the best luminous(illuminated) watch gets pretty complicated and stressful.


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Best Lume Watch – Suggested Watches With Light

Which watch has the best Lume that provides good legibility in every poor light condition? With many luminous paints and backlighting systems for watches, we carefully selected the best luminous watches for you.

Some watch haves lumens glow brightly than others. If a night glow watch doesn’t provide clear readability of the watch hands, marks, and dial numbers, the color mix is poor.

It could definitely be a poor blend of the dial window background and the color of the illumination light. Here are our top selected best-glow-in-the-dark watches for you.


What Makes Watches Hands Glow?- Watch lume

Watchmakers use different kinds of luminous watch materials in watches, ranging from coatings to glass tubes and to LED techniques. With many photoluminescent materials available for watches, what is the best lume that causes watch hands and dials to light up brilliantly in the dark?

Luminous Coatings

This technique is less harmful to watch wearers. Watch manufacturers use a fluorescent substance that absorbs photons of electromagnetic energy and emits it as light in the dark. When that happens, we see it as a bright glow watch at night.

Various Paint Luminous Substances Exists

Superluminova is the Nemoto invention from Japan, less harmful, and the best non-radioactive luminescent paint. This is the best watch lume for the swiss or geneva seal watchmakers.

Another luminous paint is the Lumibrite- the best luminous paint that Seiko and other citizen watch manufacturers use.


Tritium – Luminous Glass Tubes

Tritium is a chemical element and where it appears on the periodic table shows it is radioactive form of hydrogen – very harmful.

The technique used here is, watch manufacturers fill transparent glass tubes with this radioactive tritium gas – a low energy beta-emitting isotope.

Just to note, Tritium watches glow consistently without losing their luminosity because the tritium is radioactive all the time, the gas gets ionized continuously.

From out little knowledge of radioactivity, the half-life of this tritium element is about 12.32 years. This means it would take at least 12 years for the luminous intensity to fade out. With durable luminescence, you need not worry about reading time in the dark.

What then makes tritium best watches luminous?

It is called tracers – phosphorus coated glass tube filled with tritium gas. The radioactive tritium gas-emitting low energy electrons which get absorbed by phosphorus glass coatings and light up a tritium watch.

This is where the self-illuminating system of Luminox and ball watches originated.


Radium Paints – (Avoid radium watches!)

The best luminous watchmakers today, also used radium to make watches that glow in the dark. The best watches had phosphorus coated hands, dials and marks that absorbed radiation from radium gas in a tube and glows brightly.

But the radium luminous watches turned out to be dangerous to health because radium is radioactive. It has never been safe to wear radium illuminated watches.

Even the best watches with radium lume are highly radioactive,  with a high half-life period. So they radiate when glowing thus causing harm to a wearer than tritium watch.

What replaced radium in watches?

Because of 20th-century radiation poisoning, radium dials have largely been replaced by phosphorescent- or occasionally tritium-based light sources and electroluminescent(EL) sources.

How can I tell if my watch is radium?

Just store your watch in a dark place for 24 hours or more. If the luminous watch still glows brightly in the dark, the lume probably is radioactive, maybe with radium.

If the watch glows brightly after it is exposed to bright light or sun, then it’s not radium.


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