Rolex - The different luminous materials
Like many manufacturers, Rolex has used different luminous materials for their dials, hands and luminous points over the years and decades. Depending on the material used, a chronological assignment to the year of manufacture is possible.
For many collectors and aficionados, the "right" luminous material is a decisive purchase argument for a watch - so also for us. It is important to make sure that the luminous material of the hands, dial and luminous points match. Not only in terms of the luminous material used, but also in terms of color and texture. This can often tell you whether service parts or replacement parts were used.
Very early dials, hands or luminous dots with radium and tritium luminous material age particularly well and often have the typical Rolex vintage look. The color of this luminous material can vary from light yellow to deep, dark brown.
It is important to note that official Rolex concessionaires are required by Rolex to replace such old, "damaged" parts during service. Therefore, always make sure that this does not happen. Otherwise, the risk of a major loss in value is exceedingly real. Alternatively, you can take the watch to a trusted watchmaker or send it for service through Artisans of Time.
But now let's move on to the luminous materials used.
Rolex used the radioactive material radium in the 50s. The advantage of this material was that it glows by itself. However, radium has a relatively short half-life. Therefore, the luminosity diminishes with each day in use.
At the end of the 50s/60s radium was replaced by tritium. The advantage was less radiation and at the same time longer half-life and therefore longer luminosity. Tritium was used until 1998.
After that, it was replaced by the non-radiating Luminova (1998-2000), also due to legal regulations.
From 2000 to 2008, an improved version, Superluminova, was used.
From 2008 until today, the blue luminous Chromalight luminous material is used.
|SWISS - T<25||1960 - 1998||Tritium. Strahlung geringer 925MBq (25 mCi).|
|T SWISS T||1960 - 1998||Tritium. Strahlung geringer 277 MBq (7,5 mCi).|
|SWISS||1998 - 2000||Luminova|
|SWISS MADE||2000 - 2008||Superluminova|
|SWISS MADE||2008 - today||Chromalight|