One of the first practical applications of radioactivity was the use of radium for the excitation of zinc sulphide crystals to make them glow in the dark. The radiation energy of the isotope was transformed by the so-called "phoshors" (ZnS) into visible light. Until the early seventies radium-luminous compound was widely used by the timepiece and aviation instrument industry.
Realizing the risk of radium, we started in the late fifties to develop a new self-luminous compound activated by tritium to replace radium completely. With its very low radio toxicity and leaving no direct radiation outside of the watch, tritium luminous compound was considered to be "the really safe" alternative. 30 years later, in the early nineties, Superlite┬« and Super-LumiNova┬« non-radioactive, high-performance phosphorescent pigments were developed and immediately introduced to the world-wide watch industry. Consequently, tritium-luminous paint production has been ceased.
Today, all well-known and highly rated watch brands use exclusively the non-radioactive, environmental friendly Super-Luminova┬«, a pigment not suffering any decay and guaranteeing full performance over the lifetime of the watch. Full night legibility of timepieces can be assured without use of any radioactivity.
RC TRITEC Ltd. technical support