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Another Tritium Question

  1. DavidLane May 3, 2021

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    I recently acquired a 1973 1016, and I am trying to confirm if the lume on the dial is correct. Under UV it’s does not glow, and does not hold any charge whatsoever. I have other tritium dials that do light up and hold a charge, however none are from Rolex.

    I would like to know if there are tell tale signs via a loupe or macro image to tell if the lume is original or not. I have some time to return the piece if necessary so I would like to be 100% sure it is original it at all possible.

    5102A371-4BA8-41FA-A7DE-932D6B00B2E3.jpeg

    Thank you all in advance.

    -DL
     
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  2. Dan S May 3, 2021

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    Congrats on your new find, David. Dead lume under UV is correct for that era in my experience. I suspect some people may be skeptical about the overfilled lume at 6 and 9, but I have seen numbers like that often enough that it doesn't immediately raise a red flag.

    As you probably know, there are some great craftsmen grinding up old lume and mixing it into new binder, and it's virtually impossible to determine whether that has been done if it's not disclosed. In the late 60s and early 70s sometimes you will see a very nice waffle texture, which isn't often replicated accurately. However, the absence of that texture doesn't really prove that anything is wrong.

    The ability to identify original lume under high magnification based on subtle features of texture, etc, seems to be something that comes after years of observing large numbers of dials under a loupe. There are a few people who might be able to do that using good macro photos. If you can identify them here or on RF, you might want to contact them by direct message.
     
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  3. airansun Seasons will pass you by May 3, 2021

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    I second everything @Dan S said.

    My two cents: I think that lume is original. Your 1016 looks pretty sharp. Congrats!
     
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  4. NotAClue May 3, 2021

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    @Dan S is (one again) right. IMO I find the lume to even. Correct me if I’m wrong but normally (I emphasise normally) the lume on the hands and dial age differently (different thickness and different exposure to the O2 could explain that).

    Under the UV and magnification you should be able to see some sparkling particules of the phosphorus, however. do you?

    let the experts chime in to see what they think. I honestly think it “looks” relumed but I what do I know :thumbsdown:
     
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  5. DavidLane May 3, 2021

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    No sparkles, just flat. The lume does show lighter, however it does not glow under UV. I can post an image later today if need be. I can also shoot a macro. I will be brining it to my watchmaker tomorrow, however he will likely not know if the lume is original. He will just be inspecting the movement.

    -DL
     
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  6. swaini3 May 4, 2021

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  7. DavidLane May 4, 2021

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    Thank you for all the help and links. My watch maker found nothing to be out of line in the inside today and believes the dial to be correct and “untouched”. There seems to be some repetition within the 1972-1974 range and in particular 1973, where the lume bleeds over on the 6 & 9. 2-3 I have seen in the 3.5mil serial range show a very similar flaw.

    I will try and shoot a macro this week and post it here, but I do feel much better. There was a missing screw in the casing clamp ::confused2:: luckily he had one and added it for me.

    -DL
     
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  8. southtexas May 25, 2021

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    I vote good. Any macros?
     
  9. Rado63 May 28, 2021

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    I know your question was about the lume and not the hands and dial, and I am not an expert but the dial and hands do not look original to 1973. If there were questions of repainting the numerals and indices, The style of 3,6,9, presented appears to be more consistent with 80's to me. But that would not change the lume since they were both tritium. Just my .02.
     
  10. vibe May 28, 2021

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    But it is a frogfoot dial, which is appropriate for 1973.
     
  11. Rado63 May 28, 2021

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    Mark I frog foot dials seem to have different 3 , 6 , 9 than what I am noticing here. But as Mentioned, I am only an enthusiast no expert on this. Also we weren't given the serial number for the watch. Also the first E in Explorer appears different than the second E, could just be camera angle.
     
  12. snowflake Jun 1, 2021

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    I'd like to thank DavidLane for starting this thread. I have similar experience with my 5513 from late 80s which doesn't react with a UV radiation. Still, I can tell the tritium lume on my sub is original because the dealer I purchased the watch knows the full history since new and no re-lume has been done. This is consistent with my own observation that the lume still grows very very faintly without charging with light (it should have about 1/8 of the original radiation after 30 years).

    I used the same UV light (wavelength is 365 nm) to test other vintage watches including date just from mid 60s, oyster perpetual date from late 70s, heuer carrera from early 70s, Venus 178 Top Time. They all react well with this UV and the induced illumination went off almost instantaneously.

    My explanation is that the wavelength 365 nm may be too long to activate the pigments used by Rolex in my sub. Rolex may have used at lest two types of tritium lume materials perhaps. I should buy another stronger UV light with much shorter wavelengths.
     
  13. mbeast Jun 1, 2021

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    Here's my 1970 GMT and 1978 Submariner if these are of any assistance. Neither glows at all under normal light.

    Both have 'sparkles' under UV but the GMT has far more - the Sub barely has any.

    20210601_122008.jpg
    Screenshot_20210601-122543_Gallery.jpg
     
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  14. Jkbenn02 Jun 4, 2021

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    Awesome
     
  15. MaxCon Jul 26, 2021

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    Looks good to me.
    A little lume 'bleed' was quite frequent, in that era especially