A Re-Lumed Dial

There have been a lot of questions over on www.Omegaforums.net regarding re lumes on speedmaster dials. A refinished dial on a speedmaster is very rare, and when seen is easy to spot. A re lume however is hard, and very often I can be drawn in by the attractive look that many skillfully re lumed watches have.  These are more often seen in Ebay rather than proper auction houses, but you never know.

The key is to build experience by comparing lots and lots of genuine dials, so that often a relume when you are presented with it, just looks off. It is also much easier to spot a re lume if someone has already told you it is one.

I sent the above dial to a re lume artist, who in my opinion is once of the best technicians for this. Now as you can see, this is a poor dial to start with. I have a feeling that the gentleman sdid not put his best work in, becasuse I discussed with him that this is a poor dial and that I was sending it to him for my own knowlegdss. I had no intention of installing it in a watch, but I cant say I never will – perhaps a collection of parts will come along that suits it. 

The body of this dial is good, the colour is black with a slight decondary brown tone (perhaps just 5%). The problem with the dial is the missing minute track, top right and bottom left, as well as the mostly missing T SWISS MADE T markings. So it was an ideal candidate for sending for a re lume, so I can keep it for a reference.

First note the colour and finish of the lume iteslf. It is unusually yellow and fresh, especially given the condition of rest of the dial. Note also the top of the 5 marker has bled to both sides. On the 4 marker we can also see dust and debris 

Closeup of the 5 marker. 

Note also the texture andtransparency, sepcially at the step.note the nature of the sheen and the evenness of colour the granulated appearance. All of these characteristics are subtle and it takes repeated study to recognise, but I hope I can point you in the right direction simply by showing confirmed re lumed examples. 


Closeup of the 4 marker. 

Here we see an obvious oily sheen. There is marks or debris all around the plot – this is unusual in this particular technicians work, as I said I suspect he did not have the heart to give it his all as the dial is so poor. I do not blame him. Again the colour looks fresh and clean, and the plot has no signs of age. These factors must be considered along with alll the otyher factors.


The first thing to do is listen to your intuition. Like people who have had elective cosmetic surgery, often we just feel something is wrong.

Then I examine it for the re lume characteristics which can be seen in original, but when we see many of them all together then we become suspicious.

  • Colour. (Too extreme yellow or orange)
  • Consistency, (looking like even cake icing, no dirt or variation)
  • Surface quality (Grainy, or smooth)
  • Coverage of the marker (consistent, or overflow)
  • Leakage of Binder (Transparent fluid around the marker)
If the lume looks too good to be true, then thats when you have to look carefully. One thing is not to jump too quickly and miss out on a fine watch.