Traser Navigator watch

Traser Watch, Wrist Navigators, Analog

By Arnie

Features Type:
Original Navigator Analog Watch with Nato specification
resistance: 30m/99ft
material: Polyamid
size: 45mm
RRP 125.50UKP

supplied for review by

brief intro:
Traser Watch, Wrist Navigators, Analog
MIL-W-46374F-TYPE6, 6645-01-364-4042-MILLICURES-UNDER 25-3H
P6500.405.33.01 now there’s a blooming mouthful for a model
name! In short, this model is the Traser H3 Navigator Analog
Watch (without date). ‘Type 6’ refers to the generation
of the Traser system – this is the newest evolution. The
full brief from the
website gives the following:

H3 Navigator watch as made to US Army specifications and
issued during Desert storm. There are still 300,000 in use
with US Navy Seals, US Special Forces, SAS, SBS and other
elite military units worldwide. Up until now, the US milspec
watches were only permitted for military personnel, but
a Permanent Light Technology (Traser) watch was produced
for the civilian market, using a lower specification adaptation
of the H3 Navigator Watch. These were marketed in the UK
as Traser and the US as Luminox…”

became the exclusive UK wholesale distributor for this series
of watches and
kindly offered to send us a sample for review. Here’s the announcement
from them:

are the exclusive UK importer of the mil spec H3 Navigator Watch
using traser technology. These are the original watches which
were made to US Army specifications and issued during Desert storm.
There are still 300,000 in use with US Navy Seals, US Special
Forces, SAS, SBS and other elite military units worldwide.

until now, the US milspec watches were only permitted for military
personnel, but a Permanent Light Technology watch was produced
for the civilian market, using a lower specification adaptation
of the H3 Navigator Watch. These were marketed in the UK as Traser
and the US as Luminox.
We hope that we can be of service

Traser watches are built to a fairly simple and very robust military
specification. The term “Traser” refers to their unique
luminous light system (permanent light technology) that uses a
Gaseous Tritium Light Source (GTLS) to generate a low-level light.
“Traser” is also a brand of watches that uses this technology
as seen in this review. If you look closely at the photos you’ll
see that the green blobs aren’t strips but are actually teeny
tiny vials of gas.

technology behind the watch is guaranteed to glow for 10 years,
now bear in mind that this glow is independent of the battery
source. Unlike other “glowing watch” systems there’s
no recharge time, no electrical system, the little vials of Tritium
simply glow all the time, but you see the effect only in low light

Here you can see the watch in complete dark (far left), through
to twilight on the far right.

quote the low light source to be over 100 times brighter than
other watch dials. Having owned several illuminated watches I
can tell you that although it’s difficult to quantify luminescence
without specialist equipment, the Traser watch is certainly brighter
than anything I’ve ever seen that didn’t come from a nuclear fallout

many moons ago my grandparents had some clocks with hands that
glowed at night. After some research into what made them glow
(most probably a product of Sellafield) in the late 80s they went
in the bin. ^_^ (you can find some very unbiased
Sellafield info here

As mentioned before the Tritium will glow for at least 10 years,
the lithium batteries that drive the watch last for 8 years or
so, a Swiss quartz movement, and the glass window is a hardened
sapphire glass crystal, so about as tough as it gets.

vials: The little glowing blobs are quoted as being fail-safe
and maintenance free, each one actually being a CO2 laser sealed
borosilicate glass vial. The low energy electrons emitted by the
Tritium excite the phosphor and this in turn creates cold energy,
which produces a low level light source without the need for filaments
or heat dissipation, and “ risk of fire or explosion”
(I’m glad that one is cleared up). I can see the headline now:

new mil-spec watch, that doesn’t set fire to your wrist or blow
it off!”

anyway, as I was saying it glows. Erm now for anyone that hasn’t
caught on here, yes it works much like a TV screen, with the electron/phosphor
system. The bit that may have gone over a few people’s heads is
that the gas does indeed emit electrons

short explanation is that Tritium is heavy hydrogen (H3), more
commonly known as the radioactive isotope of hydrogen with a half-life
of ~12.3 years and a decay rate of 5.626% per year. Decay of Tritium
H3 creates beta rays that, when they strike the phosphor particles
that coat the inside of the glass microsphere, are converted to
visible light. The term “half life” is the time required
to reduce the particle output (and thus the illumination level)
by 50%. This gives a functional life that technically exceeds
15 years (decay isn’t linear it’s an exponential function).

In short
it’s not dangerous unless inhaled, but the vials in the Traser
watches are tiny and incredibly well sealed, and built to US spec
you can honestly sleep soundly owning one yourself.

the box:
You’ll find the watch well packed in a foam
mount inside the transparent plastic box that it comes in.

instructions are very simple – the watch has a two position
crown (three on the models with the date). Pulled out the
second hand stops and the crown can then be turned in either
direction to wind the hands forwards or in reverse.

the back of the box you’ll find the warranty card, in this
case stamped by

I thought that the bezel was fixed and would not turn, but
I was mistaken; it’s actually just very difficult to move
(presumeably easing with time). You’ll find that the bezel
will turn counter clockwise only on a simple ratchet system.

reason for turning one way only is simple, in a situation
such as diving where you may set your watch to indicate
how much time you have left at a specific depth the last
thing you want is to accidentally knock the watch and for
it to indicate a longer time that you originally intended.
Thus moving anti-clockwise only means that if you knock
it, the piece will indicate a shorter time that was originally

the bezel you’ll find a solitary tritium cell that glows
red – this is to make it easier to orientate yourself with
the hands at night, and hence to correctly deduce the time.

the face you’ll find simple time markings, with the 24hour
numbers in smaller text inside those. In the middle of the
face you’ll spot the ‘H3’ logo and the radiation symbol.

strap is simple in design, yet tough and well made. The edges
of the material are all melted to ensure that there’s no fraying
(something that really annoys me with fibrous straps), and the
loop that holds the spare strap past the buckle is fixed, so it
won’t slide off and get lost.

will find that there’s oodles of strap. This is just so that it
can be worn over just about anything.

I have fairly big wrists and there’s
plenty of strap to go around. To loose the excess simple pass
the tail through the securing loop, fold it over and then back
again. Of course if you don’t like the standard NATO style strap,
Traser make several types that fit easily, and one is bound to
suit you.

the back of the watch you’ll find that The complete mil-spec details
are printed together with an area for a name to be engraved (I
assume) and the production date. This one is listed as ‘Jul 03’

Navigators, Analog
Jul 03

watch casing itself is waterproof down to 30m/99feet (the Diver
model is spec’d for 200m/660feet), and built from a polyester/glass
fiber material with a double o-ring seal at the back. So unlike
a cheapy digital watch from elsewhere it’s unlikely you’ll rip
the strap pin out of the casing (as I did with a Casio many years

Well it’s well built and certainly “does what it says
on the tin” so achieves ‘Ronseal’ status right away.This
specific model is very light at roughly 38grams including
strap, although obviously metal versions will get heavier.

you’re looking for a watch to last you out in the skirmish
field, or just for something a little different, you can’t
go wrong with a Traser unit. Built to last there’s a wide
range to choose from, starting at a very reasonable 62.00UKP
going up to 285.00 for the top model. Generally speaking
you pay for the materials, strap and date function, the
rest is much the same between models.

only minor niggle I can think of is that the bezel is very
difficult to turn when fixed to the wrist by the fibrous

design, built to last, not over priced and at the same time
piece they are equally desirable as either a fashion item
or for more practical outdoor uses. So if you’re a dedicated
Airsofter, or looking for that perfect accessory to go with
your Panasonic Toughbook and Hummer H1/2, then look no further.
You need a Traser (no really)! Expect to find Traser watches
sported on hairy wrists at a skirmish site near you soon.
Many thanks go out to
for supplying this model for review.
is supplied by,
should you wish to purchases any Traser watches, be sure
to checkout the TraserMilitary

– the exclusive UK importers of the mil-spec H3 Navigator Watch
using traser technology
– who kindly supplied this model for review
– the manufacturers of the product

The environmental, health, budgetary, and strategic effects of
the Department of Energy’s decision to produce tritium
Hisham Zerriffi

Sellafield info


on this review in the forums

Thursday, September 18, 2003 11:13 AM
Copyright 2003 ArniesAirsoft

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