When did Omega and Lemania stop using radium dials?

Thread: When did Omega and Lemania stop using radium dials?

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  1. #1
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    When did Omega and Lemania stop using radium dials?

    I have a Lemania, probably from the late 50's and I suspect it might have a radium dial, but I'm far from sure. When did Omega/Lemania stop using radium and start using tritium? Alos, how can I check if my dial hars radium or tritium? The dots on the dial with radium/tritium are quite small, and so is the filling in the hands but that doesn't matter, I still want to know.

    A pic of the watch in question.

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    / Imni

  2. #2
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: When did Omega and Lemania stop using radium dials?

    Radium was used from 1913 to 1960
    There after TRITIUM when dial were then makked
    T SWISS T
    OT
    T SWISS T < 25

    Tritium was used from 1960 to 1998
    then Superluminova was used from 2000 latest

    Hope that helps
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  3. #3
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    Re: When did Omega and Lemania stop using radium dials?

    Quote Originally Posted by Imni View Post
    The dots on the dial with radium/tritium are quite small, and so is the filling in the hands but that doesn't matter, I still want to know.
    I've got a couple Soviet era Sportivnie from the 50's on the way that have radium used as the lume. I'm planning on wearing them occasionally, but you can see pictures of old watches with burn marks on the dial from the radium where the hands sat in one place for an extended period.

    I just saw one in the Russian forum earlier today that illustrated it nicely but can't find the post right now.

    Edit: I found it, credits to duxbelli for use of the photo of his Sturmanskie. The burn marks are the dark areas at the 4 and 8 position:

    Last edited by OCDood; June 1st, 2013 at 19:33. Reason: pix

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  5. #4
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: When did Omega and Lemania stop using radium dials?

    If your Geiger counter is sophisticated enough, you can tell by the radiation. Radium has a rather longer half life than Tritium so if the watch is still strongly radioactive now, it must be Radium. On top of that, apart from the gamma radioation, Radium emits mainly alpha radiation whereas Tritium is mainly a beta radiation emitter.

    Hartmut Richter

  6. #5
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    Re: When did Omega and Lemania stop using radium dials?

    Quote Originally Posted by HOROLOGIST007 View Post
    Radium was used from 1913 to 1960
    There after TRITIUM when dial were then makked
    T SWISS T
    OT
    T SWISS T < 25

    Tritium was used from 1960 to 1998
    then Superluminova was used from 2000 latest

    Hope that helps
    I know the deal with the "T" markings on the dial. However, some early dials don't have any marking on the dial despite using tritium. For example, the early Railmaster's used radium, but the early Speedmaster's used tritium, even though they are from the same year.

  7. #6
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    Re: When did Omega and Lemania stop using radium dials?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmut Richter View Post
    If your Geiger counter is sophisticated enough, you can tell by the radiation. Radium has a rather longer half life than Tritium so if the watch is still strongly radioactive now, it must be Radium. On top of that, apart from the gamma radioation, Radium emits mainly alpha radiation whereas Tritium is mainly a beta radiation emitter.

    Hartmut Richter
    Great information. I was not aware of the effectiveness of the Geiger counters when it came to such small amounts of radium/tritium found on watch dials.

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