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I've got two other watches that are like that, a "Louis" and a "Den-Ro"

I was able to remove the radium from the hands, but not the dials.

One now gives readings of ~ 1.5 microsieverts per hour.

The other now gives ~ 0.9 per hour.

I don't remember how "hot" these were before I removed the radium from the hands.

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Thanks. This is not something new.  When you received your watch, was it showing 03:28 time? ? Which model of Geiger counter have you purchased? And, did you have a chance to watch this

Sending me your watch helps get over your worry.  

Don't tell anybody I showed you this. Its probably classified.

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1 hour ago, LeeReynolds said:

I've got two other watches that are like that, a "Louis" and a "Den-Ro"

I was able to remove the radium from the hands, but not the dials.

One now gives readings of ~ 1.5 microsieverts per hour.

The other now gives ~ 0.9 per hour.

I don't remember how "hot" these were before I removed the radium from the hands.

 

1 hour ago, LeeReynolds said:

I've got two other watches that are like that, a "Louis" and a "Den-Ro"

I was able to remove the radium from the hands, but not the dials.

One now gives readings of ~ 1.5 microsieverts per hour.

The other now gives ~ 0.9 per hour.

I don't remember how "hot" these were before I removed the radium from the hands.

Brave man. I would not go near these things...let alone de-radiating them.

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2 hours ago, jdrichard said:

 

Brave man. I would not go near these things...let alone de-radiating them.

Besides being continuously irradiated unnecessarily, my primary worry was accidental ingestion of the radium itself.

Here's the process I used on the hands, as presented by the world famous Nekkid Watchmaker:

 

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14 hours ago, LeeReynolds said:

Besides being continuously irradiated unnecessarily, my primary worry was accidental ingestion of the radium itself.

Here's the process I used on the hands, as presented by the world famous Nekkid Watchmaker:

 

Thanks, I’ll have a look

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I think what this all boils down to is...

Always wear gloves if you are removing anything toxic or radioactive. No need for lead lined ones, just something that will stop you absorbing stuff through your skin. A couple of pairs of standard latex "covid proof" ones will probably be fine. Even if you have worn gloves, (and particularly if you haven't) wash your hands carefully afterwards.

The same rules for radium apply for other relatively common hazards  such as lead, mercury, cadmium, low levels of asbestos and arguably even chrome. They and their compounds are all cumulative toxins, so the more you handle them, the more damage they could potentially be doing.

Having said that, I've been frequently using lead solder for years, and other than washing my hands afterwards, I don't worry too much about it. I suspect the majority of the lead in my tissues is probably from the days of leaded petrol rather than soldering.

Also, as stated previously, be aware that airborne dust is probably the major issue with radium (and heavy metals, asbestos etc.). Wear a dust mask, and keep everything "wet" with some suitable wetting agent if you can.

Dispose of the waste carefully.

Edited by AndyHull
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On 5/4/2016 at 12:14 AM, dman2112 said:

Should I sell it?

Oh yes! It's extremely dangerous! Fortunately, I would be happy to save your health and possibly your life by taking it off you (I won't charge a penny). Just PM me! ?

BTW, have any pictures of it? ?

EDIT: Oops, just realized it was a very old thread and the OP hasn't been around for a long time.

Edited by VWatchie
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  • 2 weeks later...

I think at some point, as amateurs, we will ask ourselves this question.  It happened to me today when I put this “Eska” on the Geiger counter.  I was going to give it to my wife as a gift, I’m not to sure now.  I’m even a little worried about servicing it at my apartment with my daughter and wife.  I’ll have to read up on what precautions I would have to take.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As a retired medical radiation physicist, I would be very wary of radium as it's half life is 1600 years (as opposed to tritium which is 12 years), which means it's strength won't diminish in our lifetimes for sure. So, I personally would not wear a radium dial watch 24/7 as it is close to the skin, constantly exposing with alpha, beta, and high energy gamma rays (so sticking radium hands in a typical lead box doesn't really do much), and the radiation level varies from watch to watch. Granted, it's probably small, but is cumulative over time and increases significantly the closer it gets to you. And, as has been previously pointed out, inhalation or ingestion of radium particles is especially bad as now the radium is up close to internal organs like the lungs. Also, proper disposal of radium is tricky as it's effect never diminishes.

Companies that dispose of radioactive material as a business have state licenses that they must adhere to; watchmakers? I doubt it.

https://www.livescience.com/39623-facts-about-radium.html#:~:text=Radium emits alpha particles (two,according to New World Encyclopedia.

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Also a lot of other antique items contain radium or its equivalent 

Clocks, watches and dials that glow-in-the-dark without the use of a battery may contain radium or tritium.

Ceramics made until the 1970s may have glazes colored with radionuclides.

Vaseline glass, or canary glass, contains a small amount of uranium. This gives the glass its yellow-green color. It also makes the glass glow bright green under a black light.

Cloisonné jewelry gets some of its yellow, orange and off-white colors from small amounts of uranium in the glaze.

Radioactive antiques can continue to emit very low-levels of radiation for thousands of years, if not longer. The amount of radiation these items emit is small. However, it can register on a hand-held Geiger counter if the object is close enough to the monitor.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My dad's watchmaking career was from 1947 until 1990.  He handled many many watches with radium.  He died at age 93...cancer free (as far as we knew).  It is a single data point, however.  He was also a big fan of Chlordane...used it on everything except his breakfast cereal.  Go figure.

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With this recent discussion on radium, I'm a bit confused and would appreciate some advice on the Seiko watches I have please. These are from 1972 to mid 1990's and are mostly 6602, 6309, 7005 and 7009 movements.

These watches no longer glow in the dark but if I shine my ultra violet light on them it lights up all the lume on the dial and hands. I would therefore appreciate any advice on the following points.

1. Is this lume radium, tritium or promethium bearing in mind the make and age of my watches?

2. I have read Seiko did not use radium, does anyone know this for certain?

3. I have also read that Seiko used promethium rather than tritium?

4. Is the lume on these watches still likely to be radio active and how safe is it to work on them?

5. If my UV light does not show up any lights on the dial/hands does it indicate it is lume free and safe?

Any advice would be most welcome.

 

 

 

20201111_170138_compress71.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Pluto said:

safe

The simple answer would be the only way you know if your radium free is to have a Geiger counter. But because these are Seiko's late enough there probably not radium. Typically radium is in the older watches or watchmakers who accumulate new old stock happens with zero idea when those hands were made.

Out of curiosity did a Internet search. The link below comments about Seiko. We need a better picture of the dial out the bottom. Usually on newer watches they'll put a symbol like T Obviously for tritium. So I've seen that on the other watches looks like from the discussion that Seiko used R or RAD

12 minutes ago, Pluto said:

5. If my UV light does not show up any lights on the dial/hands does it indicate it is lume free and safe?

What about the nonradioactive stuff that glows wouldn't that light up with your UV light? So just because you the UV light causes If the light up does not mean it's evil and bad. At work we used to have a UV flashlight complements of one of the watch companies so we could show the customer how bright the dial Lights up at night. So UV is not a good test other than telling you that there's probably nothing that glows on the dial.

23 minutes ago, Pluto said:

promethium

Searching for that word it looks like the P is on the dial then that's what's there. Or basically it looks like Seiko for anything new or marks if there is something unique about whatever's on the dial. It's only would be the older stuff with everybody else and Seiko where they didn't market.

Then the second link it talks about the nonradioactive material which I'm sure lights up with your UV flashlight which is why it's not much of a test for anything other than it gives you a clue something is glowing on the dial.

https://www.thewatchsite.com/threads/do-vintage-seikos-use-rhodium-and-tritium-in-their-dials-and-hands.263289/

https://www.keepthetime.com/blog/seiko-lumibrite/

29 minutes ago, Pluto said:

With this recent discussion on radium

Recent discussion indicates that it's recent and that's where this discussion really should be? The size is an ongoing discussion.

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7 hours ago, JohnR725 said:

We need a better picture of the dial out the bottom. Usually on newer watches they'll put a symbol like T Obviously for tritium. So I've seen that on the other watches looks like from the discussion that Seiko used R or RAD

Thanks for the info JohnR725. Interesting reading. The dial codes for these two watches are Black one 7009 468R R and dated 1993, the silver/grey one 6309 892M R dated 1984. Incidentally, my friends brand new 7S26 has a dial code 04M4 R2. So I'm not sure what the significance of R is but surely not radium as per the Swiss watches?

I don't seem to becable to get a definitive answer on these watches as it may be lost in time?

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I think the only real way to figure out at least radium is with the Geiger counter. The others have a long of a half-life that it's probably going be hard to detect those unless you have something really sensitive. That means basically they're not a problem. But radium is going to be a problem forever and I Geiger counter will definitely pick those up

here's an amusing link the person talks about the letters all three are mentioned  p.t & r but notice they're basically in reference to look how pretty The dials look.

http://vintagewatchadvisors.azurewebsites.net/2019/07/20/seiko-pogue-authentication-part-ii-dials/

I think you'll find the next link interesting. There's a comment made about UV and how badly the phosphor has degraded Or basically UV is not a good test for radium. It's back to sensitive Geiger counter.

https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/luminous-dials-what-makes-them-glow-and-how-to-spot-their-differences

Problem with the question you have an marking dials is? They don't mark the dials with what they have unless there was some reason to. So initially radium was harmless so there's no need to put any markings on the dials. Then later on they did but I almost have a suspicion in the case of Seiko they might actually be referencing something else. So the R does not necessarily mean radium perhaps. The only way you can tell is with the Geiger counter.Then having Promethium And Tritium  Shouldn't be a problem because her half life is short.

What would be the interesting study is to study 100 watchmakers and see how many died from cancer of working on watches with radium dial's? I suspect the answer will probably be zero. Because it probably be impossible to figure this out and so many other things you could get exposed to that's bad for your health.

 

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1 hour ago, Pluto said:

.So I'm not sure what the significance of R is but surely not radium as per the Swiss watches?

Seiko dial codes are a mere part number identifier. A R in there doesn't mean, and has never meant Radium, which has been completely been banned in 1968. And even before then, it's use in the industry had already dropped to almost zero, because the potential health issues were well known already.

So, no need to be paranoid, you can wear and work on any Seiko in total safety. You can also check SCWF - thewatchsite.com for any discussion about.

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16 hours ago, jdm said:

So, no need to be paranoid, you can wear and work on any Seiko in total safety. You can also check SCWF - thewatchsite.com for any discussion about.

Thanks jdm, that's reassuring.

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Forgive me if this goes a too far from the intention of the OP, but I think it is relevant to ask, "Does anyone have any knowledge as to issues with exposure to the amount of radium one might come into contact with as a hobbyist watch fettler?" My very superficial understanding is that people (girls mostly) who wold use radium paint to apply it to original watch dials gained harmful exposure by pointing their pain bruised in their mouths as they worked. 

Should the amateur or even professional be afraid of the amount of radium they might find on old watch hands? 

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2 hours ago, PastorChris said:

"Does anyone have any knowledge as to issues with exposure to the amount of radium one might come into contact with as a hobbyist watch fettler?"

 

I think for a little light reading you can start at the link below. We already have an ongoing discussion.

Then the problem with this entire discussion is it's not black and white. Radium is definitely bad but? If it's on your wrist shooting little particles of whatever into your wrist to have any proof of cancer caused by that? On the other hand if you had one of the early dollar pocket watches covered with radium on the hands in the dial like equivalent to several wristwatches worth and of course you carried in your pocket faithfully for 20 years that we would probably have a different discussion.

I think simplistically the basic rule is if you leave it alone it will leave you alone. Which works out fine for dials anyway because always problematic if you're trying to clean a refinished them yourself.

https://www.watchrepairtalk.com/topic/10726-should-i-be-worried-about-radium/

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Having found this topic.

I have a 1st World War infantry compass, which some say will be radio-active.  It needs work doing on it, liquid gone dark, and "air" bubbles, etc.

Is there anyone, preferably in the UK who would undertake such work?

 

Bod.

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I have purchased a geiger counter - GMC 320 plus from a specialist shop in Croydon, UK. It reads Beta and Gamma but not Alpha.

I have used it on an old watch I have been given and it indicates it has uranium on the dial/hands which surprised me.

This old watch has been in an enclosed corner cupboard with other items and watches. One of these watches belongs to my grandson and I am anxious to know if it is safe for him to use being in proximity of the radium watch.

Also, I do not want to keep the old radium watch. How and where can I dispose of it in the UK?

Many thanks for any advice as I'm a bit unsure how radiation works.

 

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7 hours ago, Pluto said:

I have purchased a geiger counter - GMC 320 plus from a specialist shop in Croydon, UK. It reads Beta and Gamma but not Alpha.

I have used it on an old watch I have been given and it indicates it has uranium on the dial/hands which surprised me.

This old watch has been in an enclosed corner cupboard with other items and watches. One of these watches belongs to my grandson and I am anxious to know if it is safe for him to use being in proximity of the radium watch.

Also, I do not want to keep the old radium watch. How and where can I dispose of it in the UK?

Many thanks for any advice as I'm a bit unsure how radiation works.

 

Easy to get rid of.  Mail it to me.

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