luminous-watches

Best luminous watches

Some watches glow and some watches light up the night. The difference between a glow-in-the-dark watch and a true luminous watch is power. Some normal watches have luminous markers. Luminous watches go further — be it with an extended light mode, embedded glass capsules called borosilicate glass capsules that add illumination, or even tritium tubes that last for decades at a pop.

No matter if you’re searching for a utilitarian watch with a cool Japanese automatic movement or a recreation swimming timepiece with an accurate Swiss quartz movement, there are many luminous watches out there for you to choose from. The watch world is super big that way.

Rather than making you sift through countless options, scouring websites to compare watch features, we’ve decided to do the research for you. We’ve pieced together budget wonders and higher-end lume gems, finalizing our list of the 6 Best Luminous Watches For Sale In 2021.

Let’s get this kicked off with a Casio retro fit.

The 6 Best Luminous Watches To Buy In 2021

6) Casio Men’s Illuminator Quartz Watch

Sale
Casio Men's F105W-1A Illuminator Sport Watch
  • EL backlight
  • 1/100 second digital stopwatch
  • Daily alarm
  • Accuracy: +/-30 seconds per month
  • Water-resistant

A simple watch that looks back to the future with glee, the Casio Illuminator Quartz Watch is the perfect watch for those still obsessed with the 1980s and 1990s. The digital information display is clear and the EL backlight is quite powerful. Plus, there are cool features like a countdown timer and digital date window. Factor in that this watch normally retails for the price of some movie tickets, and you’ve got the recipe for a totally tubular time warp on a budget.

Specs

Display Window Material: Anti-Reflective Mineral Crystal

Display Type: Digital

Clasp Style: Buckle

Case Material: Resin

Case Diameter: 35 mm

Case Thickness: 10 mm

Strap Material: Plastic

Strap Length: Men’s Standard

Strap Width: 18 mm

Strap Color: Black

Dial Color: Digital

Bezel Material: Resin

Movement: Quartz

Water Resistance: 100 meters

Pros

  • The retro look of this Casio standout is the perfect time machine for theme parties and school days alike.
  • The included quartz movement is pretty dang accurate for a budget watch.
  • The EL backlight’s afterglow helps with visibility in a low-light pinch.

Cons

  • The plastic strap is pretty flimsy and not exactly comfy.
  • This is a burner watch with a relatively low usage life. It’s inexpensive to replace, but still.

5) Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin Watch

Fitted with Timex’s resonant Indiglo backlight technology, the Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin Watch is a cinch to check in the lowest of light. The included analog quartz movement is of the quality you’d expect from the venerable Timex imprint, and the modernist black dial is given dimension and pop by an array of light-blue accents. It may not be water-resistant enough to be a diving watch, but it’s got enough resistance to be the perfect watch for both nights at the bar and the beach.

Specs

Display Window Material: Acrylic

Display Type: Analog

Clasp Style: Buckle

Case Material: Resin

Case Diameter: 44 mm

Case Thickness: 11.5 mm

Strap Material: Nylon

Strap Length: Men’s Standard

Strap Width: 22 mm

Strap Color: Black

Dial Color: Black

Bezel Material: Resin

Movement: Quartz

Water Resistance: 50 meters

Pros

  • This watch easily lights up the night with its Indiglo backlight technology.
  • We dig the large Arabic numerals, both in terms of visibility and font choice.
  • The resin case may not be fully impact-resistant, but it holds tough.

Cons

  • The date window is exceedingly small and hard to read.
  • You may want to replace the nylon strap right away. It’s low on the comfort scale.

4) Marathon Swiss-Made Military Issue Dive Watch

Marathon 41mm Diver's Automatic (GSAR) Swiss Made Military Issue Milspec Watch with Tritium Illumination (US Government, Black Rubber SAR Strap Collection)
  • COLLOQUIAL NAME: Government Search and Rescue (GSAR) - NSN: 6645-21-588-0133
  • MOVEMENT: Self-winding automatic 26 Jewel Marathon M2 Movement
  • CASE: 316L Stainless Steel - SUBMERSIBILITY: 30ATM
  • LUMINOUS FEATURES: Tritium gas tubes and Maraglo
  • DIMENSIONS: 41mm Diameter / 14mm thickness

While its retail price might scare off those buying luminous watches on a budget, the peak technology of the Marathon Military Issue Dive Watch is well worth the investment. This gorgeous analog Swiss model offers instant glow in low light thanks to powerful tritium gas tubes. A tube is placed on each hour markers and the watch hands, ensuring consistent and constant illumination for years to come. And to top things off, the rugged stainless steel material that makes up the case will last you just as long.

Specs

Display Window Material: Scratch-Resistant Sapphire Crystal

Display Type: Analog

Clasp Style: Buckle

Case Material: Stainless Steel

Case Diameter: 41 mm

Case Thickness: 14 mm

Strap Material: Rubber

Strap Length: Unisex

Strap Width: 20 mm

Strap Color: Black

Dial Color: Black

Bezel Material: Stainless Steel

Movement: Swiss Automatic

Water Resistance: 300 meters

Pros

  • The scratch-resistant crystal lens completely protects the visual of this watch’s beautiful black dial.
  • Tritium gas tubes are the best that illumination technology has to offer. 24 years of usage? Yes, please!
  • The 25-jewel Swiss automatic movement offers great accuracy unseen in most mechanical watches.

Cons

  • We’d prefer a stainless steel band for aesthetic purposes, although the rubber strap is comfortable.
  • The four-figure price tag isn’t going to work for everyone.

3) Victorinox Night Vision Swiss Army Watch

Victorinox Men's Night Vision Titanium Swiss-Quartz Watch with Rubber Strap, Black, 21 (Model: 241664)
  • Night Vision, dark grey dial, black leather strap
  • Stainless steel with triple-coated anti-reflective sapphire crystal
  • Swiss-quartz Movement
  • Case Diameter: 42mm
  • Water resistant to 50m (165ft: in general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling

For LED light lovers, the Victorinox Swiss Army Night Vision Watch is a feature-packed dream. The powerful LED backlight normally activates for six seconds. But, that’s just one way to use it. There’s an Extended Light Mode that gives you two minutes of illumination, an SOS mode that strobes powerfully and calls attention to you, and there’s even a red LED locator beacon that’s strong enough for you to spot your watch in the darkest of conditions. Plus, it’s quite a looker for such a utilitarian watch.

Specs

Display Window Material: Anti-Reflective Sapphire Crystal

Display Type: Analog

Clasp Style: Buckle

Case Material: Titanium

Case Diameter: 42 mm

Case Thickness: 13.25 mm

Strap Material: Leather

Strap Length: Men’s Standard

Strap Width: 21 mm

Strap Color: Black

Dial Color: Black

Bezel Material: Stainless Steel

Movement: Swiss Quartz

Water Resistance: 50 meters

Pros

  • You can choose either a sleek leather band or a comfortable rubber band.
  • The sheer amount of lights on this thing is insane. You’re never gonna lose this watch.
  • The titanium case is as durable as they come.

Cons

  • The date window text is tiny and hard to read.
  • The leather strap needs breaking in out of the box to ensure comfort.

2) Citizen Eco-Drive Navihawk A-T Quartz Watch

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Citizen Men's Eco-Drive Promaster Air Navihawk Atomic Time Keeping Pilot Watch in Stainless Steel with Black Polyurethane strap, Black Dial (Model: JY8035-04E)
  • Modern, pilot-inspired Promaster timepieces equipped for professional use to discover the world from high above.
  • Synchronized to Atomic Time Clock for Superior Accuracy, Atomic Timekeeping Technology with Synchronized Time Adjustment Available in 43 World Cities, 1/100 Second Chronograph Measures up to 24 Hours, Perpetual Calendar, Dual Time (Second Time Zone), 2 Alarms, 99-Minute Countdown Timer, Digital Backlight Display, Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) Display, Power Reserve Indicator
  • Black Stainless Steel
  • Anti-Reflective Mineral Crystal
  • 200 Meters Water Resistant and 5 Year Limited Warranty

A pilot’s watch that looks dang cool on normal citizens’ wrists, the Citizen Eco-Drive Navihawk A-T Quartz Watch is a solar watch with some of the strongest luminous hour markers and hands we’ve ever tested. In addition, the digital display backlight is deceptively bright and helped illuminate the entirety of the watch in low light. And if you’re all about being on target and on time, the inclusion of radio-controlled atomic timekeeping functionality virtually eliminates the threat of losing time to clock drift.

Specs

Display Window Material: Mineral

Display Type: Analog-Digital

Clasp Style: Fold-Over Buckle with Hidden Double Push Button

Case Material: Stainless Steel

Case Diameter: 48 mm

Case Thickness: 13 mm

Strap Material: Polyurethane

Strap Length: 10.5 inches

Strap Width: 23 mm

Strap Color: Black

Dial Color: Black

Bezel Material: Stainless Steel

Movement: Japanese Quartz

Water Resistance: 200 meters

Pros

  • Atomic clock technology is the most accurate timekeeping tech on Earth. And this watch uses it!
  • The anti-reflective mineral crystal dial window cuts down glare with ease.
  • With 200 meters of water resistance and a precise Japanese quartz movement, you’ve got the perfect blend of durability and accuracy here.

Cons

  • The sheer density of text on the dial will give some people headaches.
  • The resin bracelet is comfortable enough but takes some getting used to.

1) Seiko Men’s Black Ion Prospex Automatic Dive Watch

While other watches on this countdown may have stronger lights that last for shorter periods, the pure luminescence of the Seiko Men’s Black Ion Prospex Automatic Dive Watch is much stronger for longer. That’s because Seiko’s Lumibrite technology absorbs light easily and stores it in a paint coating that covers the timepiece. And if you don’t like the color scheme above, there are dozens of Seiko Prospex watches out there that offer the same durability and illumination with varied aesthetics.

Specs

Display Window Material: Sapphire Crystal

Display Type: Analog

Case Material: Stainless Steel

Case Diameter: 43.8 mm

Case Thickness: 12 mm

Strap Material: Silicone

Strap Width: 22 mm

Strap Color: Black

Dial Color: Black

Bezel Material: Stainless Steel

Movement: Japanese Quartz

Water Resistance: 200 meters

Pros

  • Seiko watches always offer high-quality materials and long-lasting usage lives for less money than you might think.
  • Lumibrite technology is something to behold. This watch doesn’t just glow in the dark. It’s a horological beacon.
  • This watch isn’t afraid of the water. You can go scuba diving with this thing down to 200 meters and still not have any problems.

Cons

  • The lack of Arabic numerals or Roman numerals on the dial may be a drag for some.
  • The silicone strap is an acquired taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does watch luminescence last?

Each luminescent watch has its own lume length. Depending on the illumination system, luminescence can last anywhere from an hour to years for watches with tritium gas tubes installed. If you buy a budget luminous watch, it’ll likely have a shorter lume length per charge than other luminous watches made from better luminous watch materials. That’s not always the case, though. It just depends on your watch’s particular dial illumination mode and how efficaciously it absorbs light and stores it for later.

Which watch has the brightest lume?

Our pick for the brightest luminous watch per light exposure is the Seiko Men’s Prospex Automatic Dive Watch. Just ten minutes of exposure activates the Seiko Lumibrite watch system for up to five hours of bright light. The trick is the luminous paint that coats the watch and stores energy for future luminescence. It’s not as concentrated as an LED light, but it’s incredibly bright nonetheless.

Closing Thoughts

Whether you’re in the market for a night watch with luminous hands and other luminous features, or you prefer super affordable watches that are easy to see in the dark, there’s something for every watch lover on our list above. Using both artificial and natural light to charge, each watch model above is built to last you through the night (and even longer, in some cases). Analog watches and digital watches, military watches with night vision features, and pilot watch gems. We’ve got you covered on this countdown.

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