Radioactive Waltham Watch?

Thread: Radioactive Waltham Watch?

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  1. #1
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    Radioactive Waltham Watch?

    I've been reading the forums for awhile and made my first vintage watch purchase on ebay! I really apperciate this forum in educating on the virtues of watches...

    Anyways, I have a question relating to radioactivity. I've done the whole search deal and looked at example watches with radium paint. This particular watch I won thru ebay is a 1950s era waltham (so I can assume it is NOT) but I want to be sure. I don't have a spare geiger counter laying around so I'm hoping someone can give me peace of mind etc...

    Here are the pics





    It appears to be still green and not the typical whiteish/yellow look of radium. I hope its tritium!

  2. #2
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    Re: Radioactive Waltham Watch?

    Looks Ok to me, it's a 1950's watch and I'm pretty sure that radium was no longer used at this time. Even if it was there is little or no danger as long as you don't put the radium painted dial or hands in your mouth.

    The poor young ladies that painted the hands and dials with radium paint were the ones who developed cancer, they would put the brushes in their mouths to keep them moist and pointed.

  3. #3
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    Re: Radioactive Waltham Watch?

    Radium was still used in the 1950s so your watch may very well have radium on the dial. The way to check would be with a geiger counter.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Radioactive Waltham Watch?

    hey thanks for the responses! I guess I'm going to have to look into a geiger counter. Thanks again.

  6. #5
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    Re: Radioactive Waltham Watch?

    As Jim says, it could be Radium... if it is, do not eat your watch... taken internally Radium can cause great damage. Otherwise it is fairly safe.
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  7. #6
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    Re: Radioactive Waltham Watch?

    Inhaling radium is not such a good idea either!

  8. #7
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    Re: Radioactive Waltham Watch?

    Lets not forget that people lived with these watches the whole lives, without getting any problems.
    Do not worry, enjoy it!

  9. #8
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    Re: Radioactive Waltham Watch?

    Out of curiosity how do you know that they didn't have any problems? You will note that radium is no longer used on watch dials. Why do you suppose that is?

    Here's a good source of information on this subject: Luminous Watch Dial Risks

  10. #9
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    Re: Radioactive Waltham Watch?

    If you remove from the statistics the following: Child deaths, death from simple infections including TB and female deaths due to child birth and associated problems, you will arrive approx. at the same expected lifespan.
    The problems you would get is basically Cancer of the skin, muscles and skeletton in proximity to the source (watch). Basically the left forearm and wrist.
    I am talking the last three generations, wristwatches were not worn before that.
    Many of the pocketwatches were enclosed with a "metal lid", that stopped the radiation I imagine.
    Why Radium use was stopped? I would think to protect the workers in the watch industry?
    Of course, ionising radiation is radiation, "no safe lower limit".
    I recall an interesting Thread in the Russian Forum,(will try to find the name) lots of good points and ideas.

    "Radiation Check? Story inside" it was called!
    Last edited by Janne; October 8th, 2008 at 19:03.

  11. #10
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    Re: Radioactive Waltham Watch?

    well...I'm going to take from this thread is that my watch is probably safe. But if I find out I have wrist cancer, I'm coming for all of you!!

    Thanks, I'm going to read that article.

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