Are Watches that Glow in the Dark Radioactive?

luminox-lumeMany watches use tritium to illuminate watch hands and markers, making them visible in the dark. Tritium is a radioactive isotope, so there have been some concerns as to its safety. Indeed, watchmakers working with the material are required to do so with special workbenches that are equipped with a vacuum hood to remove small radioactive particles and harmful vapors. Once they are placed inside the watch, however, they pose no further threat to either the assembler or the wearer. 

Despite studies that show that radiation exposure from a watch with tritium is negligible, fear from potential buyers has led some watchmakers to introduce new materials, such as LumiNova and LumiBrite, without radioactive isotopes. While meeting minimum standards for visibility, these materials do not last as long as tritium and also require longer charging periods.

Categories: Swiss Watch Tips & Trivia, Watch Tech, Watch Trends.

Comments (10)

  1. Nice watch! But its not true that all glow in the dark watches are radioactive.

  2. Swiss Watch Wire

    Yes, just tritium watches. That’s the material in question, which is why some materials, without any radioactive isotopes, like LumiNova and LumiBrite, have been introduced.

  3. Wow, I never knew that glow in the dark watches were powered by a radioactive isotope. I guess if they were harmful that would really ruin sales.

  4. HI,
    I think those watches are really a great way to attract any one because those watches are really nice. I have read your article and truly speaking that i am impressed. Anyways keep it up and keep continue with your valuable thoughts.

  5. At the end of the day these watches are going to be 100% safe. I do like the watches with this night glow feature.

  6. From what I understand, all items that glow in the dark are radioactive, whether they are watches or small toys. However, none of these pose a threat to the health of the user as most of them contain such small amounts of the Tritium. You get more radiation from your cell phone than your watch!

  7. Watch

    does anyone know what is the watch’s name in the picture?

  8. Swiss Watch Wire

    It’s a Luminox. I can’t remember the exact name of the model but most models bear a strong family resemblance to what you in that picture.

  9. Excellently amazing and exciting too. Can you please mention me the source of your reference… I am happy that at least somebody gave this subject an attention.

  10. Tritium watches are the way forward! I’ve owned a Nite MX10-212 watch for a couple of years now and the tritium is great. I can see the time so clearly in the dark and unlike some other watches, the tritium comes in a variety of different colours.

    Great article!

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