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Thread: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

  1. #1
    Craftsman simonsays's Avatar
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    Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    i was wondering if anyone has any glow left in there tritium dial Rolex's, perticularly the matt dial subs and sea dwellers? If not why not. Omega dials and many others still pump out a bit, if only for a few seconds so whats the deal here?

  2. #2
    Master
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    My old man's 69 5513 will still glow a little bit due to the mixture they used back then. It's generally only these early ones that still glow, anything newer than that, even if it's the last of the trit dials, probably won't still glow. I'm talking Rolex here - I've not had other tritium dialed watches.

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    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    I have a '63 GMT that does (albeit faintly), and an '82 SD that doesn't. Go figure!

    Edit: Confirms the above, in fact.

  4. #4

    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    my 1997 Sub with tritium definately still glows, not to long of course and hardly on it's own, but when worn outside on a sunny / light day and coming inside the house, the glow is quite bright.

  5. #5
    Craftsman simonsays's Avatar
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    maybe Rolex could take a leaf out of Sinns book and include a torch in the box? ooh i've been promoted!

  6. #6

    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    yes you have been promoted, not to sure if you would be happy with your promotion....

    what does it matter if it glows faintly or hardly or whatever. The glow is useless for diving in both cases, you can be happy if you can tell the time with it in the dark...i can, hardly....

  7. #7
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    I have a few vintage Rolex and Tudor (dates from memory here):

    Rolex GMT Master 1675 c.1967 - no glow at all
    Rolex Sub 16800 c.1981 - no glow at all
    Tudor Sub 79090 - c.1980s - no glow at all
    Tudor chrono c.1998 - no glow at all
    Tudor Sub 7016 c.1969 - very brief, very dull glow

    And yes, oddly enough, my 1969 Speedmaster is actually quite bright, at least for about 5 seconds.

  8. #8
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by cmcm3
    My old man's 69 5513 will still glow a little bit due to the mixture they used back then. It's generally only these early ones that still glow...
    My 5512 does nothing. :?

  9. #9
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaim
    yes you have been promoted, not to sure if you would be happy with your promotion....

    what does it matter if it glows faintly or hardly or whatever. The glow is useless for diving in both cases, you can be happy if you can tell the time with it in the dark...i can, hardly....
    Who dives wearing vintage? No-one I suspect :roll:

    Anyway, interesting question by the OP, if only to compare notes and gain some understanding of what one might expect of an old tritium dial.

  10. #10

    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by simonsays
    i was wondering if anyone has any glow left in there tritium dial Rolex's, perticularly the matt dial subs and sea dwellers? If not why not. Omega dials and many others still pump out a bit, if only for a few seconds so whats the deal here?
    I have two that still glows. One from 1996 (but it have to be very dark to see it), and one from 1992 that glows really good.

    Best,

    A

  11. #11

    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Mi Shu
    Quote Originally Posted by cmcm3
    My old man's 69 5513 will still glow a little bit due to the mixture they used back then. It's generally only these early ones that still glow...
    My 5512 does nothing. :?
    Now now, I am very sure that is not true ;)

    All my 90's onwards trit dial Rolex watches glowed - some not a lot but they glowed.

    All my 80's Rolex trit dials didn't glow - but I must admit I never even tried any of the 1665's I've owned. & I've never owned a 60's Rolex.
    It's just a matter of time...

  12. #12
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omegamanic
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Mi Shu
    Quote Originally Posted by cmcm3
    My old man's 69 5513 will still glow a little bit due to the mixture they used back then. It's generally only these early ones that still glow...
    My 5512 does nothing. :?
    Now now, I am very sure that is not true ;)
    Lume-wise I meant. :wink:

  13. #13

    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    I have a 1984 Tudor Sub that I initially thought had nothing at all left. However, once your eyes are full dark adjusted there is a very faint glow.

  14. #14
    Craftsman simonsays's Avatar
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by learningtofly
    I have a '63 GMT that does (albeit faintly), and an '82 SD that doesn't. Go figure!

    Edit: Confirms the above, in fact.

    my 80XXXXX series SD has no glow either, its the second of the matt dial types with the 12 o'clock index touching the (Rolex)crown

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    Master Shakespeare's Avatar
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaim
    my 1997 Sub with tritium definately still glows, not to long of course and hardly on it's own, but when worn outside on a sunny / light day and coming inside the house, the glow is quite bright.
    Ditto for my 1998 GMT

  16. #16
    Master Gruntfuttock's Avatar
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    No one buys an old Rolex to use it in the dark. You can't see how [s:12ivfv4p]expensive[/s:12ivfv4p] old it is can you?

    While we are on this subject, how long is Luminova and Super-Luminova supposed to last? I think they only started using it in the 90's(?) so early watches should now be out-glowing the last Tritium generation.

  17. #17
    Master lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Need to see the time on your Rolex in the dark?

    Use a lighter...


  18. #18
    Master
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by marcus fenix
    I have a 1984 Tudor Sub that I initially thought had nothing at all left. However, once your eyes are full dark adjusted there is a very faint glow.
    My similarly aged Tudor Sub was exactly the same.

  19. #19
    Master Thewatchbloke's Avatar
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gruntfuttock
    No one buys an old Rolex to use it in the dark. You can't see how [s:1a925yje]expensive[/s:1a925yje] old it is can you?

    While we are on this subject, how long is Luminova and Super-Luminova supposed to last? I think they only started using it in the 90's(?) so early watches should now be out-glowing the last Tritium generation.
    I think Seiko was using luminova in the sixties and my 1965 62mas still glows for a while after being subjected to a light source.

  20. #20

    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cannop
    I think Seiko was using luminova in the sixties and my 1965 62mas still glows for a while after being subjected to a light source.
    Luminova was only developed in the nineties. Seiko was just using tritium in the sixties.

  21. #21
    Master
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    A friend recently showed me his Rolex 6536. from the early 60's or late 50s. It glowed quite brightly after being held under a lamp, for about 3 minutes, then very quickly faded:


    Personally, whilst I'd love to have a 1665 SD, I'd prefer to have one with a Luminova service dial and hands, which has the twin benefits of being cheaper, and more useful.

  22. #22
    Master lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaim
    Quote Originally Posted by Cannop
    I think Seiko was using luminova in the sixties and my 1965 62mas still glows for a while after being subjected to a light source.
    Luminova was only developed in the nineties. Seiko was just using tritium in the sixties.
    Along with plain copper dopped zinc sulfide.

    Any tritium paint that glows for less than 5 minutes after being exposed to light, has lost all of the tritium source energy and the glow is due to the phosphorescence is the zinc sulfide alone...

  23. #23
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Not a sausage.
    Cheers,
    Neil.

    My Speedmaster website:

    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  24. #24
    Master Thewatchbloke's Avatar
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaim
    Quote Originally Posted by Cannop
    I think Seiko was using luminova in the sixties and my 1965 62mas still glows for a while after being subjected to a light source.
    Luminova was only developed in the nineties. Seiko was just using tritium in the sixties.
    Ah right, I assumed it couldn't be tritium as it still glowed! I originaly thought mine must have had a relume even though it looked completely stock, but after discussion with other owners of '60's Seiko's it seems that original undamaged lume will still glow for a short period after being subjected to a light source.

  25. #25
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    Re: Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    I have a 1992 GMT master2 and a 1986 GMT master. Both still glow and the time can be read off them. Both are tritium.

  26. #26
    Master huytonman's Avatar
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    resurrection!

    I started wearing my 1968 5513 last week after buying it last year; the bracelet was stretched and I didnt want to risk using it. Anyway the bracelet is off for a refurb and ive stuck the 5513 on an aftermarket oyster for the time being. Anyway I noticed last week that the dial still retained some glow, albeit briefly and quite dimly and being Tritium the amount of active radioactivity should be too low to produce a glow so my worry head was switched in and it occurred to me that the dial and hands had had a relume which the seller assured me wasn't the case. So I did a bit of research and concluded that the luminosity was coming from the compound that was mixed with the tritium, I assume zinc sulfide and that this provided a weak level of photoluminescence when exposed to bright sunlight, interestingly the pearl has obviously been replaced and this glows like a light bulb after exposure to light.

    Today I came across this thread which implies that my conclusion was correct and as it was a few years ago since it last came up I wondered if anybody else has seen this with their sixties Tritium Rolex? Its still possible of course that the watch has been relumed but as I bought it from the original buyer who had treasured it for the best part of fifty years I dont think he would have pulled a fast one but who knows what Rolex did during servicing in the past (its been in their hands four times since 1968).
    Keith

  27. #27
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huytonman View Post
    I started wearing my 1968 5513 last week after buying it last year; the bracelet was stretched and I didnt want to risk using it. Anyway the bracelet is off for a refurb and ive stuck the 5513 on an aftermarket oyster for the time being. Anyway I noticed last week that the dial still retained some glow, albeit briefly and quite dimly and being Tritium the amount of active radioactivity should be too low to produce a glow so my worry head was switched in and it occurred to me that the dial and hands had had a relume which the seller assured me wasn't the case. So I did a bit of research and concluded that the luminosity was coming from the compound that was mixed with the tritium, I assume zinc sulfide and that this provided a weak level of photoluminescence when exposed to bright sunlight, interestingly the pearl has obviously been replaced and this glows like a light bulb after exposure to light.

    Today I came across this thread which implies that my conclusion was correct and as it was a few years ago since it last came up I wondered if anybody else has seen this with their sixties Tritium Rolex? Its still possible of course that the watch has been relumed but as I bought it from the original buyer who had treasured it for the best part of fifty years I dont think he would have pulled a fast one but who knows what Rolex did during servicing in the past (its been in their hands four times since 1968).
    Keith

    My meters first 5513 has a better Lume than all of my 70's and 80's Rolex.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  28. #28
    Master pinpull's Avatar
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    Do Rolex Tritium Dials Still Glow?

    My '83 16800 has the merest of a glow on the hands only.

    Some determination, and a great deal of blinking, will provide the time, but only in complete darkness!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  29. #29
    Master reggie747's Avatar
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    I have a '93 Explorer II tritium which still shows a reasonably feint glow at 6 in the morning with the curtains closed. If I put my readers on I can tell the time no problem.
    My Y serial 14270 glows like a torch at similar timings, no glasses required on that one.

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