What are Luminous Watches?
Luminous watches use light-emitting compounds that glow in the dark, allowing them to be read even in total darkness. These kinds of watches became especially popular during World War II when soldiers needed to know they were on time without having to bring their flashlight with them. They were worn by troops and civilians alike for a long time until the 1980s, when it was gradually phased out as quartz technology—which is much more accurate—became common in most wristwatches.
The comeback of these watches started last year when Swiss watchmaker Maurice Lacroix introduced its Masterpiece MP1008 model, which uses traditional luminous paint on the hands and hour markers. Today, various models use this type of technology, but it looks like the trend will again be a good one as luminous watches are now drawing more attention to watch fans and collectors.
Depending on how it is created, luminous paint can make either glow for around four hours or stay glowing for a total of fifteen minutes after being exposed to light. In order to get the latter effect, you have to expose the watch to UV rays of sunlight at least thirty minutes before using them in the dark. Here are some interesting facts about watches with luminescent features:
1) Swiss inventor Abraham-Louis Perrelet developed them in 1776, who was able to create glimmering effects from paint on pocket watch hands and dials, bringing back what was done in Ancient Rome.
2) The U.S. Navy began to use these kinds of watches starting from the 1950s so that they would be easy to read when looking at them under dim lights or even underwater.
3) These types of watches were taken off shelves due to the development of quartz movement, and luminous paint stopped being used after the 1980s since it was not as accurate as the newer technology.
4) With a lot of people wearing digital wristwatches today, there is now more awareness about this timepiece which led more companies to rerelease luminous models, such as those made by Seiko Watches, Citizen Watches, Hamilton Watches, etc. Here are some examples:
Best Luminous Watches that Lights Up
G-Shock DW6900GS-1 Luminous Watch
PRICE: more than $300 It’s an aviator watch with a shock-resistant case and band, and it comes with a black resin band analog watch featuring a goldtone bezel with minute markers around the edge of the dial. It is water-resistant up to 660 feet or 200 meters so you can take it swimming or snorkeling. This piece uses a Japanese quartz movement, luminous hands, red second hand, and date display at 6 o’clock position. It features a countdown timer count up stopwatch function which measures elapsed time up to 24 hours in 1/100 seconds (0 – 60 minutes). The Indiglo night-light uniformly lights the surface of the watch dial using patented blue electroluminescent lighting technology. The watch has a digital compass that is able to detect six cardinal directions and measures and displays direction as one of sixteen points (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, WSW, W, WNW, NNW, etc.). It also features an Auto LED light with an afterglow auto light function that automatically switches on when your arm moves. The backlighting will remain on for about 1.5 seconds even after you have released your wrist.
G-Shock DW6900 Luminous Watch
PRICE: more than $100 This model is also a shock-resistant watch with quartz movement that uses a bright yellow resin band analog watch. It is water-resistant up to 660 feet or 200 meters, features a resin case, and uses an analog display with goldtone hands and markers. There is no backlight for this one, which is good since you don’t want the light to remain on when not in use.
The Citizen GL2070-56L Luminous Watch
PRICE: more than $200 This piece has a round stainless steel case with a mineral dial window that is protected by sapphire crystal. The band is made of stainless steel as well with a fold-over push-button clasp with safety. It also comes with an eco-drive solar-powered Japanese quartz movement, luminous hour markers, a date indicator at 4 o’clock position, and an extra-large red skeletonized second hand.
This watch has a perpetual calendar which means that it displays the day, date, month and year correctly no matter what the year or leap year. It also features an alarm clock with a snooze function and hourly time signal and Eco-Drive, which means that it is powered by light, so there is no need to change batteries in this piece. The watch is water-resistant up to 200 meters or 660 feet. This model uses an analog display with luminous hands and markers for easier reading of time in low light conditions without using backlight.
The Seiko SSC323 Luminous Watch
PRICE: more than $200 It’s a digital-focused sporty watch made by Japanese company Seiko Watches. It has a round stainless steel case with a digital dial window and protective hardlex crystal, and it is water-resistant up to 660 feet or 200 meters. It uses a Japanese quartz movement, luminous hands for easy reading of time in low light conditions (no backlight), red second hand, and date display at 4 o’clock position.
Fossil FS4835 Luminous Watch PRICE: less than $75 This piece has a black stainless steel bracelet with a fold-over push-button clasp with safety but no extra links provided. It features a round analog display watch made of stainless steel that has a mineral dial window protected by a sapphire crystal which is also anti-reflective. The band is a soft leather so you don’t have to worry about any skin irritation. It uses a quartz movement, luminous hands for easy reading of time in low light conditions without using backlight, and a date display at 4 o’clock position.
It has a digital chronograph with alarm, world time function (48 cities), hourly time signal feature, countdown timer, stopwatch function, which measures elapsed time up to 24 hours in 1/100 seconds (0 – 60 minutes), five daily alarms by beeping sound and vibration switch-off function. The watch is water-resistant up to 200 meters or 660 feet.
Citizen BL5280-09E Blue Angels Promaster Diver Luminous Watch
PRICE: less than $75 This model features an anti-reflective sapphire dial window with yellow Arabic numerals hour markers with luminous fill. It features a blue and yellow nylon band analog watch with a fold-over clasp with safety. It uses solar-powered Eco-Drive Japanese quartz movement, which means that it is powered by light, so there is no need to change batteries in this piece,
This one comes with an extra-large date display at 3 o’clock, a perpetual calendar (date displayed correctly for years 2100 through 2150), and an alarm function. The watch has water resistance up to 660 feet or 200 meters. There is no backlight for this model since you don’t want the light to remain on when not in use (it will drain more power from the battery).