Whether you spend your time working in the dark or you just want to be able to check the time at a glance when you wake up in the middle of the night, watches you can see in the dark can give you exactly what you need.
Surprisingly, there are a number of completely technologies used by different watch manufacturers to provide luminosity – and most watches work in a different way to other watches. Of course, choosing the right one for you can almost be as difficult as finding the queen in a crooked game of three-card-monte (and cost you almost as much money!)
So, today we’re going to look through some of the top luminous watch options on the market and help pick out the best option for you.
Luminox Light Technology – Trusted By The Military
Luminox watches are the crème de la crème of luminous watches. The Luminox Light Technology is so well trusted that the US Navy Seals, US Air Force and US Coast Guard all use Luminox.
The system used in Luminox watches is a self-powered illumination system discovered in the 1980’s. The way this technology works is by using micro gas light tubes, called borosilicate glass capsules, in the hands, the hour markers and, in some cases, the bezel of the watch. The light tubes glow constantly for up to 25 years and keep the watch bright for perfect at-a-glance visibility, even in complete darkness.
The Luminox technology is useful because you don’t need to push a button for it to glow, it doesn’t use any battery life and never needs to be recharged, it simply glows constantly for up to 25 years. The technology is completely safe to use too and is not radioactive.
Luminox have a number of great quality watches, some of the most popular are the ones which have been developed for the military – like the original Luminox watch developed for the Navy Seals, the Model 3001.
The entire Luminox collection includes the Luminox Light Technology including the Luminox Marina 6250 Men’s watch and the Luminox F-117 Nighthawk. Luminox watches are a must have for anyone who needs constant visibility on their watch. Because Luminox watches don’t need to “charge up” in the light they will be visible anytime, anywhere – even if you’re in darkness for over a year! Which just makes them a fantastic choice when hunting for watches you can see in the dark.
Seiko LumiBrite – Awesome Watches, Awesome Brightness
Unlike Luminox, Seiko are not so well known for the luminosity of their watches. However they are a well respected brand, known for producing incredibly high quality watches. If you are considering a Seiko watch, but have concerns that need something more luminous, then you needn’t worry – because Seiko LumiBrite is exactly what you need!
LumiBrite is a recent development in Seiko’s luminous paint which is long-lasting, bright and completely free from radioactive substances. The paint glows brightly when it is first in the dark and then slowly fades.
The luminous paint is fully “charged up” whenever it is exposed to sunlight or artificial light for about 10 minutes. When it is fully charged the light will last for 3-5 hours in the dark, which is over 10 times longer than conventional luminous paint.
A number of Seiko watches feature LumiBrite luminous paint, such as the Seiko SKA369P1 Kinetic Dive Watch and the Seiko SNE331P9 Solar Military Watch. Seiko LumiBrite gives you up to 5 hours of luminosity in any of Seiko’s brilliantly accurate timepieces.
Citizen Natulite – Stylish and Bright!
Citizen’s luminous paint is called Natulite (or Natural Light) and is used in a high number of top quality luminous watches. Citizen are the worlds largest watch manufacturer and they have been at the top of the tree ever since 1986 thanks to their huge range of top quality, affordable watches, producing a large amount of watches you can see in the dark.
The Citizen luminous watches also charge up using sunlight or artificial light, they brightness slowly fades longer you are in the dark. Although Citizen do not specify how long the paint should remain luminous for, reports from users of Citizen watches praise the brightness as well as the length of time it lasts.
Citizen watches right across the range use Natulite luminous paint. This includes the Citizen Royal Marines Commando BN0110-06E Watch and the Citizen Eco-Drive Professional Diver BN0000-04H. So, whether you want a basic, quality watch or something from the very top of the Citizen range, you’ll have something which is visible – even in the darkest of rooms!
Victorinox Night Vision – LED Brightness
Victorinox are most well known for producing the world famous Swiss Army Knife. In the Victorinox watch range they also produce the supremely tough INOX watches and the Chrono Classic, the luminous watches in these ranges use luminous paint on the hour markers and on the hands.
As well as the watches lit by luminous paint, Victorinox also produce the Victorinox Night Vision watch. This watch includes the same luminous paint used on other luminous watches, but also comes with a bright LED light which is activated by pressing a button and lights up the watch – making it more visible in any light! You just push the button on the side of the Victorinox Night Vision watch to light up the LED, if you push the button twice a brighter LED on the perimeter of the watch also lights up. Victorinox state that the brightness of the second LED is visible up to 1 kilometre away – I’m not sure entirely why your watch would be 1 kilometre away from you, but that must require the LED to be incredibly bright!
Casio Luminous Watches – Functional and Always Visible
Casio have an incredible wide range of watches – including the incredibly popular G-Shock range and the stylish Edifice Smartwatches. You might think that you need to sacrifice at-a-glance-visibility when you buy a Casio watch, but thankfully that isn’t the case.
Casio watches use luminous paint which is charged up by fluorescent light, similar to the paint you find in Citizen watches. Casio state that you should expect the glow from the luminous paint to fade at around five hours, depending on the brightness and angle of the light used to charge it. Reports from Baselworld 2013 praised the brightness of the brightness of the luminous paint on the Casio G-Shock watches compared to competing luminous watches.
There are a wide range of Casio Luminous watches, starting with the Casio G-Shock Pilots Watch, which is shock resistant, includes atomic timekeeping and is solar powered. The Casio Pro-Treck Radio Controlled Watch and the Casio Edifice EQW-A1000DB-1AER Stainless Steel Watch also include the bright luminous paint on the hour markers and hands.
Mondaine Tritium – Luminous Swiss-Style
Mondaine are known worldwide for producing incredible watches which show off their proud Swiss heritage. The Mondaine Swiss Railway Watch, which is famous worldwide, and the Mondaine Helvitica Collection.
Mondaine also produce a range of Night Vision watches, which are different from the night vision watch which is produced by Victorinox. The Mondaine Night Vision watches use a substance called Tritium to produce long-lasting light. Tritium is a gas which is used to produce the fluorescent light used in emergency exit signs. The gas is able to produce light continuously for up to 25 years, giving you perfect visibility wherever you are. The Mondaine Night Vision watches come with all of the style, sophistication and reliability that you would expect from a Swiss watchmaker like Mondaine.
There are a number of options for Mondaine Night Vision watches, such as the Mondaine Night Vision Sport, the Mondaine Night Vision Big Date White and the Mondaine Night Vision Big Date Black.
What Other Luminous Watches Are Available
There are a wide range of quality watches you can see in the dark watches on the market today. In fact – you’d probably struggle to find a watch manufacturer who don’t sell at least one luminous watch!
Bulova, who are owned by Citizen, have a number of quality watches you can see in the dark. One of the best being the Bulova Marine Star, which has a stylish design including highly luminous Roman Numeral hour markers.
Pulsar, who are owned by Seiko and use quality Seiko movements in their watches, offer high quality sports watches with luminous markers. The Pulsar Gents WRC Chronograph is just one of the luminous Pulsar watches. Pulsar also use the LumiBrite luminous paint used in other Seiko watches.
If unique and interesting styles are what you are looking for then either the Kahuna Ladies KLS-0083L Watch, the Skagen SKW6085 Leather Gents Watch or the Police Men’s Horizon Watch all use luminous paint and offer a completely unique appearance.
Ball WatchesNight Reading Evolution
The power of micro gas tubes (H₃)
We are proud stockists of Ball Watches which are renowned for being extremely efficient under low lighting or no lighting at all due to the innovative technology they have used in their tritium hands and hour markers. The Self-Powered Micro Gas Tubes (H₃) are a groundbreaking source of light. They are manufactured by means of new Swiss laser technology and provide superior, long life brightness which is 100 times brighter than markers and hands that use the luminous paints. The luminescence has a approximate lifetime which easily reaches 25 years. BALL Watches micro gas tubes do not need recharging from the sun and do not drain batteries cutting out all the charging and low light issues in certain countries, making them some of the highest quality watches you can see in the dark. The brightness of H₃ micro gas lights will deteriorate very slowly over the years however this does not compromise your ability to read a BALL watch quickly and easily in any environment.
How does the technology work?
Ball watches had developed an advanced technology that manages to safely capture tritium gas (H₃) in such a stable form that they are able to use it commercially. The pure tritium gas is completely and safely sealed in a hollow mineral glass tube which is slightly transparent however the tritium gas is not visible it is its reaction when under cold light. The interior walls are coated with luminescent material that gives off cold light when activated by the electrons emitted by the tritium, in much the same way a television screen functions.The small, precise, lightweight H₃ gas tubes are precisely manufactured by means of a CO2 laser. The tubes are then attached to the hands and dial in a secure manner that precludes any risk of breakage. The owner or wearer of a ball watch would not be in any way at risk of any radiation. When assessing risk over the entire life cycle of the watch, the potential irradiation proves to be far smaller than the one which the wearer is inescapably exposed to from naturally occurring radiation and man-made materials.
No one feature works the same on any watch, so its no surprise that one watches you can see in the dark won’t work the same as every other watches you can see in the dark. Which watches you can see in the dark you choose depends on which features matter to you above all others. If brightness is the most important feature to you then you might go for the Victorinox or Luminox watches. If style is most important to you then Mondaine or Skagen might have the watch for you. If precision is most important then Citizen or Seiko may have the watch you are looking for. All manufacturers offer a similar level of brightness but work in a slightly different way, so make sure to check out all the options when searching for watches you can see in the dark!
So, I hope I’ve helped light the way through the different range of luminous watches so that you can find the best one for you!
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