Tritium watches are invaluable when you want to be able to tell the time in the dark or under low-light conditions. These watches use tritium gas to self-illuminate without the need to push a button or seek out a light source to view the time.
Not all of these types of watches are made equal, however; in fact, far from it. That is why we have done the research and listed the best tritium watches on the market, suitable for all price ranges, to help you choose the right one for you.
Tritium Watch Buyers Guide
What is a Tritium Watch?
A tritium watch uses tritium illumination technology to ensure that it is able to glow in the dark so you can view the time without having to use any other form of illumination.
All tritium watches use a gas called tritium that it is able to self-illuminate. This gas isn’t able to last forever, though. Watch wearers can expect to get a lifespan of between 12 and 25 years from their watches. It’s generally accepted that after approximately 12 years the brightness will start to fade, until the brightness gradually fades completely.
Don’t think that this means that this kind of watch isn’t for life, though. You simply have to send it to the manufacturer or a repairer to replace the tritium vials.
Why Buy a Tritium Watch?
The most obvious reason for purchasing a tritium watch is so you are able to tell the time when in darkness or low-light conditions. Therefore, there is no need to push a button that illuminates the watch face or seek out light to tell the time. Furthermore, these watches also don’t require a light source to charge themselves either.
Are Tritium Watches Safe?
Watchmakers once thought that the issue with viewing the time in the dark was solved a long time ago via the use of radium. However, simply put, radium was too radioactive and thus too dangerous to use. It is now illegal to use radium for watchmaking purposes.
Tritium, on the other hand, is virtually 100 % safe. We say virtually 100% safe instead of 100% safe because tritium is still slightly radioactive. However, due to the minute amounts used in watches, tritium watches are in fact 100% safe. Even if the dial ever breaks and you are exposed to tritium for short periods of time it poses no harm.
Factors to Consider
Factors you should consider when purchasing a tritium watch are more or less the same as any other watch, including your budget, the size of the watch, and its features. However, one difference is the tritium designation.
What we mean is this is that manufacturers either state that the watch has a designation of T25 or T100. Some people think that there is minimal difference between the illumination of T25 and T100 watches, whereas others think the difference is vast.
How can this be the case?
Well, what T25 actually means is that between 1 and 25 millicuries of tritium are used in the watch. Whereas, T100 means that between 26 and 100 millicuries are used. This explains why some people swear by greater illumination from T100 watches. What is actually happening is that one watchmaker that uses the T25 label may have only used 26 millicuries, whereas another may have used close to 100.
It can be hard to tell the difference between illuminations unless it is specifically stated. One other good method, though, is to read user reviews and see what they have to say about the illumination.
You can spend thousands on a tritium watch or pick one up for under 50 dollars. It’s up to you and we’re sure that you already have a budget in mind. A watch is a one-off purchase and can be for life, however, so spending a little more for a better brand than you originally wanted to is never a bad idea and not something buyers tend to regret.
The brand of the watch tends to be the biggest deciding factor in price, and in particular whether it is automatic, semi-automatic, or battery powered. Some of the features listed below also influence the price too.
How big do you want a watch to be? Watches designed for woman tend to be smaller than those designed for men. Having said that, there is no set rule and there are options available according to your preference, regardless of gender. One other thing to keep in mind is that the larger the watch the heavier it typically is.
Tritium watches are just like any other watch. Some are scratch resistant, include the date and month, use shatterproof glass, are powered automatically or via a battery, and come with chronographs. It is therefore up to you to decide which of these features are important to you when thinking about purchasing one of the best tritium watches listed above.