One of the brightest trends to emerge in the watch industry these days is the growing tendency of timepieces to glow in the dark. Tourbillons are fun to watch and repeaters are divine musical machines, but if you really want a useful function in a watch, you should get one that glows in the dark – it will help you read the time in theatres, dark airplanes or under water.
The hour markers and hands of Ball watches, for example, contain micro gas tubes with tritium gas, coated with luminescent material. The H1 Hydromechanics from HYT employs clear circular tubes filled with a glowing green liquid called fluorescein. The liquid is manipulated by a pair of tiny bellows-like contraptions that make it flow up and down alongside an hours index.
Not to be outdone, Fawaz Gruosi of de Grisogono has constructed the case of newest Tondo (called Tondo by Night) of a pearly photoluminescent composite fiberglass material that makes the watch glow in the dark. Given the penchant among watchmakers for combining interesting functions, we may be looking at a tourbillon with strobe lights next year at the Swiss watch fairs.