Resetting Patina on 14060 Tritium Dial
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  1. #1
    Member TripleC's Avatar
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    Resetting Patina on 14060 Tritium Dial

    Many of us love the creamy patina that slowly morphs on the indices of the Rolex of old. There's something romantic about having your watch's face age in lock-step with our own face. As we develop more forehead creases and our skin becomes less and less youthful, a tritium lumed watch follows suit.

    My question is: I'd love to have one of the 14060 tritium dialed Subs from the late '80s-early '90s -- but I want to start with fresh white indices. I'm in my mid-30s and would enjoy seeing the indices patina as I grow older. Is there a way to achieve this? Or will any service dial be filled with Luminova?
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  2. #2
    Member Kirk B's Avatar
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    Re: Resetting Patina on 14060 Tritium Dial

    I think you'd need to either find a watch that hasn't aged much, patina does vary from example to example, or maybe you'd need to try to find a new old stock (NOS) dial. But I think any dial you would find would be at least 20 years old and thus would have some patina to it already...

  3. #3
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    Re: Resetting Patina on 14060 Tritium Dial

    Quote Originally Posted by TripleC View Post
    Many of us love the creamy patina that slowly morphs on the indices of the Rolex of old. There's something romantic about having your watch's face age in lock-step with our own face. As we develop more forehead creases and our skin becomes less and less youthful, a tritium lumed watch follows suit.

    My question is: I'd love to have one of the 14060 tritium dialed Subs from the late '80s-early '90s -- but I want to start with fresh white indices. I'm in my mid-30s and would enjoy seeing the indices patina as I grow older. Is there a way to achieve this? Or will any service dial be filled with Luminova?
    You might find a watch from the late 90s just before they switched to luminova material. There are plenty about with white-ish lume, although the lume will be useless of course. Lots of older watches are floating about with tritium service dials, because the original dials were substandard. They cracked, flaked, the lume plots spread, and men in those days were a great deal more sensible.

    However, just buy a newer luminova-equipped watch. The watch is more than just the colour of the lume bits and the rest of the watch will age. If you're looking for a new watch that degrades like the old ones, welll, R&D got rid of that - no more knackered dials, no more lume that dies and becomes useless, no more bezels that fade.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Resetting Patina on 14060 Tritium Dial

    Also worth noting, it's not exactly established fact that photoluminescent painted dials will never patina and age. They haven't been around for very long after all... The fact that you can still find some pretty stark white Tritium dials from the period just before Luminova became widespread in the industry indicates that if Luminova does patina at some point, the earliest watches painted with the stuff are probably still too young for a patina.

    Just based on their chemical compositions, Luminova certainly won't patina the same way as Tritium, and it's entirely possible that the patina process will take decades longer than the average Tritium dial... But I'd be very surprised if Luminova dials still look brand new after, say, 50 years.

    Since we know the chemical composition is different, I'd assume that instead of a radioactive isotope breaking down, the biggest degrader of photoluminescent paint might also be it's power source... that is to say, direct sunlight. Pretty much any white paint matrix, irregardless of chemical stability, seems to yellow if it gets enough direct sunlight for enough time. So I imagine we'll eventually start seeing some "sun-stained" yellowish Luminova at some point...

    Anyway, long story short, I recommend just getting a Luminova dialed watch, and wearing it outside. Don't forget the sunscreen.
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  6. #5
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    Re: Resetting Patina on 14060 Tritium Dial

    Quote Originally Posted by starter View Post
    Just based on their chemical compositions, Luminova certainly won't patina the same way as Tritium, and it's entirely possible that the patina process will take decades longer than the average Tritium dial... But I'd be very surprised if Luminova dials still look brand new after, say, 50 years.
    This won't be fast enough for today's consumers (it's one reason faux lume patina is so popular). They want to acquire history instantly, which was created (or faked) by someone else. No time to let it develop on your own! Everyone's just too busy.

    Also superluminova isn't popular for accelerated patina-ing because it's harder to signal that the watch is old and has been owned and used over decades. People putting perfectly good Rolex bezel in the oven or a glass of bleach desperately trying to fake age and rough-and-tumble use whilst they sit there in their pants. It's just, a little... sad.
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  7. #6
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    Re: Resetting Patina on 14060 Tritium Dial

    Quote Originally Posted by One-Seventy View Post
    This won't be fast enough for today's consumers (it's one reason faux lume patina is so popular). They want to acquire history instantly, which was created (or faked) by someone else. No time to let it develop on your own! Everyone's just too busy.

    Also superluminova isn't popular for accelerated patina-ing because it's harder to signal that the watch is old and has been owned and used over decades. People putting perfectly good Rolex bezel in the oven or a glass of bleach desperately trying to fake age and rough-and-tumble use whilst they sit there in their pants. It's just, a little... sad.
    I certainly agree with respect to the overall industry. The insta-vintage obsession is definitely corny. However, it appears the OP is interested in a Tritium dial he can gradually age with use over the years. Since even the whitest OEM Tritium dial will be nonfunctional at this point (and well-degraded, white or not), I thought I'd just point out that eventually, a beautifully patinated Luminova dial could be possible... He might just have to work a little harder for it.
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  8. #7
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    Re: Resetting Patina on 14060 Tritium Dial

    Tritium dots may turn yellow quicker when kept stored out of the sun (or if subject to humidity) than when used daily!

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