Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lume comparison test

I've been wanting to do this for a while now and since there wasn't much to do yesterday, I decided to conduct a lume comparison test using 3 of the most 'lumed up' watches I have. I was quite surprised how it turned out. Read on to know how it went down:
The Competitors:
1) Pyrolume 43mm Prototype Watch #12

2) Seiko Orange Monster

3) Omega Seamaster GMT

4) Mossy Oak (MO.370.1.50.401)
Though the Mossy Oak has tritium tubes instead of lume on its hands and markers, I decided to add this to compare the efficiency of tritium vs lume paint.

I left the Pyrolume, Seiko and Omega lying on a desk, in a room with the lights on, for about a couple of hours. I left the Mossy Oak lying in the watch box since it doesn't contain any lume paint that requires charging.
The test was conducted over a period of 3 hours. Photos were taken after 60 and 180 minutes.
The photographs were taken using the 'bulb mode' on my camera and keeping the shutter open for 5 seconds.
To compare the result, I checked the luminosity in photoshop. Luminosity of 100 = pure white, where as 0 = black. This isn't necessarily the most accurate method, but it gives a pretty good idea nonetheless :)

Test: (Click on the image to enlarge them)
Here are the watches, just before the lights went out:

With the lights off:

Pyrolume : 83
Seiko OM : 89
Omega GMT: 81
Mossy Oak: 73

After 1hr:

Pyrolume : 17
Seiko OM : 17
Omega GMT: 18
Mossy Oak: 64

After 3hrs:

Pyrolume : 03
Seiko OM : 05
Omega GMT: 15
Mossy Oak: 67

Overall result:
The tritium, as expected stayed pretty much at the same level throughout the test. As for the other 3, I was expecting it to be a close call between the Seiko and the Pyrolume to take the top prize. Though the level of luminosity was similar in both the watches throughout, the Omega Seamaster was the most readable after 3 hours, thus making it the overall winner! :)


James Elsener said...

That is an interesting test and the results are quite telling.

Bio said...

Yeah...I read somewhere that Seiko provides the Swiss companies with 'Superluminova' . If that's the case, I wonder if the paint is used as is or does Swatch (or any other company using SL) modifies it.

Koimaster said...

Nice comparsion test.The tritium vs lume paint comparison is very telling. From the results, long term usage of a watch in low light conditions would indicate using tubes. Short term, the superluminova.

crazyfingers said...

Thanks Alain. Yeah, tritium does seem to be better for long term usage. Also thanks for linking this post on watchlords :)

Anonymous said...

Well, Tritium IS better for long term usage. I would say it's better over all - the extreme brightness of Superluminova immediately after being exposed to a lot of light is superflous. Too bad Tritium is radioactive. But then again, that's what makes it glow forever.

crazyfingers said...

The tritium's glow is suppose to last for 25 years and honestly I haven't seen one that old. I have some old watches with Superluminova, but the glow doesn't last for more than a few minutes. I wonder if the tubes are readable at all in the dark after 20-25 years.

Anonymous said...

This test has been very helpful to those who thinks that superluminova in costly watches glow for a long time (including me), but now I realize that they all are same. I have a Timex T49799 divestyle chronometer, it gives a decent amount of brightness for almost 6 hours or maybe more than that, it costs only 110 dollars, so what's the use of buying such costly diver's watches. Well, thanks again for posting this.

crazyfingers said...

Hello, and thanks for vising IWB :)
Yup, cost has not much to do with the lume of the watch. As to why pay more for high end watches, well, that's a completely different topic that has been discussed many a times in all the watch forums. I believe, as long as you are happy with your purchase, that's all that matters :)

Anonymous said...

I intend to buy a seiko monster or a victorinox divemaster 500 quartz, can you tell me which one would be a better one?

crazyfingers said...

Well, both the watches have a different movement -The Victorinox as you are saying is a quartz (battery operated) while the Monster has an automatic movement. If accuracy is important for you, the Victorinox is the clear choice. The Seiko's accuracy could be 15 second fast or slow per day. Overall, the build quality of the Seiko Monsters is really good for what you pay for. Plus that lume on it is legendary!
So I would say, go for the Monster if accuracy is not too much of a concern. If you get lucky like Bio did, your Monster might actually work within Chronometer standards (-4/+6 seconds per day). Although in the end, you should always go for what you like. Try them both on your wrist and see which one calls out to your heart more :)