• Apprentice
    25 May 2024, 1:35 p.m.

    Dear IWC Forum users,

    First of all I'd like to say hello as I just registered here.

    I've been quite interested in Watches for years and recently found an old IWC watch deep down in a box, that belonged to my grandfather.

    I was able to date the movement to 1952 and the case to 1954. I attached some pictures here.

    This brings me to two questions I hope you can help me with:

    1. Do you know which model this watch is? I found some old "ingenieur" watches that looked similar but I am not sure if it is an ingenieur, especially as it is not written on the dial.

    2. I just read an article about radium being used in these days. I am new to this topic as I haven't touched the area of vintage watches before, so I don't really know how to rate this.

    I was wondering if Radium was used on this watch, and if yes on which parts. I was also wondering how the experts in this forum see the topic of radium on such a watch in general. Each and every local watch maker has a different opinion and the majority seems to have no clue at all.

    I am not sure how I feel about Radium. I have to admit I felt slightly uncomfortable learning about the radium. I also see this watch as some future family heritage and was thinking about removing the radium, if this is a legit way and possible without tremendous expenses.

    I do not want to overthink this topic but I would be thankful for some educated thoughts on this topic.

    Thank you and best regards

    Ps: I hope the image works

  • Graduate
    26 May 2024, 4:16 a.m.

    Most likely it is radium if prior to 1960 is my understanding. However the hand lume doesn't look dark enough. Is there any glow when you shine a UV light onto the dial/hands in a no light area? Possible hands changed or even relumed. Only way to really tell is to put a Geiger Detector over it - the GMS-300s is an inexpensive clicker but they only provide an indication that it's radium but not what kind of emmission I think, really just dosemeters. Anyway, that's a whole lesson in physics. If it's just the hands I doubt that any alpha particles will be getting through the glass any way and as long as you don't aim to digest the radium then you should be fine. I have a number of radium watches that send the counter off the deep end, and even so the real hazard comes from contamination, not irradiation. In my opinion if you don't open the watch case and sniff up a whole lot of Radon you should be fine - of ourse many will disagree.

    I don't worry about wearing a watch with radium lume, as I don't think that there is a significant health risk for wearers. The dire reputation regarding radium I think comes from the dial painters beinfg subjected to high rates of bone cancer above the average. Once they stopped licking the radium on the brushes referred to as "lip pointing" the risk reduced to witin the statistical average I believe.

    Radium primarily emits alpha particles which can only travel a short distance. It is correct that they cannot penetrate paper so they only causes health issues if ingested.

    Anyway, I think you will find this interesting.


  • Connoisseur
    27 May 2024, 3:54 p.m.

    Hi, beautiful watch!

    The movement inside is most likely a calibre 852, one of the most successfull self-winding movements. The style of the hands is called "Dauphine".

    I have a watch much like that, it is my daily wearer and I love it.

    If you plan on using the watch, take it to a competent watchmaker (not one of those that only knows how to replace batteries) for a service. The oils in the movement are by now completely dry and running the watch will damage the movement making the next service much more expensive.

    You can also send it to an IWC service center, but any competent watchmaker can handle this movement and will probably be cheaper, at a guess around $500.

    The radium lume on my watch made the geiger counter in my high school very excited, more ticks than it got from the samples provided by our physics teacher. But as already stated above, the radiation is very weak and is not a helth hazard.

    Best regards,