Radioluminescent Watch - Radium (1927)

This watch is in terrible shape (a missing hand, missing crystal, worn face), but it has character. For reasons that become obvious when you look at the back of the watch, it takes the shape of a Chevrolet car grill. And although it is hard to tell from the photo, it has "Chevrolet" marked on the top front. Of course,  it is in the collection because it has a radium dial.

The above photograph shows the back side of the watch. Although the fellow that it was awarded to is undoubtedly long gone, you can't help but feel good knowing that he was on top of his game in 1927. Things probably got a little worse for him a couple of years down the road.

The last wrist watches to employ radium-containing radioluminescent paint were produced in the U.S. in 1968. Estimates of the average dose to the gonads for someone wearing such a watch ranged from 0.5 to 3 mrem per year.


National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. Radiation Exposure of the U.S. Population from Consumer Products and Miscellaneous Sources. NCRP Report No. 95. 1987.

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Last updated: 05/10/11
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