Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic Replica Watch

Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic Replica Watch Replica Watch Releases

Any replica watch using self-illuminating tritium gas tubes has probably been supplied by the Swiss company MB-Microtec. The company also makes its own replica watches, mostly “tactical” in theme and design, under the name Traser, and they have just unveiled their newest model. The new Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic is a 46mm field replica watch with an integrated compass ring and, of course, tritium gas vials for illumination. For Traser, the new replica watch represents a new feature for them with the internal compass ring as well as an additional automatic in their mostly quartz-powered collection.

Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic Replica Watch Replica Watch Releases

Well-known within the military community for decades, Traser were one of the earliest adopters of tritium gas illumination, which they call “trigalight.” More commonly known as gaseous tritium light source (GTLS), this technology of small tritium gas-filled vials allows the replica watch’s hands and hour markers to glow brightly without prior exposure to light, making these replica watches perfect for nighttime viewing or tactical operations. As you’d expect, the new Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic makes ample use of “trigalight” as well as the more commonly used Super-LumiNova to create a real lume show for all the “ill-lume-inati” out there. See more about tritium gas tubes, how they are made, and all about the company in our visit to the MB-Microtec manufacture here.

Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic Replica Watch Replica Watch Releases

The majority of Traser’s lineup feature all-black dials and PVD coated black cases, and the new Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic sports a black dial version called “Black Hole” as well as one with a “mystical Midnight Blue dial” which Traser states is intended to remind one of “the infinity of the universe.” Whether it evokes something that profound for you or not, the dial is a deep metallic blue color with printed, Super-LumiNova-coated white Arabic hour markers as well as a 24-hour scale for keeping military time. Traser is so excited about the Midnight Blue they almost forgot to tell us about the Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic Black Hole model, which is also handsome with a black sunray finished dial.

Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic Replica Watch Replica Watch Releases

Surrounding the hour markers are tritium vials which glow green. The hands are relatively straightforward with a stick minute hand and a yellow painted hour hand, both of which also have their own green tritium vials. Tracking the seconds is a sweeping black hand with a tiny tritium vial of its own. A black on white date wheel is in its usual spot at three o’clock. Yet another dose of Super-LumiNova is applied in the form of a ring which goes all the way around the chapter ring and dial – just for fun, I guess.

Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic Replica Watch Replica Watch Releases

Around the dial is an internal bezel which is operated by the crown at eight o’clock and printed with typical compass markings. A cool feature here is that the cardinal and inter-cardinal compass points are also lumed. This particular compass feature is operated (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway) by holding the replica watch horizontally, aligning the hour hand with the Sun, and visually bisecting the distance between the hour hand and the twelve o’clock marker to find South. Once you’ve done this, you can rotate the compass ring to indicate the cardinal directions and, theoretically, find your way. Ironically for a replica watch which is dripping with Super-LumiNova and GTLS vials, this method of wayfinding assumes daytime use and a clear view of the Sun.


Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic Replica Watch Replica Watch Releases

Like most Traser cases, the Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic is a straightforward, if huge, PVD-coated stainless steel model with alternating brushed and polished surfaces. The Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic also has a screw-down crown (enabling 100m of water-resistance) at a less familiar eight o’clock position which is intended to keep the crown from digging into the back of your hand. An anti-reflective sapphire crystal rounds out the durable and tactical package. Traser have chosen not to publish the actual name of the Swiss automatic movement being used, though we feel comfortable assuming it is either the ETA 2824 or the near identical Sellita SW-200 as in their other replica watches. Keeping the whole thing on the wrist is a matching midnight blue nylon NATO-style strap with a complementary yellow stripe.

Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic Replica Watch Replica Watch Releases

While not a huge leap for the brand, it is nice to see a new and slightly less “tactical” Traser coming out, especially in a configuration other than all-black – even though the brand also recently released bright, neon-colored P67 Officer Pro replica watches (hands-on here). The internal compass ring, more novelty than necessity, does add some potential use for the adventure-minded wearer in a pinch. A reasonable 895 CHF retail price should make the Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic Midnight-Blue a viable option for the large-wristed, tactically minded buyer in the market for an automatic which does a bit more than tell time. traser.com

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime Orange Replica Watches Hands-On

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime & Orange Replica Watches Hands-On Hands-On

At Baselworld 2017, Swiss Traser introduced a “trendy” tactical replica watch with the Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal in bright Lime and Orange lumed dials. The replica watches are not terribly expensive and show a more lighthearted side of the brand which is mostly known for being the in-house brand of MB-Microtec who produces glowing tritium gas tubes. I think there is an appeal to wearing “tactical” replica watches without always wanting to look too tactical. Of course, not everyone will be into lime green or bright orange on their wrist all the time, but at least for a fun-looking timepiece such as this you don’t need to spend more than $500.

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime & Orange Replica Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime & Orange Replica Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal collection already had black-dialed versions with lime green or orange hour numerals. What is different for 2017 is that the collection now includes these models with dials that are entirely lime green or orange. When mixed with the gun metal-style PVD-coated steel cases and the matching straps, it makes for a neat look. I have a soft spot for functional replica watches that are more about being a bit loud in style, so I do appreciate stuff like this.

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime & Orange Replica Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime & Orange Replica Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal replica watch is 42mm wide with an AR-coated sapphire crystal and is water-resistant to 100 meters. The straps are orange or green, and Traser makes a point to indicate that they are “Italian-made natural caoutchouc” straps. For a more discreet look, Traser also sells NATO-style straps in black, with a lime green or orange stripe down the middle.

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime & Orange Replica Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime & Orange Replica Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The dials combine Taser’s typical use of Tritium gas tubes, with Super-LumiNova for darkness illumination. There are gas tubes in each of the three hands, as well as the hour markers. Also note the two gas tubes in the logo under 12 o’clock. Traser says these are used to help orient the position of the dial in the dark so that you can more easily read the time – a good thing. The rest of the dial is painted in green or orange Super-LumiNova. This is contrasted by the black hands and Arabic hour numerals.

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime & Orange Replica Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime & Orange Replica Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The dial and case are relatively simple, which is part of the utilitarian appeal of the replica watch. This isn’t trying to be a high-fashion, high-design timepiece. Rather, this is supposed to be an imminently simple replica watch with a functional character that adds a bit of fun to it. Inside the replica watch is a Swiss quartz movement.


Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime & Orange Replica Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime & Orange Replica Watches Hands-On Hands-On

For those who demand excellent legibility in a replica watch, a high-contrast dial design such as this works very well – and it doesn’t need to be as boring as “black and white.” Moreover, the combination of traditional light-powered Super-LumiNova along with self-illuminated tritium gas tubes makes for a combination that’s difficult to beat. Traser has been looking to increase their popularity as of late, and I am curious to see how they will do that. The brand predates competitors such as Luminox (that also gets their gas tubes from Swiss MB-Microtec), but has for the most part been rather quiet from a marketing perspective.

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime & Orange Replica Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Let’s see if more bold and trendy styles such as the Traser P67 Officer Pro Gun Metal Lime and Orange replica watches are sign of what is to come from the Traser replica watch brand. Retail price for the standard black-dialed Officer Pro Gun Metal replica watches is $395, while these more colorful versions with the orange and green Super-LumiNova dials are $450 USD. traser.com

Traser P6600 Shade ‘Red, White, Blue’ Special Edition Tactical Replica Watch

Traser P6600 Shade 'Red, White, & Blue' Special Edition Tactical Replica Watch Replica Watch Releases

Traser has just released a new special edition “Red, White, & Blue” version of their recently updated H3 P6600 Shade replica watch collection meant to honor the large American replica watch market – and their many customers in it. Traser is the brand officially owned by MB-Microtec in Switzerland that produces Trigalight tritium gas tubes – those used in a range of replica watches from Luminox to Ball. Traser is among the original modern tactical replica watches with timepieces meant for professional use and popular with soldiers, law enforcement, emergency response personnel, and of course, weekend warriors. It probably doesn’t surprise you that Traser replica watches do well with the gun-lover audience here in America.

Traser P6600 Shade 'Red, White, & Blue' Special Edition Tactical Replica Watch Replica Watch Releases

Ironically enough, given current politics in America, it might be the right time for the brand to release a replica watch such as this. This special edition takes the Traser P6600 Shade and gives it assorted red, white, and blue Trigalight gas tubes at the hour markers as means to remind the wearer of the American flag. Though it should be just as useful to remind people of other red, white, and blue national flags of which there are 38, according to Wikipedia. So depending on where you live and your particular flavor of patriotism, the Traser P6600 Shade Red, White, & Blue Special Edition replica watch could be in honor of the United States, Dominican Republic, Iceland, South Korea, Malaysia, Chile, Cambodia, Norway, Slovenia, Nepal, Thailand, France, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Panama, Russia, Nepal… and a lot more.

So Traser really has a lot of countries covered here even though they are emblazoning the American bald eagle and prancing frontier horses behind the image of the replica watch. The Traser P6600 Shade replica watch is itself a welcome upgrade from the previous generation P6600 Shadow. Upgrades are subtle but important for detail seekers who wanted the best possible replica watch in both quality and design. One upgrade is the use of black-colored discs (versus white) for the date and day of the week windows – an important refinement. Also, the pip that holds the tritium gas tube on the rotating bezel is now PVD-coated black versus in unfinished steel – which adds to the important stealth look of the replica watch.

Traser P6600 Shade 'Red, White, & Blue' Special Edition Tactical Replica Watch Replica Watch Releases

Traser also apparently upgraded the crystal from mineral to AR-coated sapphire – which I think most people will appreciate. With that said, truly active replica watch wearers sometimes prefer mineral crystal because rather than shatter under large impact, it merely chips (or totally cracks depending on the force of the impact).

The 45mm-wide case is 12mm thick and water-resistant to 200 meters. The inner case is steel while the black-colored outer case is light and made of fiberglass-reinforced resin. That makes it lightweight at 80 grams (with the strap) and pretty durable. The dial is pure functionality with a scale for both the 12-hour and 24-hour time, in addition to the rotating 60-minute timing bezel. Inside the replica watch is a Swiss Ronda quartz caliber 517.6 DD (day/date) movement. Attached to the case is a black NATO-style strap, but a rubber strap is also available as an option. Price for the Traser H3 P6660 Shade Red, White, & Blue Special Edition replica watch is $475. traser.com


WATCH WINNER REVIEW: Traser Classic Automatic Master Replica Watch

WATCH WINNER REVIEW: Traser Classic Automatic Master Replica Watch Giveaways

In March of 2015, the monthly giveaway replica watch on aBlogtoWatch was a Traser Classic Automatic Master replica watch. The winner was Sylvain D. from Miami, Florida, USA, and after enjoying his new timepiece, he has shared with us a replica watch winner review for you – the aBlogtoWatch audience. Thanks to Sylvain and all the other replica watch winners who share their experiences with the world. Here is Sylvain’s review:

I was really thrilled when I heard that I had won the Traser Classic Automatic Master, one of only two automatic models in Traser’s catalog. This would be my first replica watch with Tritium tubes, a technology that I had long admired and really wanted to try. On the other hand, I was a bit worried about the size of the replica watch; at 46mm, this is the largest replica watch in my collection, and I tend to prefer replica watches in the 40-42mm range.

WATCH WINNER REVIEW: Traser Classic Automatic Master Replica Watch Giveaways

Appearance:

I was pleasantly surprised when I took the replica watch out of its box: it looks better in the steel than it did in photos. I’m not a big fan of stainless steel bezels with painted numerals. But in reality, this replica watch has a very elegant yet sporty appearance, making it a highly versatile replica watch that looks at home with jeans or with a business suit. The dial has a ton of details with a nice textured background, Tritium tubes that embed in the chapter ring and highly-polished applied SS arrow-heads that point to the tubes. I think the large roman XII looks rather odd on this sporty replica watch, and the replica watch would look better with just a double-marker at twelve. The date window is unfortunately white, but it is rather discreet.

WATCH WINNER REVIEW: Traser Classic Automatic Master Replica Watch Giveaways

Ergonomics:

The Traser Classic Automatic Master actually fits my 7.5” wrists very well thanks to its short curved lugs. The replica watch is also relatively thin at 11mm, which gives it a very thin looking profile in relation to its diameter. This means that while the replica watch has a lot of wrist presence, it doesn’t appear ridiculously large. The crown is nicely proportioned and has robust knurling making it very easy to grasp and adjust.

I elected to receive the replica watch on the bracelet, as I live in a tropical climate and don’t like wearing leather straps during the day. While the bracelet doesn’t look or feel as high quality as that of my Christopher Ward C60 Trident, in reality, it is a very comfortable bracelet that doesn’t catch hair, conforms itself nicely to my wrist, and basically allows me to forget about it all day long. The clasp is of the “double-safety lock” type and works well enough. This Traser Classic Automatic Master replica watch also provides 100m water resistance, so when combined with the bracelet, one can wear it with confidence while swimming.


WATCH WINNER REVIEW: Traser Classic Automatic Master Replica Watch Giveaways

Legibility:

This replica watch is highly legible during the day time, with it’s silver colored hands and markers and white Tritium tubes. It is also highly legible in complete darkness, thanks to those glowing tubes on the three hands and on the hour markers. However, in some low light situations, like when in a movie theatre, the replica watch can be a little hard to read because the tubes are not bright enough if your eyes are not completely adapted to darkness. In those cases, you can twist the replica watch a bit to allow the screen’s light to reflect off the SS arrowheads, still allowing you to read the time. This was an aspect of the Tritium tubes I was a bit disappointed by. They shine all night, but they aren’t all that bright. They work great for reading the time off my wrist during the night, but if I leave the replica watch on my night stand, I find reading the time from it more difficult.

WATCH WINNER REVIEW: Traser Classic Automatic Master Replica Watch Giveaways

The rotating bezel is a 60-click unidirectional type, and it has a nice firm feel to it. It isn’t as stiff as the one on my Trident, and it does have a bit of slop-back, but it is well aligned and easy to grasp with the coin-edging.

WATCH WINNER REVIEW: Traser Classic Automatic Master Replica Watch Giveaways

Movement:

The Traser Classic Automatic Master comes with an ETA 2824-2 Elaboré movement which is visible through a display back. I was quite disappointed on the first day when I saw that the replica watch was taking 2 seconds per hour. I confirmed over a few days that it was running +48 seconds per day. I figured for sure it must be magnetized, so I purchased one of those $10 de-magnetisers on eBay. After de-magnetizing the replica watch, it is still running at +38 seconds per day, so the it will have to be regulated.

WATCH WINNER REVIEW: Traser Classic Automatic Master Replica Watch Giveaways

Conclusion:

I’m very happy with this replica watch! It is a solid, comfortable, well-built replica watch with a lot of wrist presence. It is highly versatile, feeling appropriate at home, at the beach, or at the office. The Tritium tube technology is interesting and makes the replica watch perfectly legible even in complete darkness without having to worry about “charging” the lume. At $1,100 retail for the Traser Classic Automatic Master replica watch it is a bit pricey compared to other offerings on the market, but there aren’t many Swiss automatic replica watches with Tritium tubes.

Thanks to aBlogToWatch and Traser for this great giveaway! traser.com

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

Seeing how tritium gas tubes are made will surely remain among the coolest experiences I have had on these horology-related manufacture visits. Tritium gas tubes are these extremely tiny (about 0.5mm thick and at least 1.3mm long) glass tubes that are filled with (mildly) radioactive tritium gas – although, as we will see, there is a lot more to them than that. What these tubes do is that they are guaranteed to glow brightly and continuously for at least 10 years, without having to be charged by external light (like the luminescent material used on other replica watches), or needing to be activated with electricity or otherwise. These little tubes just glow, unstoppably, for up to 20 years, no matter what.

The company that is manufacturing these tubes is called MB-Microtec, situated near Bern, Switzerland. They are the only company on the market today that is capable of manufacturing these barely visible glass tubes and filling them with tritium, thanks to their special know-how for working with glass cylinders of this size. Therefore, MB-Microtec is claimed to be the sole supplier to any and all replica watch brands who use tritium gas tubes for their replica watches. As such, if you have such a replica watch in your collection (or plan on acquiring one), the glowing tubes you see on the hands and indices of the replica watch were made here, and in the way that you will see more about below. The company is also the manufacturer of its own replica watch brand, Traser.

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

Because of it being a totally independent light source, tritium gas tubes make for a reasonable alternative to lume paint. The reason for that is, as you know, “lume” needs to be charged by an external light source for it to then glow for around 10-12 hours before going completely dark once again – and remain like that until the next exposure to a strong source of light. By contrast, tritium tubes keep on glowing for years and years, all by themselves.

What you need to know is that tritium will not shine as bright as high-quality lume (like C3 Super-Luminova), but when you compare the two after around 20 minutes has passed since the charging of the lume, you can expect the tritium tubes to be noticeably brighter – and, you can rest assured, they will stay that way. So, if you enjoy the bright, vibrant glow of freshly charged lume, then tritium may not be what you are looking for – but if you want to be able to read the time early in the morning or 2 hours into a movie in the cinema, the latter is your best bet.

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

If you think about it, there are countless interesting ways an item with continuous and extremely reliable glow could prove to be useful. MB-Microtec was founded in 1969 (it was 1989 when the Traser brand was established), and its main profile is as a manufacturer of tritium gas tubes of all sizes is, in fact, not based on making the tritium gas tubes used for replica watches, but instead the manufacturing of slightly larger tubes that are used for the sights on pistols and guns. Specifically, an approximately 1-inch-long tube, most often in the color of red, is placed at the end of the barrel of the gun, while two green pieces are placed into the sight located at the other end, closer to the shooter. Therefore, when the police officer or special forces soldier goes into a dark room, he/she knows exactly where the gun is pointed, thanks to the glowing bars at the two ends of the gun. And because these pieces glow continuously, they can rely on the pieces always being visible in low-light situations, as opposed to luminescent paint that needs to be charged and fades over time.


Tritium gas tubes supplied for replica watches are the second greatest part of the company’s sales, followed by tritium equipped compasses and other equipment for military uses as well as “EXIT” signs for airplanes and buildings – signs that have to be legible even during a power outage and in complete darkness. The list goes on, but it is a cool thing to think about how useful a permanently illuminated accessory can be.

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

Your average drawer in the manufacture: glowing in all kinds of super cool colors

So, how do these tubes work exactly? The glass tubes are first internally coated with phosphor powder, then filled with tritium gas (an isotope of hydrogen gas), and last, are laser sealed, locking the gas inside. When the phosphor powder coating on the inner surface of the tube is exposed to electrons from the tritium gas, the phosphor is excited to emit light in different colors. It is this process that creates the light that we see coming from the tubes, and it is thanks to this chemical process that the tubes glow for over 20 years continuously, without requiring an external power supply, sunlight, or in fact, any maintenance.

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

Tritium gas is what we might call “mildly radioactive.” Its half life is 12.36 years – much, much less than the over 1600 years half life of radium, a highly radioactive material that had been used on replica watch dials and hands over half a century ago (you can read more about that on page 2 of our History of Dive Replica Watches article here). While radioactivity, the way it behaves, and how it affects the human body is an extremely complicated topic, we will try and put it all into perspective.

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

The radioactivity of tritium is so weak that it can be stopped by a 5mm-thick plexiglass and if you were so foolish and unfortunate all at the same time that you consumed all the tritium in your replica watch at once, that would account for the same amount of radioactivity (40 mSv, i.e., 40 microsievert) as you are exposed to when flying from New York to Los Angeles. In other words, 40 microsievert is 1/45th of the average annual background radiation that you are exposed to each year. And so, while it certainly is not recommendable to consume the tritium from your replica watch indices and hands, if it were to happen, you would still be fine.

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

Now that we know more about tritium gas tubes and how safely they work, let’s finally see how they are made! The tubes start out as “masters,” which are thick walled, relatively shorter pieces of glass, shaped as ovals (as seen in the first picture above), or perfectly round pieces. The master cylinder pieces one-by-one go through a machine that heats them up and sends them through sets of rollers (middle picture above) which are sized in accordance with the desired final thickness of the tube. The result is what you you see directly above: a long (around 3-meters, or 10 feet) piece of glass tube that can be anything between 0.5 to several millimeters in diameter.

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

The pieces are then cut to around 1-foot-long pieces and are batched up to be sent over to the next department, where they receive their inner phosphor coating. Remember, this inner coating plays a key role in making the tube glow and it has to have a perfectly even inner coating to create the desired visual effect. To achieve that, first, the pieces are put into an acid (as seen directly above), which is then blown through the entire length of the tube with the use of pressurized air. This way, the inside of these tubes become “sticky,” allowing the phosphor powder to stick.

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

The excess acid has to burned out from the end of the tubes, which is done by hand in the way you see in the first image above. This is necessary so that the tubes can be hung and filled with gas later on. What you see above is the powder (in this instance, in green), that is poured into the tubes from above. The tubes are then bounced up and down a number of times to make sure that the powder is evenly distributed on the inside. The eight available colors are: red, orange, yellow, pink, white, green, ice blue, and blue.

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

Now that the cylinders have received their inner coating, they are sent over to another room where the real magic happens, as they are filled with tritium. This process is done by three large machines with a batch of about 30 tubes at a time and it takes about 20 minutes complete. The tubes are hung up from their ends which had the acid coating burned away.

What happens is that about 4/5th of the tubes are submerged into extremely cold liquid nitrogen (as you see in the shot directly above), while a worker uses a torch to heat up the container that holds the tritium. As the gas is heated up, it finds its way into the cylinders where it is cooled down extremely quickly.

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

The final step here involves the workers cutting the strips down individually, using a small torch which melts the glass and, as such, immediately seals the tube as well, locking the gas inside. Seeing the blowing white mist and the bubbling water underneath and around the sticks, in contrast with the blue and orange flame of the small and large torches was quite an experience. It just looked very cool, especially knowing that the result will be glowing for decades on its own, adorning replica watch dials, hands, or lighting up compasses and even keychains (a fantastic idea that makes finding your keys in the dark so much easier).

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

Once the long tubes have been filled with tritium and sealed, the pieces make it to the next station. Here, as many as 19 special machines are doing their magic, as they perform that secret operation that allows MB-Microtec to create such small tubes from the larger pieces. This is, of course, a safely guarded secret of the company, and so, while I did see how it happens, it cannot be shared – not that I could provide you the insight necessary without a proper explanation coming from the brand (which, again, was decidedly omitted at this part)… But that is just the nature of trade secrets and painstakingly developed know-how.

Once the smaller pieces are done, they are organized into plates by a machine that only picks and transfers them into these trays, but in the process, also checks each and every one through an automated process for evenness of the coating and closure. As many as over 1,300 pieces can end up in one of these trays.

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

Excessive care is practiced all around the manufacture with numerous radioactivity measuring devices set on the walls (as seen directly above). Different rooms have different security levels, and I am told the manufacture receives a weekly accreditation and is very closely monitored by official authorities for its processes of acquiring the tritium gas from Canada, as well as for its manufacturing processes. Also, every worker of the company is checked weekly to ensure their health.

As far as the replica watches themselves are concerned, timepieces often have the T≤25 designation on their dials. That means, that the replica watch, altogether has a radioactivity level below 1 GBq (we remember seeing Ball make some special replica watches with T≤100 ratings, i.e., with under 4 GBq). On an excessively nerdy note, we will add that the reason why you see GBq, i.e., giga-becquerel is because it is used here as an SI measurement of radioactivity, while the sievert we referred to further above is the SI measurement for radiation dose. (Feel free to add corrections in the comments below, as this really is beyond our comfort zone.)

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

The finished small pieces of tritium gas tubes are then either sold directly to brands who purchase and install them on their dials, hands, and bezels on their own, or are transferred to an assembly department where they are fitted to said components by MB-Microtec. Depending on the size of the order and the complexity of the task, either a machine is capable of picking up the pieces one by one from their container tray and then installing them to the dials, or the installation is performed by a worker at the manufacture. What you see above is how the tubes are fitted onto the hands.

First, an adhesive layer is placed onto the back of the hand, then the hand is turned upside down (so that it is the right way up) and the tube is placed into cut-out and hence on the adhesive, securing the tiny glass tube on the hand.

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

A Unique Look Into How Glow-In-The-Dark Tritium Gas Tubes Are Made At MB-Microtec Inside the Manufacture

With that, the manufacturing process of the tritium gas tubes ends, as what is left is the assembly of the replica watch itself. As mentioned above, MB-Microtec’s own brand is called Traser. With prices ranging from a few hundred to a bit over $1,000, the replica watches are available in the tactical, sport, and elegant collections. My favorite line is that of the “tactical” timepieces, the Traser Special Force 100 that you see above comes with a titanium case and bracelet along with a NATO and a rubber strap and is priced at $650.

I must say, now that I know just how exactly these tiny, barely visible glowing gas tubes on the periphery of the dial and hands were made, I am really tempted to start saving up for a replica watch with some of these tirelessly shining tubes on it. traser.com