Re-Lumeing of Trench Watches
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  1. #1
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re-Lumeing of Trench Watches

    I thought I would share my research and thought on 're-lumed' early Radium Trench Watches. We see thousands of these now a days with a thick green material covering the , what was a lovely dial.

    I am now quite sure the Radium material originally applied was a grayish white - I can prove this later.

    In time that 'radium' does either two things:
    1) Turns to a lovely rusty reddish orange - the patina color is magnificent (see first watch LHS below)
    2) Crumbles away (like in the hands of the first piece) or is completely removes as can be seen on the second piece from LHS.

    Now the disaster happens. Jewelers and Re-Lumers had never seen an original radium applied dial from 1918s. But they saw the adverts that it glowed BRIGHT GREEN. So that is what they applied.
    In watch 4, we can see this on the hands a horrible dark green, by picture 4 it seems a bit better but still re-lumed



    Here is another example of an original aged Radium dial from 1915


    Here is my 1917 Patria - same as first pictures - SURELY re-lumed! Say picture 3?


    Now we see a modern disaster, which is becoming the typical normal for Trench Watches:


    Of course re-lumers can make it any color, I see white, but its too clean and bright white, I believe the original radium applied was a grayish white.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by HOROLOGIST007; October 14th, 2013 at 01:32.
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

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  2. #2
    Member Noam the Newt's Avatar
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    Re: Re-Lumeing of Trench Watches

    These 'modern disasters' are very sad. They look messy and rushed; though I do appreciate that the lume would be extremely difficult to apply.

    My opinion is that these watches do look excellent with the lume removed (like in some of the first picture), unless the original orange/brown lume is still mostly covering the numerals, in which case I would leave it as it is.

    I know this is probably not 'true' to the watches history/heritage to have the lume missing, but it is something which does not bother me at all.

  3. #3
    Member joeuk's Avatar
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    Re: Re-Lumeing of Trench Watches

    I dont mind them without the lume, but if I was adding lume then an aged look suits it better.

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  5. #4
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Re-Lumeing of Trench Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by joeuk View Post
    I dont mind them without the lume, but if I was adding lume then an aged look suits it better.
    ABSOLUTELY BUT VERY DIFFICULT TO BOTH MATCH AND DO. BUT certainly not green, it should glow green.
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
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    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
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  6. #5
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Re-Lumeing of Trench Watches

    What I used on my Domino hands:





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  7. #6
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Re-Lumeing of Trench Watches

    That does look very correct, good job
    thanks for posting
    a
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
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  8. #7
    Member Emre's Avatar
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    Re: Re-Lumeing of Trench Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Marrick View Post
    What I used on my Domino hands:





    Marrick that looks awsome. Is this the pure color of that ' Aged Orange ' color or did you mix it with something?

    I feel sorry for those rhadium job victims - rhadium girls - when I see these watches even though they really look very cool.

  9. #8
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Re-Lumeing of Trench Watches

    Just straight out of the bottle.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


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  10. #9
    Member Tick Talk's Avatar
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    Re: Re-Lumeing of Trench Watches

    Great topic! As James Bond once said, "as long as the cuffs and collar match". Nothing more off-putting than mismatched color between the dial and hands. I love the look of aged radium which really adds a pop of color. Besides, a vintage watch should look its age. Many are offered with the radium material cleaned off, which doesn't look right IMHO but understandable if the material is flaking or there are real health concerns. I've yet to hear of any tests on residual radioactivity, has anyone?

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  11. #10
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Re-Lumeing of Trench Watches

    No I have not. Those are two outstanding examples of correct ageing. That color is just magnificent.

    Thanks for posting
    a
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

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