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I've recently seen a watch (in person) with Tritium tubes and it was quite impressive lume. I wasn't able to get an answer how long it would last. Half life for tritium is 12.32 years. Does this mean the lume would be half as bright in 12 years? Wikipedia says tritium costs $30,000 per gram and that it is basically hydrogen and therefore hard to contain. So...do tritium tubes leak? Can they leak?
 

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Ball are guaranteed for 25 years.

There is quite a bit of discussion on this in the Ball forum. Suffice it to say, that, no the brightness is not really related to the half life - the brightness is related to the phosphor coating being fully energized.
 

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I've recently seen a watch (in person) with Tritium tubes and it was quite impressive lume. I wasn't able to get an answer how long it would last. Half life for tritium is 12.32 years. Does this mean the lume would be half as bright in 12 years? Wikipedia says tritium costs $30,000 per gram and that it is basically hydrogen and therefore hard to contain. So...do tritium tubes leak? Can they leak?
As I understand it.....the "half-life" means that a tritium tube will glow at full intensity for 12.5 years and will then lose it's glow in measured amounts over the remaining 12.5 years at which point it will glow at its dimmest from then on. Since the Tritium isotopes are radioactive they will never die completely. Also tubes are not replaced individually in the case of death or damage (both can happen). Manufactures replace the entire dial not just individual tubes; average cost runs $100 - $300 depending on brand and tube size (T25 or T100).
 

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As I understand it.....the "half-life" means that a tritium tube will glow at full intensity for 12.5 years and will then lose it's glow in measured amounts over the remaining 12.5 years at which point it will glow at its dimmest from then on. Since the Tritium isotopes are radioactive they will never die completely. Also tubes are not replaced individually in the case of death or damage (both can happen). Manufactures replace the entire dial not just individual tubes; average cost runs $100 - $300 depending on brand and tube size (T25 or T100).
Ok, so I guess we will do it here again...

The half life represents a decrease in the amount of electrons given off to charge the lume, but nobody knows how much "extra" there is to account for the drop before the lume begins to fade.

There is no such thing as T25 or T100 tubes. There are a variety of tubes of different sizes, charged with different pressures, etc any combination of which may be chosen for a value that adds up to <25 mCi or 25-100 mCi.

You are correct that when they die, it will require a dial replacement. I just saw someone had to have a Ball Aviator dial replaced (for a different reason) and the cost was 70 CHF - so the cost is not that bad.
 
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