Best Luminous Watches: Five To Wear In The DarkWritten by Melissa Kong
No need for the night light.
Franck Muller Vanguard Krypton Carbon
Here’s a timepiece that comes to life when it’s dark. Named after Kryptonite, the radioactive element that drains Superman of all his strength, it similarly glows green when the lights are off. In case you’re wondering, no, Franck Muller did not manage to procure the extra-terrestrial mineral. Instead, it has ingeniously introduced specks of Super-LumiNova into the manufacturing process of the case and dial, successfully combining the luminescent material with carbon fibre. Fitted with a sporty nylon-on-rubber strap that matches the watch with contrasting green stitching, this ticker is driven by an automatic movement.
Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date
We never thought ‘sporty’ and ‘elegant’ belonged in the same sentence but it’s apparently so with this gorgeous timepiece from Glashütte Original. This version sees a jet black dial offset by bright blue Super-LumiNova indexes that glow a brilliant blue in the dark. In a departure from the previous model, the Roman numerals (except ‘12’ and ‘6’) have been replaced with baton indexes and the addition of a seconds track gives the watch greater sportiness. Available in a leather, steel or rubber strap, it’s definitely a ticker you could wear anywhere. Read more here.
Hamilton Khaki Air Race
To mark its partnership of the Red Bull Air Race Championship, the brand released this special edition piece made with optimal usability in mind. To that end, its unfettered dial hosts bold numerals, indexes and hands, all coated with Super-LumiNova. Its 38mm or 42mm stainless steel case is a strictly no-nonsense affair and its automatic movement has a power reserve of 80 hours. Two dial options are available: black or grey, with a choice or leather strap or steel bracelet. We're undecided on the strap options but we can’t get enough of that bright orange lume.
Luminox Navy SEAL 3500 series
When it comes to luminosity, few watches come close to Luminox (if you couldn’t already tell by its name). The brand’s signature tritium gas tubes are good to glow for 25 years and don’t need to be charged by an external light source. Besides, if it’s good enough for the elite US Navy SEALs, it’s good enough for us. This series comes in seven different colour options from stealth blackout to bright yellow, although our favourite would be the Carbon Compound Navy SEAL 3501.BO with blacked-out dial, case and black uni-directional rotating bezel. More on the watch here.
Oris Aquis Date
You can always count on a diver’s watch to rank high in the luminosity department. After all, visibility is of paramount importance for underwater exploits. When the Oris Aquis was launched, it was characterized by muscular lugs that enabled the strap to pivot, fitting a range of wrist sizes. It also had a broad bezel and oversized numerals for better legibility. This year, the new Aquis Date comes with thinner lugs and bracelet, while the hands and indexes have been redesigned for a sharper, more contemporary look. A small gap has also been introduced between the case and body, making the uni-directional bezel easier to manoeuvre. We also love the blue sunray finish on this dial—perfectly suited to the cerulean depths of the ocean.
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".