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Old 7 October 2019, 07:26 AM   #1
T5AUS
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Results from a Geiger counter

Hi all, just wondering how much radiation I can expect to find (if any) on my 62 pcg 5512. At night in pitch black I can see a very very faint glow on a couple of indices but I really have to strain my eyes to see it. I had a geologist friend wave a Gieger counter over the dial but it picked up nothing. Is this normal on a watch of this age or should I at least expect a trace ? Perhaps his machine had a higher threshold level, more for reading Uranium samples or perhaps radon has a short shelf life in such small quantities on watches. It would be interesting to hear from others who have tested their 1962 or earlier subs for this
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Old 7 October 2019, 07:38 AM   #2
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These are not hot like 50’s watches. Depending on your geiger it would show low readings. I wouldn’t worry at all in this case as we don’t know what device he used.
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Old 7 October 2019, 10:53 AM   #3
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no mate expect virtually nothing other than background radiation read..

geiger are for pre 59 watches at that point the levels fall through the floor.

the glow is to do with the phosphor content (the bulb in this scenario ) not the radiation source ( the battery)....
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Old 7 October 2019, 11:13 AM   #4
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Should be nothing beyond background or very very low if any. Had a 1960 1016 that registered absolutely nothing. I even took it to my university's radiation safety lab and the director there measured it and said it wasn't hot at all.
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Old 7 October 2019, 03:52 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, it had me worried for a moment
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Old 8 October 2019, 08:47 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jedly1 View Post
no mate expect virtually nothing other than background radiation read..

geiger are for pre 59 watches at that point the levels fall through the floor.

the glow is to do with the phosphor content (the bulb in this scenario ) not the radiation source ( the battery)....
Hi Jedly,

interesting to know that you experienced the same non existent radiation!

Based on the informations that can be found over the internet it seems that after the 6542s radiation issues Rolex lowered the radiation of the radium compound during the end of the 50s, resulting in the exclamation point dials on some Rolex models during these years which can be found from ca. 1957 until ca. end of 1962 to signal that the radiation on "Swiss-only" dials has been adapted to the new radiation safety standards from the end 50s by the Atomic Energy Comission for watches that were to be sold in the U.S. and Canada. Of course not all the "Swiss" dials carried this exclamation dot, only those that have been adapted for the U.S. and Canadian market. These watches were and still are often radioactive but often considerably less than their normal "Swiss only" counterparts.

After that, based on the knowledge that can be found, in 1963/1964, the "Swiss" only dials came with an underline to mark the transition from radium to tritium.

So since here we have a "Swiss" only dial without an exclamation dot or underline it should still carry radium on the dial based on all these observations than can be found and therefore show at least a considerable amount of radiation.

But I ask: how can we be sure that radium was used? What if Rolex used another substance than radium? Or even a mixture of different radioactive materials? And what if the radium or this other radioactive substance Rolex used for the compound had already exceeded its half-life by a fair amount of time back then? And also, what if Rolex already used tritium in 1962 prior to the underline dials in 1963/1964?

Many hypothesis which all seem plausible to me and would explain why this 5512 from 1962 and others do not show any radiation at all or barely the background radiation.
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Old 8 October 2019, 10:47 AM   #7
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Hi Jedly,

interesting to know that you experienced the same non existent radiation!

Based on the informations that can be found over the internet it seems that after the 6542s radiation issues Rolex lowered the radiation of the radium compound during the end of the 50s, resulting in the exclamation point dials on some Rolex models during these years which can be found from ca. 1957 until ca. end of 1962 to signal that the radiation on "Swiss-only" dials has been adapted to the new radiation safety standards from the end 50s by the Atomic Energy Comission for watches that were to be sold in the U.S. and Canada. Of course not all the "Swiss" dials carried this exclamation dot, only those that have been adapted for the U.S. and Canadian market. These watches were and still are often radioactive but often considerably less than their normal "Swiss only" counterparts.

After that, based on the knowledge that can be found, in 1963/1964, the "Swiss" only dials came with an underline to mark the transition from radium to tritium.

So since here we have a "Swiss" only dial without an exclamation dot or underline it should still carry radium on the dial based on all these observations than can be found and therefore show at least a considerable amount of radiation.

But I ask: how can we be sure that radium was used? What if Rolex used another substance than radium? Or even a mixture of different radioactive materials? And what if the radium or this other radioactive substance Rolex used for the compound had already exceeded its half-life by a fair amount of time back then? And also, what if Rolex already used tritium in 1962 prior to the underline dials in 1963/1964?

Many hypothesis which all seem plausible to me and would explain why this 5512 from 1962 and others do not show any radiation at all or barely the background radiation.

radiation levels drop in 59 completely , yes, most likely as a consequence of the 6542 debacle .... exclamation dots are seen on 61/62 sold watches and the majority of underlines (though not all ) in 63 ...before the new nomenclature of Swiss <25t comes in denoting compliance with the new regulations .

exclamation dots and underlines IMHO are a note to anyone looking at a dial marked Swiss that it simply isn't a high level radium dial.

what powers the material 59-63 is not actually known 100% ...is it radium at much lower levels , ( but higher zinc phosphor) ..is it an early introduction of tritium . is it something else ?.. is there a cross over somewhere before that ?...we know for sure Role never sat still on it recipes for luminous material constantly changing it around ..true today too.

the change from Swiss ..to Swiss <25t does not necessarily mean a shift from radium to tritium that is a common misconception , which leads people to THINK that anything up to 63 should be radium and therefore should read on a geiger.

there are two things going on ...how the dial is marked which is a legal compliance issue , or an information issue , and what the material is made of....there is no real change in the way a dial behaves between say a pair of GMT you grab hold of .. 61 no exclamation and 63 underline ...they both read low on geiger ,... they both react to light in a similar way ...

btw exclamation dots are seen globally, they are not just in the North American market , there are hundreds of examples of original owners /full set watches supplied outside USA with exclamation dots.


the man to speak to if you want to get DEEP into it is john Fatboy Harris , who has spent an awful lot of time over the last 10 years researching the different radiation legislation around the world and how it applied to the watch industry during this period.
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Old 11 October 2019, 01:52 PM   #8
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Probably of more concern to me with the radium dials is the radon gas that is emitted, rather than the radiation. After reading about this, I decided to stick with collecting tritium matte dials.

https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/ne...serious-danger
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Old 12 October 2019, 10:33 AM   #9
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For reason I wonít bore you with the long term meds Iím on leave me partially immune suppressed so after advice from my doc , Iím the same ... I donít own any radium dialled watches , I long since sold my vintage Paneraiís and spectacular but high reading big and small crowns .... of its pre 59 I mostly avoid it
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