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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read in old info that you could get the work done for $160-$200. Ball however wants "starting at" $650. There's gotta be a better solution.
Advise?


Here's the watch in question: Ball Fireman Night Train Military Time

137259
 

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I can’t help, but this reminded me there’s a show on Netflix about radium and the preview showed a bunch of women sitting around putting lume on watches. Looked ‘40s era. If I see it again I’ll reply here.
 

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Wow Tom, and just imagine if you had multiple Ball watches
that you needed fixed sir ! 😲🙁

Unfortunately, I can’t give you a definitive answer, but would
maybe try to contact places in your area who might be able
to look at the watch, and replace those tubes. Because it really
doesn’t seem like there are a ton of places that work on Ball
watches, or with Tritium in general.

I did do a search a few moments ago, but didn’t find too much.
However, 🙂 I always have heard great things about a place called
Topper here in the U.S.

Topper Fine Jewelers


Then I also found this place called Watch Repair USA who say
they service Ball Watches as well.


Watch Repair Experts | Watch Repairs USA


And was on Luminox’s website also, snd they have their work
done by a watchmaker named Saltzmans.


https://www.saltzmans-watches.com/about

I guess it couldn’t hurt to send these places an email sir, and
see what they say. 😉 Then also just look into places by you
there. 🙂 It may all take a while, but just take your time, and
hopefully the best route will reveal itself. (y)

Please keep us updated on everything. And good luck !
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for those links Tom. I'll check them out. Local doesn't appear to be an option. The places I checked talked like 'noone' does it.
 

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Tritium was used as a replacement for Radium. It's sort of a "lesser evil" because tritium is radioactive (hence why it glows 24/24), but just not as bad as Radium.

To me, it looks as if your watch has tubes of Tritum on the hands, but not the face?

If it is both the face and hands that are dead, the tubes are more or less easy to replace, however for the face it means someone would have to scrape it off and apply it anew, using special equipment and under special conditions so as to not inhale the Tritium nor have it escape.

You could replace the face with a new one, if available, but not if it is NOS from 20 years ago, the Tritium will also be dead on the NOS version.

It's a real problem. I have the same thing on my TAG Heuer, I've learned to live with the fact it no longer works at night.
 

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Watch Freek
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I've read in old info that you could get the work done for $160-$200. Ball however wants "starting at" $650. There's gotta be a better solution.
Advise?


Here's the watch in question: Ball Fireman Night Train Military Time

View attachment 137259
I have a Davosa watch with tritium tubes. From what I have read the tubes are only made in one factory, and that's in Canada. You have no option other than to buy a new dial with the tubes attached
 

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Thanks for those links Tom. I'll check them out. Local doesn't appear to be an option. The places I checked talked like 'noone' does it.
You are very welcome. (y)

It’s really something like you, and the guys are saying
how not too many places seem to be able to help with
this. And who knows, maybe this will change over time.
But yes, check in with those places, and see what they
have to say sir. 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I guess it couldn’t hurt to send these places an email sir, and
see what they say. 😉 Then also just look into places by you
there. 🙂 It may all take a while, but just take your time, and
hopefully the best route will reveal itself. (y)

Please keep us updated on everything. And good luck !
I'm going to try 'Watch Repair Experts'. They wouldn't give me an estimate but they pay shipping one way and I just pay return shipping if the in hand estimate is unsatisfactory. A nice lady contacted me and I have a good feeling about the place so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have a Davosa watch with tritium tubes. From what I have read the tubes are only made in one factory, and that's in Canada. You have no option other than to buy a new dial with the tubes attached
It can be done. The trick is just finding someone that will do it at a more reasonable price than a Ball service center. (Ball sets the price for them)
I've read the tritium tubes are made in one place too. Apparently they are not easy to get, but they are available outside of Ball.
 

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This watch has tubes on both the hands and the dial.

It's hard to tell from his original photo. The new ones on the Ball website show tubes, I am not sure if the same can be said for the OP's ?
 

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I'm going to try 'Watch Repair Experts'. They wouldn't give me an estimate but they pay shipping one way and I just pay return shipping if the in hand estimate is unsatisfactory. A nice lady contacted me and I have a good feeling about the place so far.
Oh neat Tom, well this is great news, and such a quick
response as well. 😀😎 That’s a good sign all by itself
to tell the truth. (y)(y)On top of that, it is one of the very
first places you tried. ..You might have already hit a home
run sir !

Fingers crosses Tom. Please keep us updated if you can. 😉
 

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below quote is from a similar thread elsewhere in 2007. MB microtech is where ball gets their tubes.


Hi -

Fundamentally yes, the tritium tubes are replaceable, but there is a great big but to that.

Tritium is produced in nuclear reactors by neutron activation of lithium-6, but can also be produced from boron-10 via neutron capture. Half-life is 12.36 years.

The tritium used in watches is really a mixture of tritium and a phosphor: the tritium emits beta particles that excite the phosphor so that it glows.

The tritium in a gaseous tritium light source undergoes beta decay, releasing electrons which cause the phosphor layer to glow.
During manufacture, a length of thin borosilicate glass tube which has had the inside surface coated with a phosphor-containing compound is filled with the radioactive tritium. The tube is then fused with a CO2 laser at the desired length. Borosilicate is preferred because it is a type of glass noted for its strength and resistance to breakage. In the tube, the tritium gives off a steady stream of energy in the form of electrons due to beta decay. These particles excite the phosphor, resulting in the emittance of a low, steady glow. You don't have to use tritium, any substance that issues a significant amount of beta particles will do, but tritium is preferred because it is not very hazardous.

You get different colors by changing the phosphorous compound (see Ball watches for a very effective use of this).

There is, as far as I know, only one commercial source for gaseous tritium, packaged in glass tubes that have an internal phosphor coating. These are called "trasers" and are only available from the company bearing the same name.

Legally, in the US, anything containing tritium is considered dual-use and cannot be easily exported, which is probably why the only real commercial source is in Switzerland. If I understand their policy correctly, they will not sell the tubes by themselves to anyone, and in order to replace them you must get in touch with the actual manufacturer of the watch and go through official channels. Hence the big but on getting them replaced: I have one of the early tritium US milspec watches and getting the original manufacturer to replace the tritium is largely an exercise in futility.

JohnF
 
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I seriously doubt you can get the work done for $150. Removing and re-attaching all the tubes is a huge PITA and time consuming. Probably Ball will replace the dial and the hands with new ones which would be the logical cost/time effective solution. I don't even know if you can buy these tubes alone unless you get them from someone on Ebay and I have no clue as to where those come from...

Alternatively you can sell the Ball and get a Deep Blue... they are as bright or brighter... for a fraction of the price.


Watch Analog watch Clock Watch accessory Jewellery
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I seriously doubt you can get the work done for $150. Removing and re-attaching all the tubes is a huge PITA and time consuming. Probably Ball will replace the dial and the hands with new ones which would be the logical cost/time effective solution. I don't even know if you can buy these tubes alone unless you get them from someone on Ebay and I have no clue as to where those come from...

Alternatively you can sell the Ball and get a Deep Blue... they are as bright or brighter... for a fraction of the price.


View attachment 137289
That's a whole new tritium watch for less than tritium replacement cost. This is a ridiculous situation. I did get the watch cheap since its 10-15 years old, but it's the principle of the thing. :cautious:
 

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I seriously doubt you can get the work done for $150. Removing and re-attaching all the tubes is a huge PITA and time consuming. Probably Ball will replace the dial and the hands with new ones which would be the logical cost/time effective solution. I don't even know if you can buy these tubes alone unless you get them from someone on Ebay and I have no clue as to where those come from...

Alternatively you can sell the Ball and get a Deep Blue... they are as bright or brighter... for a fraction of the price.


View attachment 137289
That's a whole new tritium watch for less than tritium replacement cost. This is a ridiculous situation. I did get the watch cheap since its 10-15 years old, but it's the principle of the thing. :cautious:
Carlo, snd Tom, maybe that is why Ball charges so much to
fix their watches. 😮

They are buying Deep Blue watches, and then taking them
apart to be able to replace the tubes in their own watches. 😁😊
 
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