Anybody Done a Tritium Relume yet????
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  1. #1
    Member Burgs's Avatar
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    Anybody Done a Tritium Relume yet????

    Howdy to All,

    I have a Ball Trieste that I've owned since new for about 10 years. I have no idea how long its tritium vials were around before I got it from the AD, but the tritium is getting very dim. At this point you really need to have dark adjusted eyes before it's usefully legible.

    So my question is, has anybody had a Ball watch sent back for a relume yet?
    Ball has previously stated that the charge would be "reasonable", but I'm not sure what "reasonable" would be with 60+ tritium vials involved.
    I'm also interested in the time needed to effect the upgrade. I had to send it back to Ball USA for a warranty repair, who then sent it to Ball Switzerland, who sort of forgot about it, and it was gone almost 5 months.

    Thanks in advance for your input.
    Cordially,
    ~Burgs

    "I've been up early my whole life, and all that ever did was increase the amount of time during the day that something could go wrong."
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  2. #2
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    I've got a 12 year old original UTC "error dial" DLC tri lume Night Train and it still lights up the room. I would think it could be quite costly to get 63 new tubes on that dial.

  3. #3
    Member PetrosD's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody Done a Tritium Relume yet????

    I haven't had to do a relume yet, but my experience with Ball USA and Ball Switzerland was similar, about 4 months.

    If you have a local AD that you can send it back through, I recommend doing that. At least then you have a local advocate that can check on status for you. I'm fortunate to have one nearby and used them to ship back a warranty repair even though I had bought it direct from Ball on a pre-order.
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  5. #4
    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody Done a Tritium Relume yet????

    I have had one of my watches re-lumed, not because the lume had weakened, but because a watch repair guy broke two of the tubes doing a "service", so I needed two tubes replaced. Of course, though, replacing only two, and leaving the others untouched didn't make sense, so, I had the whole dial re-lumed. However, I really don't like Ball headquarter's service all that much (expensive, long, and often more than you really needed, in all ways). Others here have had their tubes replaced, and a year or two ago, it averaged about $20 per tube--OK, if you only have a few, but 60...

    Anyways, I prefer using a watch maker/repairer/lumer in Hong Kong--Raymond Li and his company called Bonding. While Ball will usually only re-lume using the original color scheme, Li's group will lume with the colors of your choice, while providing recommendations, since the colors differ in luminosity strengths, where you don't want a weak tube on the hands, and strong ones as the outliers. The watch in question was my fabulous Flying Scotsman--here it is with the new lumes--my own color scheme choice (the original was all green except red at the 12). This is a Trainmaster, and uses "pips"--they of course can do the tubes laid flat, or upright, as the pips are.

    The first photo shows the broken tubes, then there are a couple of shots of three (of my four) Ball watches: the Fireman, with original tubes, dated 2006; my Cannonball, dated 2007, also original tubes, and; the 2012 Flying Scotsman, with even newer tubes (put in two years ago). Though the Fireman looks fainter than the others in the group shot, it is actually still quite bright, and is the one I usually wear to the movies and similar dark situations--I've included a separate photo of it taken in April of this year--still pretty bright! As for cost--Bonding also charged me about $20 each--which includes opening the case, removing the movement, removing the old tubes, setting in new tubes, reassembling and calibrating--all done and returned over international waters within a month's time. The Flying Scotsman does look the brightest of the group, most easily seen by looking at the hands--all three use basically the same style, size and intensity green hands.
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    Last edited by timefleas; July 18th, 2019 at 16:46.
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  6. #5
    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody Done a Tritium Relume yet????

    Great choice of watches.

    I have an older Fireman that needs some tritium rejuvenation so I just bookmarked his company, tradeeasy.com, so I will check him out.

    Thanks.
    Burgs likes this.
    "Either he's dead or my watch has stopped"
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  7. #6
    Member roberev's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody Done a Tritium Relume yet????

    Great stuff! My Ball for BMW has incredibly weak lume. I would love to upgrade the tubes to a brighter green, just for utility's sake. I'll check out Bonding.
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  8. #7
    Member gto05z's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody Done a Tritium Relume yet????

    considering trit vials are about $6-$7.50 each, it would be $378 at a minimum just for the vials, then you have labour etc on top, I would imagine you be looking at close to 1000 to get it done, the reason I would never buy a tritium watch
    Burgs likes this.
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  9. #8
    Member Dogbert_is_fat's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody Done a Tritium Relume yet????

    Quote Originally Posted by timefleas View Post
    <Snip>
    I have had one of my watches re-lumed, not because the lume had weakened, but because a watch repair guy broke two of the tubes doing a "service"....
    ::
    Anyways, I prefer using a watch maker/repairer/lumer in Hong Kong--Raymond Li and his company called Bonding. While Ball will usually only re-lume using the original color scheme, Li's group will lume with the colors of your choice, while providing recommendations, since the colors differ in luminosity strengths, where you don't want a weak tube on the hands, and strong ones as the outliers.
    .
    Thanks @timefleas! Although my Ball Watch is not nearly as old, it is good to understand the process you went through and for sharing it with us here. I have Bonding HK saved as my browser favourite so I can find it when I need to. Thanks again!
    Burgs likes this.

  10. #9
    Member Vetinari67's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody Done a Tritium Relume yet????

    Quote Originally Posted by timefleas View Post
    Anyways, I prefer using a watch maker/repairer/lumer in Hong Kong--Raymond Li and his company called Bonding. While Ball will usually only re-lume using the original color scheme, Li's group will lume with the colors of your choice, while providing recommendations, since the colors differ in luminosity strengths, where you don't want a weak tube on the hands, and strong ones as the outliers. The watch in question was my fabulous Flying Scotsman--here it is with the new lumes--my own color scheme choice (the original was all green except red at the 12). This is a Trainmaster, and uses "pips"--they of course can do the tubes laid flat, or upright, as the pips are.
    Thanks from me too, Timefleas. A few years ago when sending my Fireman Gen 1 in for a service, I asked Ball how much it would cost to replace all the tritium tubes, and I balked at the cost. Good to have an alternative.

    Ps. that black dial version you have is probably my favourite out of all the Fireman Gen 1s!
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  11. #10
    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody Done a Tritium Relume yet????

    Not for everyone, but I sure like mine.
    Burgs likes this.
    "Either he's dead or my watch has stopped"
    Groucho Marx

    "The only reason for time is so that everything does not happen at once..."
    Albert Einstein

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