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The Best Luminous Watch To Use In The Dark (and It's Affordable)

Posted on February 17 2021

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Best Affordable Luminous Watch

There are still a bunch of situations where you’ll need to read your watch in the dark. Everything from a late-night run to a wild camping trip.

Not all watches are up to the job.

There are ugly digital watches with buttons to press for light. There are also great analogue watches with lume painted onto the hands. But these need charging by sunlight.

I prefer a simple solution.

I want a luminous watch that does the job for me. I want to be able to look at my wrist 24hrs a day and see the time. No buttons to press. No daytime charging.

The Best Affordable Luminous Watch

The solution is GTLS illumination.

It involves mounting small gas-filled tubes on a watches hands and markers. It’s safe and provides stunning illumination for up to 25 years.

Only a handful of watch manufacturers have invested in this technology. From these, I’ve selected the best watch. A piece that has successfully combined Tritium illumination with great watch design and build quality.

Value for money was key in making my decision.

This would be my first choice for a luminous watch. Let’s have a closer look, and after that, I’ll give you some background on the brand and the technology.

Traser P67 Pro Officer Watch

Traser P67 Officer Pro Gunmetal Black/Lime 107869

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 9.5mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • PVD Coated Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

The P67 does something very simple. It takes a proven field watch design and upgrades it by adding the best illumination.

There are two more selling points. It’s Swiss-Made and affordable.

And to close the deal? Traser’s owners, MB-Microtec, are the inventors of GTLS technology. I’ll give more details about this below - for now, trust me. This is the best watch illumination available.

At heart, the P67 is a classic field watch. It looks, feels and wears like a functional military watch.

On this particular variation, the case and bracelet have a gunmetal PVD coating. Immediately, this gives the impression of stealth - ideal for a hunter or sniper. Remember, I don’t want to press buttons to tell the time and I doubt it’s practical for these two either.

Traser has reinforced the military aesthetic with a plain dial and bold numerals. There are both 12 and 24hr numbers. The numbers are highly legible, lumed and emphasise the 12, 3, 6 and 9.

The neat date window is in the traditional 3 o’clock position - ideal to see without revealing the whole watch. And there is minimal dial text - a logo and confirmation that the watch is Swiss-Made.

Now for the illumination.

Traser have placed small, gas-filled tubes on the hands and hour markers. The gas is Tritium - it’s radioactive but perfectly safe inside the tubes. It doesn’t need to be charged by sunlight. These tubes will continuously emit light for the next 25yrs.

So this watch is tough. There are no reflective surfaces and it’s easy to read at all times. The movement is a very reliable Swiss-Made Quartz. The clear dial is protected by a sapphire crystal. There’s 100M water resistance - essential if you plan to take the Officer Pro into rugged environments.

If you want a watch to use in the dark, and you like the field watch style - this is an ideal candidate.

What is GTLS or Tritium Tubes?

GTLS is a technology used to illuminate the hands and markers of watches.

Small glass tubes are filled with a radioactive gas that can produce constant light for between 10 and 25 years. The glass is lined with phosphorescent material and then filled with gaseous tritium. This is known as Gaseous Tritium Light Source or GTLS.

Traser Watches

MB-Microtec invented GTLS technology. But they struggled to get watch manufacturers enthusiastic about this innovation.

The solution was to launch its own watch brand. The first Traser release was the P6500 Type 6, a watch created for the US military. Traser shipped 300,000 units of this first self-illuminated watch.

The design is now quite familiar. A black case - steel or polymer - with a tactical/military aesthetic. It’s a style used by other brands, including Luminox and Marathon.

Although this look is central to the Traser stable, they do now have a variety of styles.

Where are Traser Watches Made?

Traser watches are all Swiss-made.

As you can see on the P67, they have the Swiss-Made text at the bottom of the dial. All Traser models also use Swiss quartz or automatic movements. Quartz movements are used more than mechanical ones - they’re more practical in rugged environments.

The Traser range begins at a little over £100 and reaches the high hundreds. So the Officer Pro is mid-priced.

They compete with the likes of Luminox, Marathon and MWC. I’d also suggest they’ll be aiming for the customers who wear the more sporty Seiko and Citizen models but may be tempted by a niche Swiss brand.


If you want to wear a watch in the dark, get a model that uses GTLS.

Swiss manufacturer Traser was the brand behind this innovation. They build tough watches for outdoor sports and buyers with an active lifestyle.

The P67 Officer Pro is one of their highlights. A blacked-out field watch that uses a clean military-style to house this brilliant illumination. It’s ideal if you need a watch to take into challenging environments.

It’s understated, reliable and will light up your wrist. It’s also very affordable.

Let me know what you think below.

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1 comment

  • Jason North: March 30, 2021

    Hello Lee,
    I like your magazine, this is the first time I’ve read it. Your passion and scope is clear and very interesting. I like the idea of specializing in affordable watches, after all, good engineering is so much more affordable than it was.
    However….. when I used your eBay link for the Traser P67 it smarted. US $574.31 is not what most people would call very affordable, especially considering that it looks like a £70 MWC, (no disrespect to MWC, they’re solid).
    I’m a bit of a nut for luminosity. I have a SSC079P1 Pilot with Lumibrite hands & markers. It IS bright, it lasts until the sun comes up. It’s my proper watch but I stopped wearing it for near a year for I was fed up with the heavy bracelet, and I couldn’t remove it for a pin was bent. Instead of getting it fixed I put it in a drawer.
    While the Seiko was snoozing in a drawer, for a laugh I bought an Eaglemoss Luftwaffe Flieger replica on eBay, you know the ones that came with that Military Watches magazine. Nearly a year on and it’s still going! And a damn sight more luminous than so called luminous ‘proper’ watches. It came in a presentation box and cost about £7 posted. Now Lee, THAT, IS, VERY, affordable : )
    As for the Seiko, a jeweller sorted it out last Saturday so now I’m free to choose a tasty Nato strap, (I had no idea there were so many!) I can’t wait to wear it again, I love that watch. I’ll give Herr Flieger ein bisschen schlafen in the drawer. Any recommendations for a strap brand?
    Kind regards bonny lad,

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