Lume Question: Is there a brightness/duration tradeoff?
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  1. #1
    Member bolster's Avatar
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    Lume Question: Is there a brightness/duration tradeoff?

    I had always thought that "good lume" meant it was bright and long lasting, and that a better lume would be both brighter and of longer duration. But then, following a link from another WUS thread I found this page showing a variety of luminescent tape:

    http://identi-tape.com/photolum-tape.htm

    I call to your attention how the brightest options are not the longest lasting, and the ones with the greatest duration are not the brightest. So this makes me wonder, is there a tradeoff? And if so, what is most desirable for a watch...initial brightness or long lasting lume? Please 'enlighten' me.

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    Member sticky's Avatar
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    Re: Lume Question: Is there a brightness/duration tradeoff?

    Can’t say that I’ve ever noticed it. Seiko divers are blindingly bright when you go to bed and are still going strong when the sparrows start to cough the following morning.

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    Re: Lume Question: Is there a brightness/duration tradeoff?

    Quote Originally Posted by bolster View Post
    I had always thought that "good lume" meant it was bright and long lasting, and that a better lume would be both brighter and of longer duration. But then, following a link from another WUS thread I found this page showing a variety of luminescent tape:

    http://identi-tape.com/photolum-tape.htm

    I call to your attention how the brightest options are not the longest lasting, and the ones with the greatest duration are not the brightest. So this makes me wonder, is there a tradeoff? And if so, what is most desirable for a watch...initial brightness or long lasting lume? Please 'enlighten' me.
    Long-lasting for me, what's the point in having strong initial brightness if you can't read it a few hours later?
    Munchie likes this.

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    Re: Lume Question: Is there a brightness/duration tradeoff?

    In my completely unqualified opinion, lume brightness is a factor of two things:

    1. The intensity of the lume
    2. The size of the lume plot

    Of my collection below, the most intense lume arguably belongs to the Sub, the Globemaster, and the Blancpain. However, of those three, only the Blancpain is still readable after 6 hours in the dark, mostly because the lume plots on the hands are enormous. Conversely, the Oris lume intensity isn't quite as bold as the top three, but it also remains readable for about as long as the BP, again, because it has enormous plots of lume on the hands.

    I then look at the Daytona, with its slim hands and tiny batons; I'm lucky if I get an hour out of that.

    And the Snowflake? No amount of UV lights gets that going. I swear, it has the worst lume of any unlumed watch I've ever owned.

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    Member Peteworrall's Avatar
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    Lume Question: Is there a brightness/duration tradeoff?

    I agree with Sticky. Seiko definitely run the masterclass in lume, despite what anyone else says.

    But then you throw GTLS tritium light tubes into the mix. Not technically 'lume' per se, but an equivalent technology. Not as bright as lume at first but they go all night looooong with a steady glow. And keep glowing for many, many years.
    Last edited by Peteworrall; August 17th, 2018 at 22:43.
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    Re: Lume Question: Is there a brightness/duration tradeoff?

    For practical usage, IMO tritium trumps all the others. Rolex and Seiko lume are good, but I've found my Ball watch far more usable in real world scenarios simply because regular lume doesnt really get charged enough during dusk to last at night. It really just works during diving more than for night use.

    Tritium is nowhere near as bright as a fully charged SL lume, but it will stay on and stay legible and consistent no matter what

    As for brighter is shorter, even but not as bright lasts longer, I dont think its universally true.
    jcombs1 and timefleas like this.

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    Member Synequano's Avatar
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    Re: Lume Question: Is there a brightness/duration tradeoff?

    Nothing beats seiko in terms of initial lume brightness and duration

    Panerai's green lume are bright and last through the night,but the post exposure brightness isn't as strong as Seiko

    JLC's lume are abysmal in comparison to those two

    Omega's lume are quite strong too (speedy pro)

  9. #8
    Member bolster's Avatar
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    Re: Lume Question: Is there a brightness/duration tradeoff?

    It's interesting to know which brands people find to have better and worse lume, BUT: what sense can we make from the link I posted above? Is it typical that lume can excel either at initial brightness or duration, but typically can't be best at both? Do manufacturers have to choose between best brightness or best duration, to some degree? That's the impression you get from the varieties of lume tape in the link: if you want performance, you choose either top glow or top duration.

    I have noticed on some watches (and have verified with timed photos) the intial lume after charge is very bright, and :30 minutes later, it's about gone. I've noticed other watches that, after being charged, are bright but not super bright--and they are still glowing well into the night. So I think I've seen some evidence of the either/or phenomenon. But then I've owned other watches (yeah, Seikos) that seemed to be superior on both initial brightness AND duration. I own a Seiko full face lume and it's just a beacon, both at the start, and also well into the night.

    So, I'm stumped.

  10. #9
    Member bolster's Avatar
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    Re: Lume Question: Is there a brightness/duration tradeoff?

    Quote Originally Posted by clyde_frog View Post
    Long-lasting for me, what's the point in having strong initial brightness if you can't read it a few hours later?
    Well, I suppose a diver who will be down for :20 minutes would prefer a strong initial brightness and wouldn't care too much how the watch is glowing in a couple of hours because, if he's still down there, he's dead.

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    Member OnlyOneMore's Avatar
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    Re: Lume Question: Is there a brightness/duration tradeoff?

    Quote Originally Posted by bolster View Post
    Well, I suppose a diver who will be down for :20 minutes would prefer a strong initial brightness and wouldn't care too much how the watch is glowing in a couple of hours because, if he's still down there, he's dead.
    That's just it. The lume was designed to be readable for the duration of a dive not to be readable in bed 6 hours later. Just like the bezel wasn't intended to time your steak on the BBQ. It was designed to time your ascent.

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