My findings regarding grey/gray/dark/black lume on watches

Thread: My findings regarding grey/gray/dark/black lume on watches

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  1. #1
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    My findings regarding grey/gray/dark/black lume on watches

    Hello all! I am a relative watch newbie, but I just want to share with you all my findings when investigating grey/gray lume. This type of lume has a grey/gray appearance in daylight conditions, but has some lume qualities allowing it to glow when in a dark setting. I had an interesting time trying to learn about grey/gray lume, and I’ve found some things about it that may be helpful to a watch novice. I would like to share this with you all since finding the information proved somewhat difficult.


    I realize some WIS experts may already know everything about grey lume, so it’s likely I’m repeating items that some experts may believe to be obvious. However, searching Google.com for “gray watch lume” doesn’t yield many results, so hopefully this thread will become useful to other watch newbies. My findings center around the company Tritec and their Super-Luminova brand of afterglow pigments. I realize there are other manufacturers of lume, but my findings of grey/gray lume are based on the lume produced by Tritec.


    It has been suggested to me that I do not mention the history for what is driving my investigation into grey/gray lume. As a result, I will not post any pictures of my watch since doing so would expose the brand name of the watch that I own. And, I will not discuss any end-customer vendors and service providers in this thread as to avoid any conflict of interest where I could be accused of advertising products or services. I do not wish to be banned for discussing grey and black lume. I joined WUS to learn about watches, and I wish to share my findings to others who may wish to learn about grey/gray lume.


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    Finding #1: What is grey/gray lume?
    A quick background of grey/dark lume – you’ll often find the use of this type of lume for aesthetic reasons. Many stealth watches employ it in order to execute a dark face and hands in the watch appearance. Similarly, grey lume may be used as a design element to make a regular watch more fashionable (such as a white dial with black numbers). I am not posting this thread to discuss the merits of fashion; it’s up to you to decide what type of watch design interests you.


    It is possible that some watchmakers may intentionally put no lume at all on their stealth watch in order for the watch to be even more “stealthy.” However, a watchmaker may choose to apply grey lume to the dial and hands so the stealth watch can be visible in low-light settings. If the watchmaker states that there is no lume on their watch, then it is reasonable for you to expect that it will not glow. But if the watchmaker asserts the application of grey lume to their watch, you should expect that the watch will glow in a dark setting. However, the intensity and duration of glow for grey lume is diminished when comparing to regular lume.


    Grey/gray lume is basically regular lume that has a thin layer of grey or dark paint applied. The result is that the daylight appearance of the lume is the color of the paint, but the application of paint is thin enough that the lume is able to shine through to be visible in the dark. Thus, grey/gray lume will not glow as brightly as traditional lume. And, the duration of glow will be less than regular lume. However, if properly applied it is reasonable to expect two to four (2 to 4) hours of visible glow.


    Here is an example of a watch that has grey lume applied on the dial hour-numbers, but has traditional lume applied to the hands and hour-markers. I wish to point out that this is not my watch. This was a photograph example provided to me. As you can see, the hour-numbers glow with much less intensity than regular lume.





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    Finding #2: Grey lume has luminous qualities that can last many hours.
    It is often assumed that stealth watches with grey lume (or watches re-finished with grey lume) do not have luminous qualities. Or it is believed that grey lume will not glow beyond 10 minutes. These assumptions are not true!


    From what I have found, properly applied grey lume is indeed luminous, and the glowing will last several hours as perceived by human eyes. But, the dark lume will be less pragmatic since it will glow less brightly and the glow will last for a shorter duration than traditional lume. It is also possible for a watchmaker to mix in small amounts of dark blue or green lume with the application of grey lume. If done properly, this will further enhance the lume qualities of the watch while preserving the stealth appearance.


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    Finding #3: Grey lume is not merely reflective paint
    It seems there is a misconception that grey lume is merely a reflective paint. Similarly, some believe that the “glowing” properties of grey lume are due to ambient light being reflected by the lume. This is incorrect. As stated in finding #1, grey lume has paint applied to a base-lume in a manner to provide a grey appearance in normal lighting conditions. So, it is true that in well-lit conditions, the grey paint application on the lume will result in the reflection of light where a human would perceive a grey color when viewing the watch with his/her eyes. However, in low/no light settings the luminous properties of grey lume would emit some light (provided the lume is charged).


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    Finding #4: Grey lume does not require any special methods to charge, but may take longer to charge versus regular lume
    Like regular lume, sunlight remains a very effective way to charge grey lume. Similarly, you can use fluorescent light bulbs and ultraviolet lights to charge the grey lume. However, bear in mind the grey lume may require a bit more time to charge since the grey paint application limits the exposure of the underlying lume to the light-radiation.


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    Thanks for reading! I wish to to thank the WUS members who provided me with information so I could compile this post. I think it’s great that this forum exists so we have a place to learn about this interesting hobby. I hope this post was helpful!
    Last edited by holeydonut; May 24th, 2009 at 20:58.

  2. #2
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    Re: My findings regarding grey/dark/black lume on watches

    Very informative, thanks!

    And the Breitling lume pic is awesome!

  3. #3
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    Re: My findings regarding grey/dark/black lume on watches

    Oh, and I forgot this...

    There are many shades of grey/black lume. This chart from Tritec should help you chose the right color should you ever decide to re-lume your watch.

    http://www.rctritec.com/typo3temp/c38afdc572.jpg

  4. #4
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    Question Re: My findings regarding grey/dark/black lume on watches

    Quote Originally Posted by holeydonut View Post
    Oh, and I forgot this...

    There are many shades of grey/black lume. This chart from Tritec should help you chose the right color should you ever decide to re-lume your watch.

    http://www.rctritec.com/typo3temp/c38afdc572.jpg
    Thanks a lot for the information and the link.


    I am looking for a sandwich dial with grey or black lume. Does anyone where to find some?

  5. #5
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    Re: My findings regarding grey/gray/dark/black lume on watches

    Awesome post and research there. This should be posted in the dive watch forum for sure! I truly love that B-ling to death!!!

  6. #6
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    Re: My findings regarding grey/gray/dark/black lume on watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Beyond 'The Box' View Post
    I truly love that B-ling to death!!!

    Oh yeah! Forgot about it. The lumes on the bezel are amazing! And truly something for a divers watch.

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