Any way to tell if this is Radium?
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  1. #1
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    Any way to tell if this is Radium?

    Hello,

    I recently purchased this watch online, and while I'm fine with the idea of wearing a Radium-dial watch, I would at least like to know if it's Radium or not. Is there any way to tell aside from using a Geiger counter?

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    I believe the watch was manufactured in the 50s, so I'm assuming it is Radium. Yet, the coloring doesn't seem right to me for aged Radium.

    Did they ever paint numerals with just, well, paint and not a luminescent material? If so, how common was that?

    Any help you can provide would be much appreciated !!

  2. #2
    Member Shum's Avatar
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    Re: Any way to tell if this is Radium?

    Probably a redial and a bad job of a relume. My guess is that it once was a Radium dial but they often get a lot of Radium burns.

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    Re: Any way to tell if this is Radium?

    What makes you think it's a re-dial? I still have the option of returning this if it's not original.

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    Re: Any way to tell if this is Radium?

    Quote Originally Posted by BroomNow View Post
    What makes you think it's a re-dial? I still have the option of returning this if it's not original.
    Well, take a look at the numbers. Looks pretty sloppy for an original. May be just a bad re-lume, still, it's a sloppy job.
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    Re: Any way to tell if this is Radium?

    Quote Originally Posted by BroomNow View Post
    Hello,

    I recently purchased this watch online, and while I'm fine with the idea of wearing a Radium-dial watch, I would at least like to know if it's Radium or not. Is there any way to tell aside from using a Geiger counter?

    Name:  $_57.JPG
Views: 623
Size:  191.5 KB

    I believe the watch was manufactured in the 50s, so I'm assuming it is Radium. Yet, the coloring doesn't seem right to me for aged Radium.

    Did they ever paint numerals with just, well, paint and not a luminescent material? If so, how common was that?

    Any help you can provide would be much appreciated !!
    You could place it on some photography paper in a dark drawer and see if it there is any exposure.

  7. #6
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    Re: Any way to tell if this is Radium?

    The numbers are a little sloppy - which sort of endeared the watch to me... am I crazy? Considering this was advertised as all original, do you think I should return it?

    I wonder how much it would cost to have the face restored, or if that's even possible with this re-lume job...

  8. #7
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    Re: Any way to tell if this is Radium?

    When ever you see a black dial that has no patina to speak of it's more or less a guarantee it's not original and they very uncommon in the day but they fetch the highest prices today. I have no problem with this if it's done right and is honest but the bad relume is a no no for me.

    The odd thing is that there are probably more vintage black dial watches today then actually produced...
    Last edited by Shum; July 13th, 2015 at 00:46.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Any way to tell if this is Radium?

    Thanks, Shum. I suppose I might return it. What's strange to me is I really trust that the seller is not the one who did this - it just doesn't make sense considering his profile and the other items he's selling. And the re-lume job is sloppy enough to convince me it wasn't done by a professional forger. I was pretty convinced that because of this it must be original, and maybe just tinkered with by an owner at some point.

  10. #9
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    Re: Any way to tell if this is Radium?

    Well, lume can be removed... Probably. The question is: have you got anyone who can do it better? Not that it is done well- it's done horribly. The question is, have you got a watchmaker who can properly relume a watch with the end result not looking like that.
    I am not certain (and I have to leave this point without any conclusion) if it is a redial as such- the chapter ring seems to be OK, the script- OK, I think... Though it seems too yellow- someone with more knowledge of Eterna might know if it should be as it is on your watch. I'm leaning towards thinking that it's only the re-luming that's rubbish here, but... Even if the lume would have been applied correctly, I would walk away from this one.
    There are two alternatives- find someone who can relume it properly with "aged" lume, which in terms of colour will fit the dial inscriptions and chapter ring, or just return the watch due to the fact, that it is not in original condition (this should work if the seller claimed it to be a piece which has not been tampered with). Then again, since I get my watches in fleamarkets, I am not that familiar with eBay return procedures.
    Anyway, good luck!
    Last edited by mkws; July 13th, 2015 at 01:14.
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    Re: Any way to tell if this is Radium?

    Thanks, mkws. Yeah, the buyer has a 14 days, no questions-asked-return policy. I do have several watchmakers close-by who specialize in restorations and could probably re-lume it for me, but that does seem to be opening up another can of worms. For instance, once the bad lume job is removed, the choice of a new numeral type/shape/form would seem to be rather arbitrary, unless somehow he can discover the original shape underneath the crappy lume job.

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