Does "Charging" the Lume Shorten Its Life?

Thread: Does "Charging" the Lume Shorten Its Life?

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  1. #1
    Member gaijin's Avatar
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    Does "Charging" the Lume Shorten Its Life?

    I'm talking about painted on lume - Superluminova, etc.

    This type of lume deteriorates with age, right? Some luminous paints are better than others, but old watches lose their lume, thus the requirement to reluminize if full lume performance is desired.

    What is the root cause of this loss of lume?

    Is it just time (age)? If so, then no matter how many hours the lume is outdoors in sunlight, or how many times it is "charged" with a flashlight or UV source, the lume will simply deteriorate with age. If this is the case, then we can "charge" our lume with reckless abandon and not worry about shortening its useful life.

    Or is it usage? The more the lume is used, the shorter its life. If this is the case, then a watch stored in the dark should exhibit longer lume life than a watch which sees a lot of daylight or is otherwise "charged." If this is the case, then every time we "charge" the lume on a watch we are shortening the lume's life.

    Does anyone know the aging mechanism for lume paints and which case above pertains?

    TIA

  2. #2
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    Re: Does "Charging" the Lume Shorten Its Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by gaijin View Post
    ..no matter how many hours the lume is outdoors in sunlight, or how many times it is "charged" with a flashlight or UV source, the lume will simply deteriorate with age. If this is the case, then we can "charge" our lume with reckless abandon and not worry about shortening its useful life.
    In essence, multiple 'chargings' and 'discharges' of the lume do not shorten its life.

    The luminous pigment molecules contain electrons which are given a shot of energy when they are exposed to light. Normal pigments re-emit this energy instantaneously, as light with a wavelength equivalent to the colour of that particular pigment; but luminous pigments take a while to release the energy. Also as visible light, but faint and over a long period of time. Some pigment molecules in the mix will release this energy after seconds or minutes, others will take many hours. So you get that long term glow from the pigment, as a whole. The luminous pigment is almost a storage battery for the light it received perhaps hours earlier.

    The pigments can deteriorate over time, it is true. Any pigment can fade. But it will take a long time, literally decades. What also happens is that the resins which bind or stick the pigment together, and to the surface of the watch dial, can also deteriorate. They yellow and discolour, and also decompose so releasing the pigment. This used to happen after 20 or 25 years, but pigment and resin/binder technology has improved vastly so you get many decades now.

    Short answer is: do not worry in the slightest about it!
    Last edited by G M Fude; November 28th, 2007 at 09:11.
    Steve

  3. #3

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    Re: Does "Charging" the Lume Shorten Its Life?

    I'm not sure I wouldn't worry at all. You hear of the odd Omega with yellowed lume after about 5 years!

    Tom

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  5. #4
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    Re: Does "Charging" the Lume Shorten Its Life?

    I've read in a few places that superluminova would yellow when exposed to moisture.

    Here's an 9 year old SMP vs 2 yo Pam90, really there's no difference in lume intensity and endurance between the 2.


    Here's the SMP, with lume to me still look like the ones new in shop windows.

  6. #5

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    Re: Does "Charging" the Lume Shorten Its Life?

    Yeah I wouldn't worry about it, if it is weak in a few years - relume it!

  7. #6

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    Re: Does "Charging" the Lume Shorten Its Life?

    I can tell you that the Lume on a Seamaster starts to fade to a point that you might want to do something about it after about 8 years.

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