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Author Topic: A question for the experts - original lume colors  (Read 2259 times)

Offline JDS (Ohio)

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A question for the experts - original lume colors
« on: June 27, 2010, 06:28:24 AM »
This might be a question for anyone who was around back in the day and remembers what the ORIGINAL lume colors were like on the cushion case 70's Sea Wolf.

I have this blue dial 1970s Sea Wolf, supposedly NOS when I got it, but it had been sitting forgotten in a case or drawer someplace in Switzerland for 30-35 years, and the crown function was stiff.  So I immediately gave it to my local watchmaker for a general clean & oil service and exam.  When I got it back, it took me a bit to realize it, but the lume pip was now gone.  You can see it in the photo, so it WAS there when I got it, and matched the dial and hand tritium, but soemewhere in the intervening time, it went MIA, either during the service or immediatly after I got it back.  That empty triangle is bugging me just a bit now.

So, as you can see, the tritium is slightly aged to a kind of off white, or very light cream color on the hands and dial.  Note that it is not the same shade as the vintage tritium on my 1960s Sea Wolves, which is more greenish (and still glows some).  If I have someone replace the triangle lume, it MIGHT be possible I suppose for an expert to match it to the origina, agedl stuff that's still there.  But if that isn't feasible, it might be better to relume EVERYTHING, and match it that way. 

So what WAS the original lume color on these?  Was it dead white, as the aged color seems to imply, or more beige/cream?  Or even greenish (something I doubt)?  If it was fully white, I could have someone use either BG-W9 or C1 Super Luminova.   

And who would you guys recommend to do the work?  My local watchmaker is great with the mechanics, and general spiffing up, but I've seen that relume is not his forte.  I thought first of Kent Parks, or maybe IWW, but don't know if Kent is even still operating, I heard he'd cut back recently.  Whoever does the work, I would be downright suicidal if they messed up that pristine blue dial. :o

Thanks in advance for whatever guidance you guys can give.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2010, 06:34:07 AM by JDS (Ohio) »

Offline TJW

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Re: A question for the experts - original lume colors
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2010, 05:50:26 PM »
Sorry to hear about your lume.  Butch's Watch Guy did a great job reluming the hands on my GMT.  The re-lume is perfect from what I can see and the lume he used wasn't bright-white.   I'm sure he could help you out or if not would give you an honest answer about how to proceed.  He's off duty until sometime in August.   Good Luck!  TJW

Offline Nalu

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Re: A question for the experts - original lume colors
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2010, 07:50:25 PM »
John, I think it's aged tritium. IME, tritium develops a patina over time but the color and nature of the patina depends on a number of factors. I'd expect a watch that sat in temp/humidity controlled storage to have the mildest signs of aging - as your photos show. That said, there is often a mismatch between the bezel and the dial due to 'exposure' levels, so one might expect something less than a perfect match.

Personally, I wouldn't relume the dial/hands. Keep it as original as possible. I'd get Jack to put some vintage-look lume in the 12 pip and call it a day. The question is whether to get something that glows or not (IWW offer the choice). For my vintage Speedy, I went with vintage-look lume that glows.

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