Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

Five Watches Presented in 2021 Making Full Use of Luminescence

Taking a second look at watches that exploit the power of light to glow in the dark.

| By Robin Nooy | 6 min read |

Some watches shine brighter than others; we all know that. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be attributed to copious amounts of gems or a superbly polished case. It can also be the result of the amount and application of luminescent material. And this, quite literally, can make a watch shine brighter than any diamond, especially at night! Here’s our list of five watches presented in 2021 that put Super-LumiNova to good use!

Bovet 1822 Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two Reimagined

It might be considered an unlikely candidate for a Buying Guide, but Bovet is not a brand that shies away from the unconventional. The independent watchmaker has a history of creating superb, elaborate pieces often mixing traditional crafts with contemporary design and complex movements.

Bovet 1822 Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two Reimagined 2021 - Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two DLC-SLN

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The Bovet 1822 Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two Reimagined, however, pushes the degree of unconventionality even further. A black DLC-coated titanium case hosts the in-house calibre 17BM06-GD, a hand-wound movement with a one-minute flying tourbillon escapement. Where this watch really shines, though, pun fully intended, is in the use of full luminous dials with a distinct grainy texture.

The off-centred dials, one for a ten-day power reserve and the other for the big date display, come in green, blue, yellow purple or salmon-coloured Super-LumiNova. The 60-seconds scale surrounding the tourbillon is matched to the two dials above. The combination of the glossy black case offset with the bright coloured dials is surely one to split opinions right down the middle.

Quick facts – 44mm diameter  – sloped grade 5 titanium case with black DLC coating – sub-dials and minute ring in Super-LumiNova in 5 colours – in-house hand-wound calibre 17BM06-GD – one-minute flying tourbillon escapement – single barrel with 10-day power reserve – central hours and minutes, seconds on flying tourbillon, big date, power reserve indication – limited to 8 pieces per colour – CHF 200,000

For more information please visit Bovet’s website.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300 Night Diver

TAG Heuer is taking us back to the early 1980s, at least in spirit, with the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300 Night Diver. This diving tool, dressed in full black PVD-coated stainless steel pays homage to the Heuer 980.031L Night Diver, a watch allegedly worn by James Bond in The Living Daylights.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 NIGHT DIVER Calibre 5 Automatic - WBP201D.FT6197

Regardless of the cinematographic heritage, the new Aquaracer 300 Night Diver comes with a full lume dial similar to the original, albeit updated with modern materials and technology. The new Aquaracer collection was introduced during Watches & Wonders in April and comes with a reworked case and dial compared to previous iterations.

The dial looks almost milky white during the day but turns all green during nighttime. Along with the dial, the hands shift colour too, from white to green and blue. As a nod to the original Heuer 980.013L Night Diver, the eight octagonal hour indexes are coated with black lacquer for a sharp contrast against the dial in all lighting conditions.

Quick facts – 43mm diameter – sandblasted steel case with black DLC coating – black DLC-coated unidirectional bezel with matte black ceramic insert – opaline dial fully coated in white Super-LumiNova – indexes with Super-LumiNova or black lacquer – Super-LumiNova coated hands – calibre 5 (Sellita SW200-1 base) – automatic winding – hours, minutes, seconds and date – non-limited – CHF 3,250

For more information please visit Tag Heuer’s website.

Bell & Ross BR V2-94 FULL LUM

Bell & Ross has a long history of aviation and military-inspired watches, both in round and square cases. While mostly known for the square-and-circle design of the BR 01, BR 03, and BR 05, the more conventionally shaped BR V2 collection is not to be overlooked.

One of the more standout pieces is, without a doubt, the Bell & Ross BR V2-94 FULL LUM. The BR V2-92 makes full use of the light-emitting properties of LumiNova and Super-LumiNova. Bell & Ross has played around with luminous materials in watches before, but primarily in the BR 03 collection with watches like the BR 03 92 GREY LUM, HOROLUM, NIGHTLUM, and FULL LUM.

The BR V2-94 FULL LUM has a very unusual dial during the day, but even more so during the night. Under sunlight/daylight, the dial appears to have very light, pale yellow, and green tones. Stepping out of the sunlight and into darkness, the entire dial will start to light up in a dramatic way. The main dial will emit a green hue, while the numerals, indices, hands, and counters will emit a slightly different tone of green. Finally, the central chronograph seconds and the 30-minute chronograph counter light up in bright blue.

Quick facts – 41mm diameter x 14.2mm height – stainless steel case with brushed and polished surfaces – fixed bezel with black aluminium ring and 60-minute scale – full lume dial in light-green C5 SLN, 30-minute counter, and central seconds in blue-emitting SLN – BR-CAL.301, based on ETA 2894-2 – automatic modular chronograph – 42h power reserve – limited to 250 pieces – EUR 4,700

For more information please visit Bell & Ross’ website.

MeisterSinger Stratoscope

While the MeisterSinger Stratoscope might not be as complex, or as strong in glow as other watches on this list, it does deserve to be mentioned. The watch comes with MeisterSinger’s signature single-hand display for the time and an impressive ultra-large moon phase indication. While not new entirely, as it was first used in the MeisterSinger Lunascope, it seems a better fit in the slightly larger Stratoscope (40mm versus 43mm).

MeisterSinger Stratoscope

The dial goes from jet black at the top to a gradient blue down at the bottom, with that large moon phase display dominating the upper half. The display has a photorealistic moon that’s entirely coated in luminous material. Along with the central hand and the brand’s hallmark double-digit hour markers, it makes for an intriguing display at night.

Quick facts – 43mm diameter x 11.7mm height – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – jet black dial with blue gradient lower half – oversized moon phase indication with luminous photorealistic moon – calibre MS Luna, Sellita SW 220 base with MeisterSinger designed moon phase module – automatic winding – 38h power reserve – EUR 3,690

For more information please visit MeisterSinger’s website.

Urwerk UR-220 SL Asimov

Any Urwerk is impressive to behold, there’s no doubt about that. And while most, if not all, come with a healthy dose of luminescent material used for the hands, satellites, scales, and more, there’s one that stands out just a little bit more.

The Urwerk UR-220 SL Asimov exchanges the “regular” rotating cubes that indicate the hours on the three-armed satellite system for ones made of Super-LumiNova. Instead of being coated by it, it is made of solid Super-LumiNova Grade X1 BL to be precise and moulded instead of CNC machined.

Accompanying the fully luminescent cubes is a curved minute track with an additional quarter, half-, and three-quarter hour digits, all coated with Super-LumiNova. On the top side of the dial, there’s the power reserve indication, emitting a blue glow at night. The indication is split into two sections: the right one shows the degree of mainspring wind, and once it is fully wound and in the red, the left side indicator takes over. This system required an additional 83 components, so not an easy thing to do.

Quick facts – 43.8mm width x 53.6mm length x 14.8mm height – carbon CTP case with 81 layers – black DLC-coated titanium caseback – calibre UR7.20, developed by Urwerk – wandering hours display with rotating cubes in solid Super-LumiNova on satellite complication and 3D retrograde minutes hand – double power reserve indicator – oil-change indicator with rollers showing accumulated running time – CHF 147,000

For more information please visit Urwerk’s website.

4 responses

  1. Can’t say I have ever found lume all that important but than goodness we will be able to see what the moon is doing in the dark without having to resort to looking out of the window.

  2. Nice watches however I cant believe there was no mention of the iconic Citizen NY0040-50W Promaster Aqualand Automatic Full Lume

  3. @Ronnie – in these buying guides, we only include watches that we’ve seen ourselves, and as explained in the title, it was watches launched this year 🙂
    Still, that Citizen is cool too.

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