Scuba Diving

Tritium Watches for The Active Outdoor Person

People are thinking about traveling and doing things again. You might need a good watch for diving or camping where the light is dim. Tritium watches are the way to go. Diving watches have been around for a while, but the technology has improved substantially.

What is a Tritium Watch Anyway?

Why is it “a thing?” Well, this article is hopefully going to explain all about Tritium watches. I will give examples of a few of the many Tritium watches on the market.

Making watches visible in low light or at night has been a problem since wrist timepieces were first invented. Watches were made with radium in the past. Because radium is too radioactive watches are not made with it anymore. Radium is now a banned substance in watches due to the radiation hazard.

There are substitutes on the market today that is popular but vary in quality and longevity.

Another alternative uses electric backlighting. The owner has to press a button and this quickly uses up battery power. It often fails to light the dial evenly and has proven unreliable.

In comes a new technology that provides bright and will work for 25 years without fail. They now insert TRITIUM GAS VIALS on the hands and dial of the watch.

You can read these watches in low-light situations. That includes no light at all. They require no battery power or any other form of charging, and never need servicing or maintenance.

Tiny airtight vials trap the gas. High pressures is used for sealing. They are resistant to water and oil, and the most corrosive materials. A small quantity of tritium lights up the dye in the vials. Many gunsights use this same technology. Most hunters already know about this technology.

Tritium watches glow up to 100 times more brightly than ordinary luminescent watches. And they require no external light source to recharge the illumination.

Because of the increasing popularity of Tritium illumination, several brands now offer this feature. Marathon Tritium

Brands to Look For

Isobrite, Hazard, Armour Lite, Deep Blue Watches, Nite watches, Ball watch, and Luminox. Tritium gas tubes illuminate all of these watches.

So, since this is a radioactive element, your question is why is this not like the radium that used to be in watches and was subsequently banned? This is a different element. Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen. Since tritium is low energy, it is not dangerous externally. But it can be a radiation hazard when inhaled, ingested via food or water, or absorbed through the skin. Vials of gas now replace the tritium paint. This is safer and lasts much longer.

Why do you need a tritium watch anyway? If you are in dark places, or a diver, this is a must. So much better than the reflective paint that goes away after a while. These small tubes are good for years. The warranties vary with the manufacturer, but they are so much better. Now I will give you some brands of watches, and how much they cost and the specifications of each.

Tritium Dive Watches. What to look for.

A lot of people have numerous watches and include dive watches in their collection. They are great watches even if you are not diving. But they can be fashionable and sporty at the same time. So, what should you be looking for to get a quality dive watch? Let’s “dive in” to the basics.

The International Organization for Standardization published the ISO 6425 concerning the standards for divers’ watches . That states that these are the minimum requirements for a dive watch.

1. Have a minimum water resistance rating of 100 meters (330 ft)

2. A measuring system indicates the diving time.

3. The time, bezel, and indication that the watch is running. And also are legible at a distance of 25 cm in the dark.

4. Be antimagnetic.

5. Be shock resistant.

6, Be saltwater resistant

7, Be reliable underwater.

Also, Consider these Points

Some watches not only comply with the ISO regulations but exceed them. For example, being able to go to 500 meters or more, and some have provisions if you are exceptionally deep. It will release gas so the face does not pop off with decompression.

The watches need to keep track of dive times. That is why there is a 60-minute increment bezel. The best way for a bezel to rotate is only one way. Then if you accidentally bump the bezel, the watch will not go backward. That would make the dive time longer, which could be fatal.

It also much be legible in low light. There are various ways of making the hands, hour markers and the bezel glow. One way is a lume coating, but the best way is the use of Tritium tubes. These are the watches we will be discussing in this article.

It’s construction is from a non-corrosive material that can be in saltwater. Stainless steel and gold are good ones for this and need to have a waterproof bracelet.

There are some luxury dive watches that are available for $22,000+ (Rolex). But other than the name and the fancy materials, their specs do not come up with a more utilitarian, less expensive model. Since I can’t relate to a watch that expensive, I will keep the price under $1,000 for a Tritium dive watch and Military watch.

Deepblue Watches

The Daynight 45 Tritdiver with Tritium tubes illumination is one of the best T100 tritium watches on the market for the price.

This watch is one of the Daynight 45 groups in the Deepblue diving watch line. Deepblue watches are a very well-respected company in the diving watch genre. They are considered to be the industry leader when it comes to professional diving watches. They have a very great line of watches under $600 that are comparable to more expensive models from other companies.

Let’s see how this lives up to the ISO standards”

1. Have a minimum water resistance rating of 100 meters (330 ft). This watch is good to 500 Meters

2. Be equipped with a measuring system that indicates the diving time. Unidirectional Bezel

3. The time, bezel, and indication that the watch is running are legible at a distance of 25 cm in the dark. YES

4. Be antimagnetic. YES

5. Be shock resistant. YES

6, Be saltwater resistant YES

7, Be reliable underwater. YES

Other Attributes

This watch can be purchased for $599 by clicking here

The full descriptive title for this watch is DAYNIGHT MIL T100 TRITIUM GREEN FLAT TUBES – BLACK DIAL

So, we can see that the Tritium tubes are the way the hands and hours are illuminated.

This is water-resistant to a depth of 500 meters, or 1,650 ft below sea level. Many are just to 300 meters, so this exceeds some specs. However, if you are not one that does deep dives, maybe this is not a deal breaker.

The bezel is stainless steel and has 120 unidirectional clicks and the bezel pip is luminous. That means you can see the hours on the bezel because they glow.

There are choices for the bracelet from stainless to rubber and other choices. They really have some nice looking bracelets that can go underwater and also be worn as a fashion accessory. The standard for this model is a stainless one with 22 lugs, with four micro adjustments.

The movement is a Seiko NH5 Automatic. Seiko has always been one of the most well-respected watch companies in the world. You can rest assured that the movement is quality.

And this has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. This is a must with a watch that is going to be connected with some sort of sports activity.

The warranty is for one year with some restrictions. These include not preparing for a dive properly or having an unauthorized technician open the watch. If you follow the rules, your watch will be covered.

Marathon Tritium Watches

Marathon watches are not only classified as premium dive watches but also military-grade watches. A good example of a Marathon dive watch for military-grade purposes is the Marathon GSAR Swiss Made Military Issue Diver’s Automatic Watch with Tritium (41mm, Stainless Steel Bracelet, Marathon Markings) WW194006BRACE-NGM.

This watch, along with the entire Marathon watch company has a higher price. However, there are reasons for that. But also there are reasons that you may or may not want to pay the premium for this watch. For one, the warranty is for two years, and not one year like Deep Blue has. This is kind of a big deal. They have the same restrictions to the warranty as Deep Blue. So all things being equal, this is better as far as the warranty goes.

These watches are build to military specifications, so you can be sure that they can withstand some abuse. Because they have tritium gas tubes, self illuminating tritium gas tubes glow with no need to be charged by an external light source.

Search and Rescue?

This watch is designed for Search And Rescue missions at sea, water resistant to 300 meters (1000 feet) underwater. GSAR in the name means Government Search and Rescue.

Probably one of the biggest differences is that this watch is hand made in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland since 1939, and has automatic movement with 26 Jewel Swiss made Sellita SW200 self winding mechanical movement. Submersibility: 30ATM.

It uses a vulcanized black rubber wrist strap. So, this watch has a better warranty, however, if the depth is an issue, this might not be the watch for you. But the craftsmanship from being Swiss-made, sometimes can’t be overlooked. You know that you are getting a quality product and that the company will stand behind it. If you are interested in this watch, please click here.

Ball Tritium Watches

Wristwatch Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Date GMT Analog Automatic DG2016A-SCJ-BK

This is a fantastic watch, but considerably more expensive that the other two. Ball uses micro gas tube luminosity and patented shock resistance to mechanical movements and beyond, every BALL timepiece is constructed of the very best technology. They have been in business since 1891 and are based in Switzerland, you can bet that the quality is second to none.

This has Automatic Movement with a BALL RR1201 Calibre , which has a power reserve of 42 h , 21 Jewels and a Frequency of 28.800 A/h, which is higher than most. That brings a much more accurate watch to the front than others.

The tubes safely house tritium gas and require no external charging. In the darkest conditions, the tubes shine automatically – and incredibly bright.

The technology features patented innovations that withstand the most extreme shock impact, thwart magnetism and safeguard the most delicate parts of a mechanical movement. This is one watch you do not have to hold back on getting out in the world and having unique experiences.

The case is made of durable Stainless Steel with a Diameter of 42 mm (Case width without Crown) , a Case height of 14 mm paired with a black dial

It comes with a silver Stainless Steel Bracelet combined with a Folding Clasp. This wristwatch also has scratch-resistant Sapphire Crystal and is waterproof up to 300 meters. To purchase this watch, please click here:

Final Thoughts

All three of these watch companies are good, with the Deep Blue just specializing in Dive watches only. That is how they are able to concentrate on one product and provide the kind of quality needed for the active diver. The Marathon is possibly a higher quality and they have been in business longer and are Swiss-made, which is a usual quality mark for any watch. This one is more mid level and has a better warranty and is GSAR certified, if that is important to you.

Then the final one is the “Mercedes” of dive watches. This one has a higher Frequency, which makes it more accurate than perhaps the other models, but with that increase also makes it more difficult to repair and take longer to repair. The closer you get to 36,000 the more accurate, but the more stress on the watch as a whole and puts it subject to breakdowns and having to deal with lubricants that a normal watch repair shop would not have.

I hope this has given you a sense of what is out there in the way of Dive watches. The Deep Blue that makes just Dive watches and can go to 500 Meters, the Marathon is a mid-range but having a better warranty, and then the Ball watch, which is more accurate, and is Swiss made by a very reputable company as well.

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