Humans have a natural inclination to things that glow and sparkle. Thus, it is not surprising that even timepieces have this amazing feature. If you are fond of luminous watches, you might have probably wondered about the science behind them. Let's discover how they came to be and how they work.
First, There Was Radium Paint
This material was invented in 1908. And until the 1960s, timepieces were using radium as lume. What's astonishing about radium is that it can glow for more than 1,600 years, approximately the half-life of the material wherein the luminescence starts to dim. However, the catch is that it's radioactive. Hence, watchmakers opted for safer materials.
Then Came Promethium and Tritium
A few years later, promethium came into the picture. This was a less risky alternative to radium, as it only emits beta particles. However, it only had two and a half years of half-life.
Then, watchmakers resorted to tritium, which was used until the mid-1990s. Though it was a safer substitute for radium, it was classified as a low-energy beta-emitter. Rolex was among those watch brands that utilized tritium through the years. However, tritium paint was banned in 1998. This was when the Swiss watchmaker switched to LumiNova.
LumiNova: The Real Deal
Kenzo Nemoto started selling luminous paint in 1941. After the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing in 1945, the Japanese businessman thought about developing a novel non-radioactive luminescent material. This marked the existence of LumiNova.
A non-hazardous phosphor, it doesn't decay during the timepiece's lifetime. Not to mention, it is also resistant to temperature and environmental factors. LumiNova is around 10 times brighter than standard luminescence and comes with color variations between bright green and bright blue. The former hue was found to glow the brightest, while the latter was renowned for glowing the longest.
LumiNova is under the registered name of Super-LumiNova. The word 'super' implies that it is entirely Swiss-made.
Super-Luminova: How Does it Work?
Though natural light is known to charge the luminescence, reports claim sunlight offers the best effect. Swiss company RC Tritec claims that Super-LumiNova works like a light storage battery. It must be initially 'charged' through light exposure for the material to glow. Once the light contacts the phosphorescent material, the electrons get ignited and start charging quickly. This creates a glow.
Caring for Your Watch's Luminous Feature
The primary purpose of luminous dials and lume markers/hands is to make them readable even in dim light conditions. This is especially true in the dark depths of the ocean. Therefore, it's imperative to give your diver's watch the care and maintenance it deserves.
One way to extend the life of the luminous feature of your watch is by using a UV flashlight. You need to direct the light to the timepiece for a few seconds. It will noticeably glow radiantly and help maintain its luminescence for a more extended period.
Explore the Orvin Field Diver Collection
Among a handful of other advanced features, Orvin’s high-quality utilitarian tool watches spotlight this luminescent aspect as a priority in producing diver's watches. Orvin's luminous markers are designed and guaranteed to far outlive the life of every Orvin diver's timepiece.Check our timepieces showcasing glow-in-the-dark innovation at its finest.