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Dosimeter check on a Skindiver

February 4 2011 at 9:56 AM
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Firstly, I'm aware that this is quite an emotive subject. A quick search on this forum and many others will confirm this.

I'm not wishing to downplay or over-dramatise the effects of radium paint on dials and hands. This was purely for my own interest but I know there have been various discussions and opinions on whether the 66-68 Skindivers did have radium hands or dials and thought I would post my own results.

At the end of the day, you make your own decision whether you are comfortable wearing a radium dialled watch.

I've had discussions about this with Norm, both of us own about 6 skindivers and wear them regularly. For my own peace of mind, I found an inexpensive dosimeter on the bay. It had a sufficiently sensitive range to be able to measure background radiation.

I cannot really vouch for its accuracy. It does have a calibration certificate (in Polish!) with English instructions and the readings it gives tie in with what I have read background radiation to measure. It measures dosage in microsieverts/hour. From Wikipedia, 1 microsievert is equal to 0.1 millirem.

Normal background radition is itself varied depending on where you are in the world. From what I can determine around 0.1 microsieverts/hour is typical. I recorded values between 0.09 and 0.15 depending where I was in the house.

[IMG][linked image][/IMG]

I then tested two 50's Smiths watches I have. I've a similar model with dial burns. They recorded between 0.4 to 0.6 microsieverts/hour. Not really any noticable difference between the dial side and the caseback side.

[IMG][linked image][/IMG]

I then tested all my Skindivers, which range from 1966 to 1970. Here is the 1968 600ft.

[IMG][linked image][/IMG]

Which as you can see shows a background only level as they all did.

These were very unscientific tests for my own benefit and I appreciate that spot readings and dosage are two very different things. I am not commenting on whether the Smiths is 'too high' or not. I wear it very infrequently and keep it well out of sight and reach from my children. Apologies in advance for any scientific/technical errors I've made.

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