Rolex Lume Shots: Deepsea, GMT-Master II and Yacht-Master II

October 12, 2016

Rolex Deepsea Lume
Lume is an abbreviated term for the luminescent material used to distinguish the watch hands and hour markers from the dial in the dark. For the past few years, Rolex has used their Chromalight luminescence, a blue tinted luminescent material shown in the photo above on the Deepsea model. The reason they chose the color blue is that it is the last color distinguishable in the depths of the ocean. Previously, the watchmaker used a green tinted luminescent material called Super-Luminova. The GMT-Master II in the photo below shows the green lume that was used prior to Chromalight.

Rolex GMT-Master II Lume
Super-Luminova is the brand name for the strontium aluminate–based non-radioactive and nontoxic photoluminescent pigments invented in 1993 by Nemoto & Co., Ltd. of Japan. LumiNova pigments replaced radium-based luminescent paints in the watch industry and for other applications, like scientific instruments and signs. The pigments are activated by sun or artificial light to glow for hours at a time. According to speculation on the forums, it is believed that Rolex still uses paints from Nemoto in their Chromalight luminescence, even though it is branded as a proprietary material of the watchmaker. 

Rolex Yacht-Master II Lume
Regardless of how it is produced, the Chromalight luminescence creates a sharper contrast against the darkness, something that is more evident in models with smaller hour markers, like the Yacht-Master II shown above. Its square hour markers are substantially smaller than those of the Deepsea and GMT, but the clear blue light still allows the wearer to tell the time in the darkness. The amount of lume varies in each Rolex model, with the professional watches offering the most luminescent displays compared to other collections. 

Most wear their wristwatches in well lit spaces, but luminescence is important when the situation calls for it. Whether deep sea diving, exploring caves or camping under the night sky, a luminescent display makes your Rolex a useful tool in any environment. 

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