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Watch illumination systems

April 20, 2017 3 min read

Watch illumination systems

Hello followers!

Today in our blog we are going to explain the different types of watch illumination system.  

One of the most important watch innovations was to include an illumination system. It all started for a military use, as it became popular when being used in shotguns in order to obtain better accuracy. Years later, this luminescence became essential for watches. However, do you know what really gets our watches glowing?  

Do not miss this post if you want to learn what four systems make our watches glow in the dark!

  • The origins:

The using of luminescence in watches was possible thanks to radium. Radium is very radioactive, making a product glow constantly. However this high level of radiation can be aggressive with the watch users and with workers that manufactured this material.

Tritium was radium's substitute. This material supported constant luminescence and was not as radioactive as radium. Currently, we still can find a few watches that use this material. You will be able to tell them apart thanks to the indication T Swiss Made Ton their dials

There was then a need of finding a system that gave this same function without radioactivity. Nowadays we have two systems that allow the luminescence on our watches without making them harmful: Superluminova and gas microtubes.

  • Superluminova:

Superluminova is the name of the pigments made of strontium aluminate that makes th watch's bezel, hands and number glow 10 times more than with traditional pigments, without being radioactive or toxic.

Also known as "Luminova" this system was developed by Neomoto and it is also popular in jewelry, aviation and signals.

One of the main advantages we can highlight is its durability. However, it needs to be charged by artificial or natural light.

On the other hand, thanks to technological improvements and the increasing importance of fashion, Superluminova right now is manufactured not just in blue and green tones but in a high variety of colors.

A brand that normally uses this kind of illumination system is Glycine, on its Combat and Airman models.

  • Microtubes:

The laser technology developed for MB-Microtec in Sweden, gave us the last system of watches luminescence: Gas microtubes (H3).

This system is very common on Ball watches. Microtubes are a luminescent glass mineral, these tubes are previously created with laser, fixed into the watch's hands and dial making it imposible to break.

Whad to we obtain? Gas caps allow a higher internal glow, resistant and intense, while it reduces the level of radiation and avoids any kind of damage to the watch user.

It is important to highlight that these watches do not need to be charged with external light, the lights intensity is 100 times more intense than in any other luminescent paint and it can last up until 25 years.

Another brand that that uses this illumination system is Luminox. With LLT (Luminox Light Techology), it is the same gas microtubes technology the one that allows watches to glow constantly being water resistant and without charging.

All of these brands are available at Iguana Sell. Should you have any kind of questions please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be delighted to help you!

Have a great day!

The Iguana Sell Team

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