NASA-Developed Moonglow Material Keeps This Watch Glowing All Night

Illustration for article titled NASA-Developed Moonglow Material Keeps This Watch Glowing All Night

A built-in battery-powered light is the easiest way to check the time on your watch in the middle of the night. But what if your watch doesn't have a battery? Schofield's new Blacklamp Carbon features a hand-wound movement, but still manages to stay visible in the dark of night thanks to a material developed by NASA called Moonglow that glows much longer than the stickers you decorated your ceiling with as a kid.

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The watch also features a small Tritium gas light—a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that gives off a faint glow as it decays—but it's the strip of long lasting Moonglow, running all the way around the rim of the dial, that will have night owls enthusiastic for the timepiece.

Illustration for article titled NASA-Developed Moonglow Material Keeps This Watch Glowing All Night
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And as the watch's name and that telltale pattern on the bezel allude, the Blacklamp Carbon is actually made of a newly developed material called Morta that's based on carbon fiber. So it's strong, lightweight, and of course, incredibly expensive. The watch, limited to 101 pieces, sells for just over $16,000. A tough sell, unless you've never managed to shake that crippling fear of the dark. [Schofield via Hodinkee]

Illustration for article titled NASA-Developed Moonglow Material Keeps This Watch Glowing All Night

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DISCUSSION

robinbobcat
RobinBobcat

Quibble: Tritium lights do not glow because of the radioactive decay. They glow because said radioactive particles impact a phosphorescent material, making that material glow.

Sorry, but it's one of my pet peeves. Radioactive material does. not. glow.

The only ways you can get it to glow are 1) the above (how they used to make Radium watch dials), 2) getting it hot enough - either through heating it or being heated by its own radioactivity (not something you want on your wrist), or 3) Cherenkov radiation.

The last is rather fascinating, as it is caused by particles moving faster than the speed of light for the medium they are in. Water or glass have a much lower speed of light than vacuum, and it's why nuclear fuel rods in cooling tanks have that lovely glow. If something is 'hot' enough to produce that glow in the air, though... it's the last thing you'll see before your skin melts. Very much not something you want on your wrist.