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Swiss Tritium Illumination

Tritium luminescence lights up your watches

Emitting a mesmerizing glow in the dark, luminescent watches not only look aesthetically pleasing but also offer practical value by supporting time-telling in low-light conditions.  Being able to tell the time with ease at all times of the day is an important feature that is often overlooked during the process of buying a watch. There are various ways to achieve this effect without using electricity. Some watches use luminescent paint, sometimes known as “lume”. It is charged by absorbing light from its surroundings, allowing it to glow for a couple of hours. Other watches adopt an alternative strategy by using tiny glass tubes filled with tritium gas, allowing the watch dial to glow consistently and autonomously for years. This technology was originally developed by MB Microtec, a Swiss watch company. Due to its advantages over traditional lume, more and more watch manufacturers are incorporating this new technology into their products.
mb-microtec - Army Technology


What is tritium and how is light produced from tritium?

Tritium gas is an isotope of h ydrogen gas and shares many physical characteristics with h ydrogen. It is colorless, odorless, and radioactive. When used for illumination, tritium gas is sealed into a glass tube hermetically with a laser beam. As tritium gas emits electrons during its decay process, the electrons interact with phosphorescent material coated on the inside of the glass tube. This process in turn causes the phosphorescent compound to light up and glow in dim light. The light is maintained by the continuous reaction between electrons emitted by tritium gas and the phosphorescent coating material. The mechanism is the same as that of an electrical fluorescent lamp, except the electrons are supplied by the decaying process of tritium gas instead of a steady electrical current.
When it comes to tritium illumination in watches, there are 2 designations, T25 and T100, that refer to the combined amount of tritium gas sealed into glass tubes. T25 watches contain up to 25 millicuries of tritium gas whereas T100 watches contain up to 100 millicuries of tritium gas. Since T100 watches contain more tritium gas than T25 watches do, there will be more energy generated in T100 watches. This implies that T100 watches are generally brighter, so reading your watch in the dark would be easier. The increased brightness of T100 is easier on your eyes, especially when transitioning from a bright environment to a dark environment. Whether you choose a T25 or T100 watch is based on personal preference. The best way to determine which one you prefer is to directly compare the brightness of a T25 watch versus a T100 watch in the dark.



What are the benefits of using tritium illumination?

The gaseous tritium light source is completely self-powered and reliable as a light source. It emits light steadily and consistently without the need for an external power source. Because of this, tritium illumination technology has been incorporated into many devices and equipment, including those for hiking, diving, military purposes, and emergency services.
One drawback is that tritium gas has a half-life of about 12 years and gas tubes need to be replaced after about 24 years. Note that regular lume needs to be replaced after a certain period of time too. Tritium gas glows less brightly than lume initially but will outshine lume as it fades.




How safe is it?

Normally, tritium gas is confined in a glass tube and no radiation can escape. The tubes are made of Specialize glass and are very hard to break in the first place. If by any chance, there is a breakage and the gas happens to leak out, it is not harmful to your health. Although tritium is radioactive, it has the lowest energy rating of all radioisotopes. The beta radiation it emits is so weak that particles can only travel less than 0.5 cm in the air and is not strong enough to penetrate your skin. Also, once tritium gas is released into the air, it behaves like h ydrogen gas and will quickly rise because it is very light. It is unlikely that you would breathe in the isotope. Let’s say that you happened to inhale deeply during the leakage and tritium gas accidentally enters your body. Under these extreme circumstances, you may receive a dose of radiation equivalent to that of an X-ray at most. Therefore, tritium illumination is considered very safe. There is no need to worry about any adverse health consequences.


Check out Aquatico watches that use tritium illumination

Aquatico’s Tritium Super Charger automatic dive watch is one of the few watches on the market that employs new tritium illumination technology. Its timeless style pleases the eye and serves as a great fashion piece. The watch dial comes in three colors: black, blue, and green. When it comes to functionality, it is built to withstand harsh environments and last for decades. This dive watch can function 1000 meters underwater and has a Swiss-made automatic movement for maximum accuracy and reliability. The dial and hands are equipped with Swiss MB Microtech gaseous tritium light sources that give off a gentle blue glow. With T100 for the dial and T25 for the handset, you will have no problems with time-telling in dark environments. Its double anti-reflecting coating and 43mm diameter enhances legibility and makes the watch easy to read. This is especially useful for divers during underwater excursions. The 120 click bezel “stops” at every half minute instead of every minute, enhancing the watch’s precision and feel. Its high-quality sapphire watch crystal makes the watch resistant to scratches. The titanium case further improves its durability while not adding much to the watch’s weight, a total of only 135 grams. In addition, the lug width is 24mm, allowing the watch to sit around your wrist without looking too bulky. The handmade Horween leather straps secured with polished bronze buckles augments the smooth style and greatly increases comfort when wearing the watch. The watch combines stunning aesthetics, practicality, and new technology all in one for a price of only $599 USD. Aquatico even offers new users a 10% discount. This is definitely a watch to put on your dream list!

 

 

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