Opinions on reluming trench watches

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by D.th.munroe, Oct 2, 2019.

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  1. D.th.munroe

    D.th.munroe Registered User

    Feb 15, 2018
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    I have a few luminous wristlets or trench watches from before 1920 so a much higher radium content than newer ones.
    Two have had the lume safely removed so far and I was just wondering when adding the new lume would you antique or colour it to look older or just leave it looking new?

    I did get a lume kit years ago that came with a syringe of brown stuff for that purpose, but it makes the lume look pink.
    Heres one of the cleaned dials and an original untouched watch.
    Thanks Dan

    15700105446874752793825223724673.jpg
     
  2. D.th.munroe

    D.th.munroe Registered User

    Feb 15, 2018
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    Heres the before of the black and white dial watch it's an A Michel 10 jewel movement and blued steel case with a maybe a brass or 9k bezel and silveroid back

    20190925_220637.jpg 20190925_220919.jpg
     
  3. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

    Jul 26, 2015
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    I have one that I'm going to have serviced and wear while my sub is away for service. I can't decide whether to just leave it lumeless with skeleton hands or painted to match the colour of the old lume. I think I am favouring just removal and leave it without.
     
  4. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

    Mar 14, 2008
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    I think it depends on the state of the dial and hands. If they are nice I would not hesitate to re-lume as new but, new lume on a worn dial with scratches etc. might look conspicious and odd.....
     
  5. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    This is just a matter of taste for me but that watch would look a lot better without the lume at all. I've de-lumed a few dials that were in a sorry state, with radium lume (breathing protection and catch all the lume particles in a piece of rodico) and they turned out a whole lot nicer afterwards in my opinion. You to run a slight risk of some of the actual dial paint coming with it though so you have to be careful.

    I agree with Skutt as well about not making hands on a worn watch look brand spanking new. Just leaving the area in lumed hands empty makes for a rather slim, delicate look I think. I recently spruced up an old Atlantic Milano where the hands were in a sorry state with the lume having aged the laquer on the hands into something resembling rust. The gold plating was still present underneath though. Left the spaces for the lume empty afterwards. Left the whole dial more airy I think.

    Restoration is always an issue for debate. Restore to as new? Keep the signs of a long life? Desirable "patina"? Adapt your restoration to match the patina of the watch? For the latter I've seen people use dyes to create the effect of an aged lume in the non-luminous state. When it glows it will always look more or less new.

    Regards
    Karl
     
  6. D.th.munroe

    D.th.munroe Registered User

    Feb 15, 2018
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    Thanks all
    I may leave that one blank for now. I have enough of them in varying conditions, I may experiment with some of the white dial ones and see if I can make one look like it's old lume. I'll post pics of them when I do.
    Thanks Dan
     
  7. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Apr 11, 2002
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    My Waltham military watch had one hand the lume fell out of it, made it difficult to see the time, had the hand relumed and it looked great and not newer either, looked great and a hug improvement to the looks of the watch.
     

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