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  1. swish77

    swish77 Jul 17, 2016

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    Is there a rule of thumb on which batches of vintage Speedys still have a little glow left on their tritium dial and hands? I own a 145.012 that still has a faint glow in the dark at times on the dial and hands. And I previously owned a 1969 Speedy that also had a little glow left.

    I'm more into vintage Rolexes, and I have several early and mid-70s pieces that have absolutely no glow on the tritium, but I also know there were a batch of vintage Subs from the mid-'60s that still have some glow left in the tritium because the chemistry was different during that time period. I wondered if anyone knows whether it's the same with certain batches of vintage Speedys.
     
  2. oddboy

    oddboy Zero to Grail+2998 In Six Months Jul 17, 2016

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    Doesn't zero glow mean no tritium? Maybe a GC would help?
     
  3. swish77

    swish77 Jul 17, 2016

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    Well, there's still tritium on my Subs that don't glow at all; it just means there's no life left in the tritium. It's interesting that some from the '60s still have faint glow, but batches from the '70s don't at all. I'd imagine it's the same with Speedys, but maybe not. The tritium on my 1973 Sub 5512 (below) is completely dead, but I still get faint glow on my '67 Speedy. I guess it just all comes down to the different chemistry that was used.
     
    5512-Portrait-TRF.jpg
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  4. spin_transistor

    spin_transistor Jul 17, 2016

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    My 1969 145.022 has a lot of glow left and the batons haven't aged much, still ivory colored. the watch truly looks like it sat in a drawer for most of its life. I'm not aware of any batches that glow more than others.
     
  5. rollingrevolver

    rollingrevolver Jul 17, 2016

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    My 105.003 and 105.012 both produced around 1967 both still glow for a short while in the dark, as does my 165.024 seamaster from 1967. My 60s submariners also used to do that, but my 70s submariners did not, same as @swish77. Probably a different tritium mix as he pointed out, although I do not know if this is also the case for speedmasters from the 70s and beyond.
     
  6. sky21

    sky21 Jul 17, 2016

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    The tritium is not what is glowing on these vintage watches. The tritium merely acts as an energy source for the photo-luminescent paint. The tritium applied in the 60s and 70s surely will have lost all or almost all of its radioactive energy by now so the paint will only glow via a light source hitting it. If there is still any of the paint left on the indices then it will emit a faint glow briefly when hit by a bright light. UV light is best for this, but any light will work somewhat. If the tritium was still active then the paint would actually glow all the time, you would only be able to see it in the dark as intended.
     
  7. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Jul 17, 2016

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    Rather than batches of tritium that glow longer than others do (radioactive decay rates are pretty stable I would say :)) it's more likely that some watches may have service replacements on them that still glow unassisted, while older watches won't. Remember Omega used tritium on watches up until the late 90's, so replacement hands and dials from those times would have been tritium also.

    Cheers, Al
     
  8. swish77

    swish77 Jul 17, 2016

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    Int
    Yes, that's definitely the case sometimes. But I was referring specifically to original dials and hands, and ones that are clearly identifiable as such. I would have assumed that the mixture of tritium and paint for hands/dials that was used by the Swiss watch industry in the '60s and '70s would have pretty much been the same. I wonder why some all-original watches from the '60s still have a little glow left while others, even from the '70s, don't.
     
  9. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Jul 17, 2016

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    Just wondering how original hands, compared to hands replaced say 10 or 15 years down the road and look identical, are clearly identifiable?
     
  10. Foo2rama

    Foo2rama Keeps his worms in a ball instead of a can. Jul 17, 2016

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    Are you talking about charged glow or not charged glow?
     
  11. swish77

    swish77 Jul 17, 2016

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    Easier to tell with the dials, of course, but patina and age/wear on the hands are a big clue. Not definitive, but can certainly help determine. Not sure hands that are 10 to 15 years older/younger would look identical even if they were the same style. If you know the dial is original and the tritium patina is the same on the hands, there's a good chance the hands are original. Mismatched patina is a giveaway. (Plus, the style of the big chrono hand. The ends are different on the earlier hands on the Speedys.)

    Also, the difference in glow intensity dial vs. hands. Older tritium will be more faint than newer, so you might have mismatched glow in the dark compared to the dial, even though both will be faint. I've had watches like that in the past. If the glow is the same on the hands to original dial, they're most likely both original. And then, of course, you have the original-owner watches where the owners know if the hands have been swapped or not during service.
     
    Edited Jul 17, 2016
  12. swish77

    swish77 Jul 17, 2016

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    Intere
    Charged glow, meaning when exposed to light. When my 145.012 has been exposed to light for a while the dial and hands will glow briefly but faintly. You hear a lot of owners of original vintage Speedys say the same. Not so with original vintage Rolexes, except for certain batches of watches in the mid-'60s.
     
  13. Foo2rama

    Foo2rama Keeps his worms in a ball instead of a can. Jul 17, 2016

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    That's normal. Old Tritium lume will glow faintly after being charged for a short time. Basically you have 2 things in tritium lime, the glow and the tritium. The tritium is gone but the stuff that would glow is still there. Basically it it will glow for about 20 seconds and be super faint for a few minutes.
     
  14. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Jul 17, 2016

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    Okay so not "clearly" identifiable by patina. Considering I've ordered hands and dials recently that have date codes back far more than 10 years, it's very possible that hands don't change in style in that time. Remember we are talking about proper replacements for a specific model, not the evolution of a model's style fro reference to reference. Omega typically keeps parts on hand for at least 20 years, and often much longer...

    I would not be so sure that an original owner has any clue what was done to the watch decades ago when it was serviced. These watches were viewed very differently when new, and people just wanted things to be functional. I get plenty of watches in that people say have never been serviced, and they clearly have been based on service marks in the case back. We have people here ask about watches that gave clear redials who swear this was never done, yet we know that in the past it was a common thing to have the dial redone at service.

    And lume intensity is the question here so seems like circular reasoning...

    I guess I'm just saying that it's more difficult than some believe to know for certain that what was originally on the watch is still there decades later. For example if you have ever sent a watch to Rolex for service you can be sure the case tube and crown were changed, even if you were not aware of it...

    Cheers, Al
     
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  15. al128

    al128 unsolicited co-moderation giverer Jul 17, 2016

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    however, If there were a batch that had twice the absolute amount of tritium (concentration) in the paint than later batches (e.g. different supplier), this batch would still glow just like a batch produced 12.3 years later (1969 vs. 1982)

    ... so while decay rates are pretty stable, they can easily be outsmarted by the turning up the volume-knob ;)

    [​IMG]

    my uneducated guess is that could be true for the mentioned lume vs. year inconsistencies in vintage watches ...
     
  16. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Jul 17, 2016

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    Oh yes, that's the more likely scenario for sure...:rolleyes: