After researching over 20 different models, I’d say the Isobrite ISO100 is the best luminous watch you can buy. It’s powerful luminescence technology combined with its light build quality, makes it a great pick. We have plenty more great options on our list. I picked the products based on their luminescence (of course), their overall build quality and value for money. Let’s get right to it.
Table of Contents
Our review looks at some high- quality luminous pieces. But before we get to them, give the below table a read. We summarized some of our best entries' specifications.
You’d be crazy to think that its luminosity is not torch like. How bright it gets isn’t a surprise as it’s filled with tritium gas. One of the best things about the gas is that it doesn't rely on a light source to charge itself.
Not only is it bright, but its luminescence can last a long time. Isobrite states that the timepiece can glow for up to 50 years. You'll never have to worry about reading the time in the dark.
If you're a watch enthusiast, you’d know that sapphire crystals are the most scratch resistant. The ISO100 rocks one. It has an anti-reflective layer, so glare will never be an issue.
The luminous watch hosts a quartz movement. To be exact, it comes with the Ronda 715Li mechanism. It is super high-quality.
The IS0100 has light-weight carbon on its case. It's basically a feather to have on. Don't let its weight fool you, though. The material is also tough, being present in the cases for watches for the military.
To make the device easier to read, Isobrite placed large Arabic numerals on its dial. Next to them, there are capsules where the luminous gas comes in.
It can handle quite the dip in the pool. Its water resistance rating is 660 feet (200 meters). Unfortunately, it's not ISO 6425 certified. The most you can do with it is snorkel.
What makes it special:
Its carbon body.
The 3051 is a strong contender for our best luminous watch, but the entry above just out-beats it. Luminox states that the watch’s lume is 100x better than anything out there. Although we don't think it's the best around, it's certainly bright. It hosts a type of tritium.
The Luminox unit comes in a full black, polycarbonate body. The plastic makes it resistant and expertly water-proof. This is appreciated as the 3051 has a water resistance rating of 660 feet (200 meters). Like the pick above , you can't dive with it. The company says that serious water sports, surface activities and snorkeling are the most it can handle.
Its tough build, luminosity and water resistance make it a good military watch. As you saw from its name, it's Navy Seal approved. Who wouldn't want that?
You're looking at a unit with a Swiss quartz movement. However, we don't know what the specific mechanism inside of it is. We do know that it's Swiss made, though. Watches from the region boast a lot of craftsmanship.
What makes it special:
Used by the US Navy Seals.
The Best For Diving
Ever heard of Seiko LumiBrite before? It’s arguably the greatest photoluminescent pigment around. Consider yourself spoiled as the SKX007 comes with it. There are large circular markings on its watch dial. They host it. As they're not petite, they're good canvases for the lume to shine on.
The device is not swiss made. That's okay because Seiko is a Japanese watchmaking giant.
It is water resistant up-to 660 feet (200 meters). You'll love that you can dive with it. It's ISO 6425 certified. The illumination technology on its face lets easily you combat how dark it is at such depths. .
Be mindful of the crystal on it, though. It's hardlex. It's like mineral crystal but a bit tougher. It doesn't hold a torch to sapphire crystal, so you can dent it.
The SKX007 is a Japanese automatic. the 7S26 mechanism is inside of it. It's not high end - it's a work horse. It comes with 21 jewels between its gears. This is good as 17 is the norm. That being said, it doesn’t offer the ability to hack or self-wind.
If it's any consolation, you get a date window. We're fans of models with the feature, they are more convenient.
Its steel case is on the smaller side. It's only 1.65 inches (42 mm). It's a fabulous dive watch if your hand is not too big.
Did we mention what's on its strap? It boasts of superb durability, rocking rubber. It's water proof as well as tough. If you're ever worn a silicone strap before, you'd know that it makes you sweat. Unfortunately, rubber is also like that. That's why the SKX007 has large ridges on its band, letting air come in.
What makes it special:
Its grooved rubber strap.
You're looking at a watch with Seiko Lumibrite again. Although not as powerful as its gas alternative, the illumination technology is more popular. This is as it's not radioactive - more on this later. Its markers are rhomboid shaped and are on the fatter side. This lets the sports watch host a lot of pigment.
Its hands are short yet wide. Their proportions let them host good chunks of the pigment too. What's great about the lume is that it can thrive in all kinds of lighting situations - anything charges it. It lasts for around 5 hours once fully charged. You'll easily be able to tell the time in the dark.
Texturing's a good way for watch brands to make devices look more expensive. Seiko did exactly that with the dial on the model.
Being a Seiko product, it’s no surprise to see it have a Japanese automatic movement . It comes with a better movement than its brother . You get the 4R36 mechanism, which means it has 24 jewels inside its gears, and a 41 hour power reserve. You get a hold of hacking and self-winding too.
Once again, you're met with hardlex. Sapphire crystal is not in place. You can get more rough with it than mineral but be careful.
Just like its sibling, it is a dive watch. It can handle 660 feet (200 meters) underwater, and is ISO certified. As it rocks a stainless steel case and bracelet, it's fully water-proof.
What makes it special:
It is a great automatic watch.
The 241665 has a powerful LED backlight. Its LED light is a bright blue. It can be adjusted, sticking around for 2 minutes once activated.
That's not all - with three clicks, you enable its SOS mode. It pulses a white light 150 times a minute. Anyone would spot you from a mile away. It also has a locator mode that causes a red LED in the six-o’clock position to blink every 60 seconds. The red indicator is used in the unit's end of battery life signal as well.
It makes use of electroluminescence, but there is also pigment on its watch dial. This solidified its spot as one of our best luminous watches. They are on its hands and markers. Its hands and markers are relatively thin, so they don't host much of it. But they still shine bright.
Can we talk about how premium it looks? Its dark, sleek look runs from its case up-to its clasp. It just screams money. We're also here for its anti reflective sapphire crystal. You won't blind yourself in the brightest settings. The cherry on top is the fact that it has the anti-reflective coats lathered on multiple times.
It's water resistant. That being said, it can't handle considerable depths. It's only capable of 165 feet (50 meters). The most you'll be able to do with it is swim. If we didn't mention it, its body is made from quality stainless steel. This not only keeps it scratch resistant, but very water-proof.
In the world of watch collecting, brands from Switzerland reign supreme. Like Luminox, Victorinox Swiss Army Knife is a company from the region. They both are known for their watches for military.
What makes it special:
Its LED lighting functions.
The Most Handy
You’ll always be on top of things with the Navihawk. It’s synchronized with an atomic watch so it’s more than accurate. It hosts a quartz movement too. They come with less parts than automatic counterparts, so they're more reliable.
The elephant in the room is its dial. We know how intimidating it looks. The bulk of the clutter is due to its compass on the outer most ring. A good chunk is also contributed by its slide rule. The feature can be used for some basic calculations. It has the two as it's a pilots watch. They make flying easier.
It’s a gift that keeps on giving as it has a perpetual calendar. It means that you'd be able to read what day it is, even during leap years.
Things are about to get better:
The time on it can be adjusted to 43 different cities, and it rocks a UTC display. It even comes with chronographs, which are worked by the pushers on its sides. If you don't know what they are, they are basically stop-watches.
You’re probably wondering why the Quartz device landed so low on our list. It’s a good watch purchase, but compared to the others on our article, it's not as good in the lume department. It rocks a chemical based pigment. And as its face is so busy, the clutter takes away from its luminescence.
Pilot pieces are supposed to be heavy on the water resistance. That's why the Navihawk watch can handle 660 feet (200m) underwater. No, it's not ISO certified.
What makes it special:
It’s an amazing pilot’s watch.
Now that you know what the best luminous watches are, we thought about answering a range of questions you might have.
They have been around since the 1910s. Back then, watchmakers used to use radium to brighten dials up. Being so radioactive, you can imagine why it was stopped being used. It was banned from timepieces in 1968. They switched to ones that absorbed sunlight instead.
Right now, the photoluminescent pigment is what manufacturers are so fond of. This includes the likes of Super Luminova and Lumi-Brite. They absorb energy from sunlight and emit light to make displays easy to read in dim settings. As they emit light based on how much of it they have captured, they are not as luminescent as radium. Their counterpart actually runs a marathon around it. Tritium is radioactive, as mentioned. It undergoes beta-decay, releasing phosphorous which causes it to illuminate.
Other than photoluminescent pigments, you’ll see Tritium gas tubes and electroluminescence as lumes.
By this point, you're very familiar with the gas. It's placed in tight capsules, so you'll be safe.
Electroluminescence exists as well. An electric panel causes a watch’s dial to light up. With the press of a button, electric currents react with phosphorous causing the lights.
So, what do you think? From the many watches on our list, the Isobrite is the best option to have on your wrist. It's a military unit that is superbly luminous and comfortable to wear. Its price isn't too bad either.
The Luminox in our number 2 spot gives it a run for its money, it falls short a little, though. But what the Luminox has going for it that its counterpart doesn't is that it's from a Swiss brand. Watch collectors are huge on units from Switzerland, so they are the most esteemed purchases.
Like its gas counterpart, LumiBrite is a powerhouse of a pigment. It's unfortunate that it's not as bright as it. However, as it's not radioactive, it's widely used. If you own a diving watch, it'll probably host it.
The Navihawk is definitely an expert at navigation, but the amount of clutter it comes with takes away from its illumination. It also doesn't have tritium tubes or super strong pigment, so it deserved our final spot. Although it's intimidating, we're actually fond of its modern design and style. It'll catch anyone's attention.
All in all, all of our timepieces will be super easy to read, and would be excellent to tell the time in the dark.