Let there be Luminescence!

These six luminescent watches are sure to be your new guiding light. Whether you are driving, flying or diving Bell & Ross, Cartier, IWC, Seiko, and TAG Heuer take luminescence to a whole new level! With these watches, you will never have to squint to tell the time again.

By Chloé Redler

Used in the watchmaking industry, this radioactive paint caused a real scandal in the United States during the 1920s.  Women working in the manufactures, known as the “Radium Girls”, had to paint hands and dials with a radium-based paint so that the coated pieces would glow in the dark. Those women suffered serious health problems and for many of them, cancer. In 1963, radium-based paints were finally prohibited and replaced by tritium, another radioactive isotope that was eventually banned as well. Banned for its harmful impact on health, but also for its short luminescent life. In the 1990s, following the revolution of the Luminova, arrived the Super-Luminova meant exclusively for watchmaking. Its perks? It doesn’t wear off with time. Its biggest disadvantage? The luminescence doesn’t persist for a long time and loses in brightness. As a matter of facts, some manufactures developed their own luminescent matter to provide long-lasting luminescence, such as Rolex with the Chromalight or Seiko with the Lumibrite. Spotlight on a bright watch selection!

TAG HEUER, Monaco Chronograph Night Driver

Forged in black grade 5 DLC carbon titanium, this 39 x 39mm Monaco has a name befitting its function as a perfect watch for drivers. For this reason, this timepiece is ideal for any car race in the dark of night.

The TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Night Driver.

A circle within a square: an iconic design for a watch called ‘the Midnight Driver’, famously worn by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film ‘Le Mans’. The SuperLumiNova® on this watch that glows a beautiful shade of blue surrounds the anthracite grey dial, the hands, and the two counters. Furthermore, this technical feat provides three hours of luminosity after a complete charge. When the lights go out, that’s when the real show begins.

This TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Night Driver is equipped with a dial bearing the anthracite grey, matte black, and midnight blue colours of the vintage Monaco collection.

Indeed, the light grey outer dial slowly shifts to a bright blue, ensuring excellent readability for the driver in all situations, especially at night. True to its sporty build, this chronograph comes with a perforated leather racing strap with white stitching. It also has a powerful engine under its hood: the Heuer 02 automatic calibre.

The inner workings of the Heuer 02 calibre can be glimpsed through the sapphire crystal case back.

The finely decorated movement, visible through the sapphire crystal case back, features a perforated oscillating weight shaped like a steering wheel and a 80h power reserve and lastly, this 600-piece, limited edition series, is water resistant up to 100m.


Click here to read the full TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Night Driver technical sheet.


SEIKO: two luminescent watches

Prospex Automatic Diver’s 200 M & Prospex Speedmaster Night Vision

These two variations are a bright new addition to Seiko’s Prospex collection and stand out thanks to their special in-house luminescent material: LumiBrite.

This very high-tech and exclusive luminescent paint is long-lasting and extremely robust. Indeed, one of its main characteristics is its longer glow: after a brief 10-minute exposure to either sunlight or artificial light, the paint glows at full brightness for up to 5 hours – more than 10 times longer than conventional luminescent paint. But it doesn’t just have a stronger glow intensity, it is also completely free of radioactive substances, making it perfectly safe for people and the environment.

The Prospex Automatic Diver’s 200 M by Seiko.

A coat of Green LumiBrite Pro© paint covers the hands and indices of the Prospex Automatique Diver’s pitch-black dial. This steel diving-watch is water resistant up to 200m and is equipped with a 45mm in diameter turtle-shaped case. In addtion to this, it features a ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel, a crown, and a screwed-down case back. The Speedtimer Night Vision also glows with vibrant green phosphorescence. The 41mm case is crafted in stainless steel with a carbon titanium coating – for maximum resistance. For the first time ever, this model comes with a braided nylon strap and a black leather lining. What’s more, within this timepiece beats a solar-powered quartz movement with a 6-month power reserve.

The Prospex Speedmaster Night Vision by Seiko.

Prospex Automatic Diver’s 200 M – €780.
Prospex Speedmaster – €700.

Click here to read the full Prospex Automatic Diver’s 200 M and the Prospex Speedmaster Night Vision technical sheet.


IWC, Pilot’s watch Automatic 41 Black Aces

The dial of this self-winding timepiece shines an ultra-bright green thanks to its Super-LumiNova® disc – perfectly readable even at night.

Military history buffs will be pleased to find the ace of spades and its red diagonal stripe at 6h. Here is the story behind the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces: IWC, thanks to its partnership with the U.S. Navy, designed a personnel-exclusive timepiece, which was engineered especially for the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41, aka the Black Aces – an elite force based at the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, California. This watch – now available to non-Airforce pilots – is equipped with a 41mm ceramic outer-case, a soft-iron and magnetism resistant inner case. This timepiece really stands out with its white dial, which is entirely covered in Lumicast luminescent paint.

The Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces by IWC.

This special luminescent paint is the result of an extremely complex manufacturing process. Super-LumiNova® pigments are mixed with a binder and then cast in a circular mold to create the dial. Once the material has hardened, it is affixed to a blank dial. This compound dial stores light from the sun or an artificial light source, which it can then emit for 23 hours (in dark chamber tests). Dazzling in more ways than one, the dial is imprinted with black indices, Roman numerals, and the Black Aces emblem. This contrasts nicely both with the dial during the daytime and in nocturnal settings.

The light-weight titanium case back is engraved with the Black Ace’s twin-engine jet against a backdrop of spades.

When it comes to the calibre, this automatic in-house movement is in no shortage of power. Lastly, it is equipped with a 72h power reserve securely nestled behind the titanium case back, which is engraved with the Black Ace squadron’s twin-engine jet against a backdrop of spades.


Click here to read the full IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces technical sheet.


CARTIER, Santos de Cartier Skeleton Noctambule

Created by Louis Cartier for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, the airship pilot, this eponymous timepiece has become a true Cartier icon over the years.

Santos de Cartier Skeleton Noctambule.

The vast Santos de Cartier collection greets a chiefly modern newcomer: the Santos de Cartier Skeleton Noctambule. This model is clad in a black ADLC steel case, and one cannot miss the expertly cut bridges, which are shaped like imposing Roman numerals. These bridge-numeral hybrids are the scene of a hypnotic lightshow when comes nightfall. The Super-LumiNova®-coated sword-shaped hands – made of polished grey steel – add an extra layer of captivating luminescence.

The bridges are coated with Super-LumiNova® pigments which, while invisible during the daytime, reproduce and radiate the stored light once night falls.

The cherry on top is the glowing ‘Cartier’ logo in the centre of the dial, a reminder of how much meticulous work was put in making this timepiece. This large model luminous edition is also equipped with the in-house 9612 MC manual winding calibre and a 72h power reserve. In addition, this model is water resistant up to 100m and comes with an interchangeable black alligator strap and a second semi-matte dark grey one.

Inside the Santos de Cartier Skeleton Noctambule large model beats a manual winding 9612 MC calibre.

Click here to read the full Santos de Cartier Skeleton Noctambule technical sheet.


BELL & ROSS, BR-X5 Green Lum

The BR-X5 Green Lum by Bell & Ross.

Bell & Ross introduced luminescence to its various collections in 2017 and these LUM models have been glowing ever since. Initially, these aviation-inspired models had luminescent hands, indices, and dials, but Bell & Ross didn’t stop there. The watchmaker used a cutting edge photoluminescent fibreglass composite called LM3D to create the 41mm case for this BR-X5 Green Lum model.

Crafted in Grade 2 microblasted titanium with DLC finish, this model is a 500-piece limited edition. When it comes to the watch’s inner workings of the watch, the movement is housed between two sheets of LM3D – a photoluminescent composite material made from quartz fibres and which glows bright green.

The Grade 2 titanium case with a DLC finish that houses the movement is inserted between two sheets of LM3D, a photoluminescent composite.

This luminescent material also allows for optimal reading of the power reserve indicator and the date aperture information in the dark. The BR-X5 is water resistant up to 100m and comes with a black open worked rubber strap. Add to that the in-house BR-CAL.323 calibre that offers a 70h power reserve and you have a trendsetting wristwatch.

The BR-X5 Green Lum: a unique and fashionable instrument.


Click here to read the full BR-X5 Green Lum technical sheet.


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