In the intricate and captivating world of horology, few features capture the imagination quite like the luminescence of a watch, affectionately termed as “lume.” This radiant feature, which has become synonymous with nighttime readability, has a storied history that traces back to the early days of watchmaking. From the bygone era where radium was the luminescent material of choice, despite its radioactive nature, to the contemporary brilliance of Super-LumiNova and the ever-glowing tritium, the evolution of lume is a testament to the industry’s commitment to innovation and safety. Dive watches, renowned for their ruggedness and precision, owe a significant part of their reputation to the potency of their luminescent features. In the abyssal depths of the ocean, where light is scarce, a strong lume can be the difference between a successful dive and a perilous situation. While many watches feature lume on their hands and hour markers, there exists a niche yet growing category that has caught the attention of horology aficionados worldwide: full lume dial watches. These masterpieces, with dials that glow in their entirety, are not just functional tools but also mesmerizing works of art. Over time, as lume ages, it can develop a unique patina, a characteristic that adds layers of vintage charm and narrative to a timepiece. In this comprehensive article, we will explore and introduce you to the new hottest trend in lume in watchmaking – full lume dial watches, and we will introduce to you some of the most interesting models available today.
IWC Pilot’s Watch 41 Black Aces IW326905
IWC’s latest marvel, the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces (ref. IW326905), introduced last week, stands out as a testament to the brand’s commitment to innovation and precision. With a sporty dimension of 41 mm x 11.4 mm, this timepiece is the first from IWC to boast a fully luminous white dial. Encased in a resilient black zirconium oxide ceramic, the watch draws inspiration from IWC’s partnerships with U.S. Navy squadrons, specifically the “Black Aces” of Strike Fighter Squadron 41 based in California. The ceramic case, celebrated for its lightness, hardness, and resistance to scratches, is perfect for the confines of a jet cockpit. Its matte-black hue minimizes sunlight reflections, ensuring pilots remain undistracted. The luminous dial, a masterpiece in itself, is crafted from high-grade Super-LumiNova pigments, undergoing a meticulous process to achieve ceramic-like durability. Adorned with black indices, numerals, and the emblematic “Black Aces” patch, it mirrors the ace of spades in a card deck. In tests, this dial showcased an impressive luminosity, emitting a bright greenish glow for over 23 hours, setting new standards for nighttime legibility.
Tissot PRX Quartz Full Lume
Swiss craftsmanship meets modern innovation in Tissot’s latest addition to its renowned PRX collection: the PRX 40 Quartz with a full lume dial. This timepiece, set in a 40mm stainless steel case with a depth of just 10.4mm, boasts an off-white dial that radiates brilliance, ensuring unparalleled legibility even in low-light conditions. Paired elegantly with a white rubber strap, its sporty yet sophisticated design is powered by a precise quartz movement, the ETA F06.115 Swiss made calibre. Beyond its luminous allure and reliable mechanics, this watch stands out for its affordability. With a competitive price tag of $350, the PRX 40 Quartz full lume model is a testament to Tissot’s commitment to delivering exceptional value without compromising on quality or style.
Doxa SUB 300 Carbon WHITEPEARL
In the realm of dive watches, few brands command the respect and admiration that DOXA does. Over half a century since its inception, the SUB 300 legend has been reborn, this time with a contemporary twist. Introduced in 2021, the SUB 300 Carbon Whitepearl is a testament to DOXA’s commitment to innovation, marking its debut in an unlimited carbon edition.
At its core, the SUB 300 in carbon is a harmonious blend of heritage and modernity. While it pays homage to its iconic predecessors, it also embraces a more urban, technical aesthetic. Crafted with precision, the watch boasts a 42.50 mm forged carbon case, ensuring lightweight durability. Inside, a pressure-resistant titanium chamber safeguards the movement, further complemented by a screw-down crown. True to its name, the SUB 300 is water-resistant up to 300 meters or roughly 980 feet.
Powering this timepiece is a Swiss mechanical automatic movement, adorned and decorated by DOXA. With COSC Certified Chronometer certification, it promises accuracy, robustness, and a power reserve of 38 hours. The date function, positioned gracefully at 3 o’clock, sits beneath a scratch-resistant domed sapphire crystal, a nod to the curved plexiglass of the original SUB 300.
But what truly sets the SUB 300 Carbon Whitepearl apart is its luminescent prowess. The dial, bathed in a white Super-LumiNova® compound, ensures optimal legibility even in the murkiest depths. Dive-related markings further enhance its readability in low-visibility scenarios.
Completing the ensemble is a versatile FKM rubber strap, available in seven colors to match the dial. Detailed with DOXA’s signature cues and the exclusive fish symbol, the strap comes with a black PVD-treated folding clasp and a diving extension, accommodating even the bulkiest of wetsuits.
In the ever-evolving world of horology, the DOXA SUB 300 Carbon Whitepearl stands as a beacon of innovation, blending the brand’s rich legacy with the demands of the modern diver.
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Full LUM
Bell & Ross, celebrated for its aviation-inspired timepieces, proudly introduces the BR03-92 Full Lum, a modern evolution of its iconic BR-03 model. This innovative timepiece stands in contrast to its predecessor, the Nightlum, boasting a fully luminous dial accentuated by sharp black indices, complemented by a radiant strap. The dial, meticulously coated with the Super-Luminova C3 variant, emanates a vibrant green glow when shrouded in darkness.
The watch’s matte black ceramic case, measuring 42mm by 11mm, is a testament to durability and craftsmanship, a legacy further enriched by its collaboration with G&F Châtelain, the masterminds behind the revered Chanel J12. At its heart, the BR-CAL.302 movement, derived from the reliable Sellita SW300-1, ensures precision, backed by a 42-hour power reserve. In daylight, the Full Lum exudes elegance and sophistication, but as night falls, it transforms into a luminescent marvel.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300M Night Diver
TAG Heuer’s lineage in full lume dial diving watches dates back to the mid-1980s with the iconic Heuer 1000 series, one of which graced Timothy Dalton’s wrist in the Bond film, “The Living Daylights.” This rich history sets the stage for the Aquaracer Professional 300M Night Diver, a modern homage to its luminous predecessors.
The Night Diver, with its 43mm sandblasted stainless steel case coated in black DLC, exudes a contemporary charm. Its 12-faceted unidirectional bezel, matte black ceramic insert, and Super-LumiNova coated white dial ensure optimal visibility in low-light conditions. The dial’s horizontally engraved lines and black octagonal markers add depth and texture, while the two-tone lume on the hands offers contrast.
A nod to its cinematic heritage, the Night Diver draws inspiration from the watch Timothy Dalton wore in “The Living Daylights.” This modern iteration, however, is paired with a redesigned black rubber strap and a DLC-coated stainless steel clasp, ensuring comfort and durability.
Inside, the TAG Heuer Calibre 5, based on the Sellita SW200-1, promises reliability with a 38-hour power reserve. While competitors in its €3K –€3.5K price range may offer in-house movements, the Night Diver’s full-lume dial, backed by TAG Heuer’s storied history, sets it apart.
In conclusion, the Aquaracer Professional 300 Night Diver is more than just a watch; it’s a luminous blend of TAG Heuer’s legacy and modern innovation, making it a standout in the world of full lume dial watches.
Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Gauge
Born from the vibrant 1980s, the Citizen Aqualand Depth Meter was a groundbreaking innovation, being the first to feature an electronic digital depth gauge. Fast forward to today, Citizen revives this iconic design with the Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter JP2007-17W, boasting a full-lume dial.
This modern iteration is a nod to its predecessor, with a gunmetal PVD-coated stainless steel case and a signature black polyurethane strap. The dial, reminiscent of neon yellow in daylight, is a tribute to the ’80s aesthetic. However, its lume, contrary to expectations, glows in a plain yellow hue, with the hour markers shining bright blue.
Functionality remains at the heart of this watch. The digital display offers a plethora of diving functions, including depth measurements and dive alarms. With a water resistance of 200 meters, it’s ISO-compliant and powered by the quartz Citizen caliber C520, ensuring accuracy and reliability.
On the wrist, the Aqualand Depth Meter is a statement piece. Its bold design, combined with the comfort of the strap, makes it a standout. The watch’s operations, from setting the time to accessing its dive functions, are straightforward, adding to its charm.
In conclusion, the Citizen Promaster Aqualand Depth Meter JP2007-17W, priced at €429, is not just a watch; it’s a journey back to the ’80s. It’s a testament to Citizen’s legacy, blending vintage charm with modern functionality, making it a must-have for lume dial enthusiasts.
LIV GX-Diver’s 44mm Full Lume
The LIV GX-Diver’s 44mm Full Lume stands as a beacon of precision and style in the world of diving watches. Boasting an Elaboré grade, 26-jewel Swiss automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve, this watch ensures impeccable timekeeping. Its unique lume dial, complemented by a cyclops magnification for the date, ensures optimal readability, especially in low-light conditions. Housed in a durable surgical grade 316L stainless steel case with a revealing skeleton case-back, the watch is protected by a scratch-resistant and anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Key features include a unidirectional 120-click polished black bezel ring and a screw-down crown, ensuring water resistance up to 300 meters. With dimensions of 44.0 mm in diameter, 12.9 mm in height, a lug width of 23.0 mm, and weighing 108 g, this timepiece is both robust and sleek. LIV’s 5-Year International Warranty further attests to its quality and craftsmanship, making it an ideal choice for divers and watch aficionados alike.
Chronoswiss Timemaster CH 6233
Chronoswiss Timemaster CH 6233LU is a watch that seamlessly marries the vibrant aesthetics of the 1980s with the timeless elegance of classic watchmaking. This full lume dial watch, frequently sported by our colleague Lex, is a testament to the allure of luminescence, reminiscent of the neon and vivid hues that characterized the ’80s. What sets the Timemaster CH 6233LU apart is its intriguing juxtaposition of modern luminescence with Chronoswiss’ traditional design ethos.
Crafted in the early 2000s, this 44mm manual winding marvel stands out with its commanding presence. While Chronoswiss did produce other lume-inspired models, including a 40mm automatic and a 40mm chronograph, the 44mm Timemaster CH 6233LU boasts proportions that truly capture the essence of the design. The dial, coated with Super-LumiNova C3, offers a striking contrast against the black numerals and varnished hands. When viewed in the dark, the luminosity of this watch is nothing short of spectacular, retaining its captivating charm even two decades post its debut.
Linde Werdelin × Black Badger Oktopus Blue Sea
When discussing the luminous marvels of the watch world, it’s impossible to overlook the creative brilliance of James Thompson, better known in the industry as the Black Badger. Thompson isn’t just another name; he’s a luminescent maestro who has partnered with top-tier brands to create some of the most radiant dials ever seen. From his collaboration with Sarpaneva for the ethereal Korona K01 Northern Lights series to the avant-garde Zenith El Primero Superconductor with Bamford, Thompson’s touch is unmistakable. Yet, among his many masterpieces, his alliance with Linde Werdelin to reimagine the Oktopus stands out.
For those new to the luminescent realm, Thompson is synonymous with groundbreaking luminescence. As highlighted in Dave’s insightful review, Thompson’s penchant for nuclear lume sets him apart. The original Oktopus dial, while already a visual treat, was elevated to a nocturnal wonder under Thompson’s expertise. Using a trio of hues from his signature lume concoction, Badgerite – Aqua Blue, Ultramarine, and Violet – he transformed the watch into a radiant masterpiece. Dave’s exhilarating experience with the Linde Werdelin × Black Badger Oktopus Blue Sea left many, including myself, yearning for such a luminous treasure.
Davosa Ternos Professional Mega Lume
The Davosa Ternos Professional Mega Lume stands out as a limited-edition marvel, with only 500 pieces available globally. This timepiece is a testament to the fusion of style and functionality, designed specifically for diving enthusiasts.
Its most striking feature is the sandy beige dial that transforms into a radiant green glow in the dark, ensuring optimal readability. Complementing this, the indexes and hands shine in a brilliant blue hue, thanks to an innovative blend of luminous pigments. This ensures that even in the darkest underwater depths, time remains clearly visible.
Constructed for the rigors of deep-sea exploration, the watch boasts a robust 50ATM water resistance. It’s further equipped with an automatic helium valve, ensuring the watch’s integrity during decompression phases. The anti-reflective, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal ensures clarity and durability, while the matte, high-tech ceramic bezel, coated in black DLC, seamlessly blends with the overall design, emphasizing its stealthy appearance.
The watch’s case, crafted from stainless steel, measures 4.5 in diameter and 1.5 in depth. A lug width of 2.2 accommodates the integrated rubber strap, which also features a diver’s extension, enhancing its utility for professional divers.
Powered by an automatic movement, the Davosa Ternos Professional Mega Lume is not just a timepiece; it’s a reliable companion for underwater adventures. Weighing in at 158 grams, it’s a substantial yet comfortable presence on the wrist.
In summary, the Davosa Ternos Professional Mega Lume is a blend of aesthetic allure and professional-grade features, making it a coveted piece for watch aficionados and diving professionals alike.
MING 20.11 Mosaic
In the realm of horology, where many brands often look to the past for inspiration, Ming watches stand out as a beacon of originality. Since its inception in 2017 by Ming Thein, the brand has consistently delivered timepieces that are not only distinctive but also a refreshing departure from the norm. Ming’s latest offering, the 20.11 Mosaic, is no exception.
While the watch retains the signature Ming design elements, it ventures into new territory in terms of size. Previous models, like the 17.01, were more modest in size, but the 20.11 Mosaic, crafted in response to customer feedback, boasts a more substantial 41.5mm x 14mm grade 5 titanium case. This watch is a masterclass in the use of sapphire, from its hands to its dial and even its front and rear crystals. The movement, the MING Cal. ASE 200.2, previously seen in the 19.05, returns with a black DLC finish and diamond-cut anglage.
However, the true pièce de résistance of this timepiece is its mosaic-engraved sapphire dial. Crafted using ultra-precise femtosecond laser bursts, the dial features a mesmerizing pattern of 2,650 squares that can appear either transparent or nearly opaque, depending on the viewing angle. This intricate design is not just a testament to Ming’s commitment to innovation but also a nod to the brand’s penchant for pushing boundaries.
Now, while this isn’t a full lume dial watch in the traditional sense, the 20.11 Mosaic does incorporate lume in a unique way. Only a ring on the dial and the hands are luminous, but the effect is nothing short of stunning. In the world of mega lume dial watches, this might seem like a subtle approach, but it’s executed with such finesse that it creates a captivating visual experience, especially in low light.
In conclusion, the Ming 20.11 Mosaic is not just a watch; it’s a statement. It’s a testament to what can be achieved when creativity meets craftsmanship. While it does come with a premium price tag, it offers something truly unique in a market saturated with vintage-inspired designs. It’s a watch that doesn’t just tell time; it tells a story.
Panerai Luminor Marina Fibratech PAM01117
In the world of horology, where timepieces are cherished for their longevity and craftsmanship, the Panerai Luminor Marina PAM01117 stands out with a promise that’s as audacious as it is reassuring. Imagine owning a watch that not only boasts impeccable design and functionality but also comes with a staggering 70-year warranty. This is Panerai’s tribute to the 70th anniversary of its original luminous material, Luminor.
The Luminor Marina PAM01117 is a marvel of modern watchmaking. While the original Luminor material may have been retired, its legacy lives on with the generous application of Super-LumiNova, which illuminates not just the dial but also the bezel, crown guard, crown, and even the strap’s stitching. The watch’s glow is so mesmerizing that you might find yourself wearing it around the clock, charging it by day and admiring its luminescence by night.
Aesthetically, the PAM01117 retains the iconic 44mm cushion case that Luminor enthusiasts adore. However, beneath its familiar facade lies a groundbreaking manufacturing process. The case is crafted using Direct Laser Metal Sintering, a technique that meticulously fuses layers of titanium dust, each just 0.03mm thick. The result? Over 500 layers of titanium, culminating in a watch that weighs a mere 100 grams, strap included.
The PAM01117 isn’t just about external beauty. Inside, the calibre P.9010 movement, a mere 6mm in thickness, powers the watch. It boasts a 72-hour power reserve, thanks to its dual mainspring barrels, and operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour. The watch’s user-friendly features, such as the independently adjustable hour hand and the automatic date change mechanism, further enhance its appeal.
But the real talking point is the 70-year warranty. It’s a testament to Panerai’s unwavering confidence in its craftsmanship and innovation. This warranty can be seen as a long-term investment, potentially covering up to 14 services over its lifespan. Limited to just 270 pieces and priced at $28,100AUD, the Panerai Luminor Marina PAM01117 is not just a watch; it’s a statement of trust, durability, and timeless elegance.
In the realm of horology, full lume dial watches have emerged as a captivating blend of aesthetics and functionality. While their radiant glow is undeniably eye-catching, it’s essential to understand that the luminosity serves a purpose beyond mere visual appeal. For many of these timepieces, the lume is an integral feature, especially for watches designed for diving. Underwater, where light diminishes rapidly with depth, the luminous dials ensure that the watch remains readable, allowing divers to track their time safely. Thus, the full lume dial is not just about making a style statement; it’s a testament to the watch’s commitment to functionality, ensuring that beauty and purpose go hand in hand in the world of watchmaking.