Lume. Luminescence. The afterglow of a watch when the sun sets and the lights go out.
The “lume shot” is one of the top requests from watch enthusiasts on Instagram. The popular opinion is that modern Rolex and Tudor watches have excellent lume, and Chromalight, the blue (as opposed to traditional green) lume that debuted in 2008 is known for looking distinct and lasting up to eight hours.
Photo courtesy of Millenary Watches
While there are debates on which watch brand has the best lume properties, Rolex can hold its own against the likes of Seiko, Panerai, Bell & Ross and others known for their lume. Other companies may use full lume dials, such as Damasko, or tritium tubes that don’t require external light sources for charging, such as Marathon, and offer very strong nighttime visibility.
Image courtesy of WatchUSeek
There is potential for endless debate on which watch brand has the strongest lume, but for your average user who just needs to tell the time when it gets dark, the modern Rolex and Tudor lume, in our experience, does the job.
Bob’s Watches wrote an excellent article covering the differences between Chromalight and traditional Superluminova if you want to read more about that topic. We’ve featured some of our favorite lume shots on the Everest Journal too, in case you want to check out some killer glowing Rolex watches.
ODD LUME PATTERNS
Some Rolex watches use white gold or printed dial markings, such as the Roman numeral Buckley dial we’ve written about. Therefore not all the typical dial elements are lumed. In the case of the Buckley dial, it’s just the ends of the hands. These watches are probably not the best for true adventurers or divers, who have a critical need to read their watches in the dark, but they make for an interesting look in the dark.
One of our favorite watches is the Rolex Wimbledon dial. The green Roman numeral hour markers and date complication leave only the 9 o’clock hour marker and hands with luminescent material.
Photo courtesy of Hi-Watch.com
When white gold markers are used for certain parts of the dial for Rolex watches, we also get a unique after-dark look. The latest Air-King’s lume is also missing in certain sections, so the result is lumed Arabic numerals but no lume at the 3-6-9 positions.
Photo courtesy of Rolex Forums
The Rolex Datejust II 116334 features lumed Arabic numerals in blue lume and hands with green lume, for a unique effect.
Photos courtesy of Keep The Time
The Rolex Milgauss also features bicolor lume on modern models, which just adds to the subtle eccentricity that makes us appreciate this often overlooked model, which, by the way, looks incredible on an Everest rubber strap.
THE ONE WITH THE MOST LUME
The one watch with Rolex ties that has the top lume show is the Tudor Pelagos with its fully lumed bezel insert.
Photo courtesy of Reddit user u/hip-hop_anonymous
These are some of our favorite Rolex or Tudor models with non-conventional lume patterns. What are some of your favorite Rolex lume configurations? Do you recommend any particular brand based on the strength and duration of their lume? Let us know in the comments.