Does Tritium Make Sense For A Watch?
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  1. #1
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    Does Tritium Make Sense For A Watch?

    Basically I am just interested in others opinions. Personally I always thought tritium tubes in a watch was a bad idea considering the limited life vs a high quality lume. I have this opinion because of having to replace night sights on various guns over the years. Am I missing something?

  2. #2
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    Re: Does Tritium Make Sense For A Watch?

    I think it kind of does. The watches today are using the tritium filled tubes, much the same as what you see used on various handgun manufacturers night sights. I am not really a fan of how that looks. I have an old Submariner that when I first bought it in 1985 worked great, now not so much. I would love to have the tritium painted dial replaces with another tritium painted dial, but that is not going to happen, so for now I leave it in the dark. I don’t exactly know the issues around the tritium lume that was used in the 80’s and 90’s. It is much weaker than the Radium paint used in the early 1900’s on watch dials, but I am sure still poses an occupational hazard.

    What seemed like an odd coincidence was that while I was in the service with my tritium submariner I was issued a compass which also has a tritium luminous dial. The strange thing about that was when I looked at that compass it turned out to be manufactured by stocker and Yale company, in Beverly MA, the town i grew up in. I still have that compass as well, and it doesn’t glow either.

    So, Yeah!! Tritium is / was awesome in 1985, it would probably be awesome if it were manufactured today into watches and compasses. But when manufactured in 1985, it sucks today.

  3. #3
    Member WhiteSand's Avatar
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    I have a 12+ year old Ball Chronograph which at 3am is an absolute treat to look at. It may not be as bright as full charged lume, but it is so legible with dark-adjusted eyes.
    lvt, Triton9, brandon\ and 3 others like this.

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    Member kennylorenzo's Avatar
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    I agree with the tritium fading on night sights. The tritium sights on my issued sidearm from 25 years ago are completely gone. But if I get half that much life out of tritium tubes on a watch, I'll be happy.

  6. #5
    Member jon_huskisson's Avatar
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    Re: Does Tritium Make Sense For A Watch?

    I believe tritium has a half life of 12 years, so it'll be 24 years until it's completely dead. My understanding is that is significantly better than the life expectancy of regular lume.

    For those of you looking to keep a watch for 25+ years, I suspect the difference is it'll be much cheaper to re-paint lume than to replace tritium tubes.

    I'm not a huge lume fiend, but the three colors of tritium tube on my Ball Nightbreaker are extremely pleasing when I see them at night.

    Sent from my Moto G (5S) Plus using Tapatalk

  7. #6
    Member Elkins45's Avatar
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    Re: Does Tritium Make Sense For A Watch?

    I think it’s totally worth it. At 4am regular lume is unreadable to me but my tritium watches are still bright.

    I believe tritium has a half life of 12 years, so it'll be 24 years until it's completely dead.
    Half life doesn’t work like that. It decreases by half every 12 years, so 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc. In 24 years it will only be 1/4 as bright, but that’s still bright enough to read in a dark room.

  8. #7
    Member judg69's Avatar
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    Re: Does Tritium Make Sense For A Watch?

    I have always worn a watch 24/7 and when retiring for the evening I change over to either my Luminox diver or Vostok K-39 quartz chronograph. Both timepieces have T25 tritium and are easily readable all night.
    brandon\ and Avo like this.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkins45 View Post
    I think it’s totally worth it. At 4am regular lume is unreadable to me but my tritium watches are still bright.

    I believe tritium has a half life of 12 years, so it'll be 24 years until it's completely dead.
    Half life doesn’t work like that. It decreases by half every 12 years, so 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc. In 24 years it will only be 1/4 as bright, but that’s still bright enough to read in a dark room.
    +500

    Also the 4am test is the benchmark most watches don't come close to passing vs. their tritium counterparts. You should patent the test!!!!

  10. #9
    Member ObiWonWD40's Avatar
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    Re: Does Tritium Make Sense For A Watch?

    I find a £1 Led flashlight I bought from eBay works for me.

    Charges the lume up a treat too.

    Best regards,
    Jim
    Retired!! W O R K is a four letter word!
    Jim

  11. #10
    Member SimpleWatchMan's Avatar
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    Re: Does Tritium Make Sense For A Watch?

    To OP question, yes and no for me. Short term night viewing enjoyment, yes. Long term, like 30 years later, no.
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