Budget Watch Collecting/Repainting/reluming hands

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A fairly easy way to drastically improve the look of some watches is to replace worn or missing lume from the hands. This works with slotted hands

Required tools:


Paint or lume compound

Something to hold a toothpick (blob of clay, Rodico or a hole)

You may want to remove the old paint, especially if you are using lume paint rather than plain. If the watch is very old, make sure it does not contain radium, a poisonous radioactive material. If the dial says ra anywhere, if the paint looks brown, or if the crystal has shadows of the hands it probably contains radium. Radium is relatively safe if contained inside the watch case, but dangerous if breathed or swallowed.

Place the hands upside down on the toothpick, hour hand first.


In this case, I did not clean the old paint off, since it was mostly intact.

Mix the paint as required for the appropriate color and texture. It should be reasonably thick, but still liquid rather than paste. I used several colors of acrylic here, trying to duplicate the original as closely as possible.


With the clean end of a toothpick, pick up a small amount of paint. Drag the paint across the back of the hand in the slot area. This should leave a film of paint, and the front side should look clean and even.


Let dry

Back after finishing:


Before and after (different watch, done with the same technique)

CaravelleBefore2085.jpg BulovaBeforeDSC02314.jpg