Additional techniques for superluminous re-application....
Someone pointed out to me that my last post implies that I do all the reapplication of the paint freehand. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, you will get the best results, especially on small hands and markers, if you don't do it freehand.
I do a fair amount of soldering, so freehand painting with a small brush is fairly natural for me, I am used the hand position and the painful pauses in the process. I did freehand repaint the hands of Seiko dive watch, but they were big hands.
The easiest way to redo small hands and markers is as follows:
Remove the crystal if you can. Acrylic crystals are easy; you need a tool called a crystal lifter, fairly inexpensive claw like device with screw adjustable pressure to squeeze and compress the crystal so that it cleanly slips out of the bezel.
Any watchmakers supply will have one.
If you cannot remove the crystal, you will need to open the watch properly from the back using the correct tool. There are many correct tools and I can't cover them all here, but do make sure you use the correct tool.
Assuming that you have removed the crystal or in some way gained access to the dial and hands, proceed as follows.
Remove the hands with "hand remover" tool. Be very careful to protect the dial underneath the tool from scratches by placing cushion, like a small square of tissue or paper, underneath the tool. If you don't have a hand remover, buy one, they are cheap and will save you from throwing your beautiful watch against a nearby wall when you realize that you have split the base of the second hand. The great thing about these tools is that they lift the hands straight up. This makes for clean removal.
You do not have remove the dial from the movement, but it helps. If you don't, make sure you protect the movement and put it in a holder, or keep it in the case with the back on.
Now you will need a 3x5 card and some plain old tan paper masking tape. DO NOT USE PLASTIC TAPE. If you have taken my advice and used a non-water based carrier for your paint, plastic tape will dissolve under the paint and make a huge mess.
Take the hands you have recently removed, and place them face up on the card. Completely cover the hands, one by one, with a single strip of masking tape. Then, using a loupe, neatly cut out only that portion of the tape which covers the luminous portion of the hands with a fine blade Xacto knife.
For the dial, follow the same approach, but do not mask any area of the dial with writing on it, since the tape may remove very old lettering.
Apply the luminous paint in several coats, let dry, reapply.
Remove the mask, reassemble, and you are done.
Some warnings -
Generally, do not attempt to remove the old luminous material. In particular, do not attempt to remove old tritium. If you breath the particulates, you are going to give yourself lung cancer. Even worse, the new luminous material will look like hell because the base will be uneven. Seriously though, even if it appears to be dead, that old tritium is dangerous. And the new stuff works just fine over the top.
Don't get carried away with the hands - make sure that you have enough clearance between them before you add too many coats. Two is probably enough, and make sure they are thin. If you have lumps of material, you didn't mix it thin enough. Keep in mind that the paint will not be opaque if correctly mixed.
If you absolutely have to remove some material from the hands or dial, and you have tritium involved, do it under water, in a small tray or place of clean water.