Superluminova Vs Tritium

Quite often we see vintage speedmasters offered with superluminova hands, replaced at service.

Superluminova hands were fitted as standard on watches much later than the watches we look at, (from 1994 approximately) and coincided when the dials lost the T marks around the same time. This new luminous material is much brighter after exposure to light, and lasts longer after exited, and also stays active over many years.

However it looks quite out of place on our vintage watches. Here is one recently sold on It clearly shows hands with a greenish hue on the lume and very bright.

105012 with SL hands

Note the hands have a strong colour, very white and very clean, compared to the dial, and dial plots.

Here is a watch with tritium hands that are correct for the age:


As can be noted, the tritium of these hands has decayed and the colour has yellowed to a pleasant hue, and seems to compliment the dial plots.

Omega still supply baton hands but these are Superluminova. I recently was lucky enough to acquire these tritium hands. Never fitted to a watch, I consider them NOS. The tritium has faded slightly, though not as much as the watch pictured above.


The top two hands are Superluminova and the two lower pairs are the unused old tritium hands. It is easier to see when removed from the cards:

P6230001  P6230004-001

In low light, after a few minutes exposure, the characteristics of the two types of hands are obvious, the green Superluminova hands glowing green, while the tritium does not glow at all.

I value these hands quite high, as they will add considerably to a watch that needs them.