Watches with the Best Lume: Full Rankings

Watches with the Best Lume: Full Rankings

Just the Watch Lume Rankings

I love lume. So much so that a few years ago I developed a rating system to compare the brightness of lume across the watches that I review. I’ve scored nearly 100 watches and in this article I’ll show you the top ten brightest watches I’ve tested, as well as the full list of lume rankings from my tests. If you’re looking for a watch that will glow all night long, this list has you covered.

Testing procedure

Each watch has gone through a standardized test in as controlled an environment as I can manage. The results still have a tendency to varry slightly from test to test, so take these ratings with a grain of salt. Overall however I have found them to be relatively accurate measurement of the brightens of the lumed elements on watches.

Each watch is charged under a UV light for 10 seconds. Then I set up a time lapse on my camera in total darkness to capture consistent clear images of each watch I test. Finally I take the photos into Photoshop and sample the RBG values on the markers and dial to measure how bright they are 1 hour after being charged. This gives me a raw score that I weight against the values on my Seiko Samurai, so that the Samurai comes out with a score of 10.

I consider Seiko’s dive watches to be the benchmark for good after dark performance, so a score above a 10 indicates very good lume. But as you’ll see in this list the top watch scored an insane 25 on my test, suggesting it’s more than twice as bright as what Seiko puts out on their divers.

The Top 10

Micro-brands dominate the top ten list of most powerful lume that I’ve tested, in fact only a single major brand manages to make it in to the top 10, and you might be surprised that it’s not a Seiko. Micro-brands need to offer specs that are above those of similarly priced major brands in order to get noticed, and one way to do that is to produce a watch with outstanding, even mind-blowing lume. In this one specific area micro brands are even outshining luxury brands by producing watches that glow brighter and last longer than the likes of Rolex and Omega, despite being a fraction of the cost.


1st – Wise Hitman Full Lume Special Edition

J-Score: 25

Wise, is a microbrand based in Thailand that is relatively unknown outside their home country. But of any brand that I’ve tested they consistently dominate my Lume rankings. In fact the top three spots each feature a watch from Wise. But the Hitman Full Lume Special edition is kind of crazy, with a J-score that is a full 7 points higher than the first non-wise watch in the top 10.

This watch is by far the brightest I’ve ever seen, it almost looks like it’s powered by an active backlight like Timex’s Indiglo function.But the dial is just loaded with lume, and even after a full hour in total darkness it’s still impressively bright.

The only draw back is that they went with the choice of applying powerful lume to the hands and markers as well, which while it looks impressive, does hurt legibility because there’s just so many elements that are glowing in the dark.

See my full review of the Wise Hitman on the Just the Watch YouTube channel.

$440 from Wise watches

2nd/3rd (Tie) – Wise Adamascus AD8 and AD7

J-Score 22

Wise takes both the 2nd and third place spots as well with their AD8 diver and AD7 sports watch.

Wise Adamascus AD8

The Adamascus AD8 is Wise’s premium dive watch, featuring a 904L stainless steel case, ceramic bezel and absolutely stunning lume. Nothing about the design would tip you off to the fact that this watch is such a lume monster, but once the lights go out you’re treated to one of the purest applications of BGW9 that I’ve ever seen, with a bright cool blue glow that lasts all night long. What’s truly impressive is how even the lume is across the hands, markers and bezel, there’s not a single weak element on this watch in regards to its lume.

See my full review of the Wise Adamascus AD8 on the Just the Watch YouTube channel.

$599 from Wise Watches

Wise Adamascus AD7

How the Wise Adamascus AD7 has lume this good is a mystery. While this is technically a sports watch, in many ways it more resembles a dress watch with it’s slim profile, stunning Damascus steel case and meticulously crafted hands and hour markers. The lume plots on the markers are much smaller than what you find on dive watches, and in every other case I’ve seen this translates to less powerful lume. But somehow the AD7 manages to completely blow away every dive watch I’ve tested (except for divers from Wise). The small markers glow like distant stars in the darkness, steadily giving off their light throughout the night.

See my full review of the Wise Adamascus AD7 on the Just the Watch YouTube channel.

$700 from Wise Watches

4th – Zelos Horizons 43

J-score 18

Another microbrand that has made a name for itself in terms of lume is Singapore based Zelos. Zelos is known for producing excellent watches with a distinct modern design, and utilizes a business model that keeps costs shockingly low, so much so that any time they get a stock of watches in they almost immediately sell out.

You’ll find many of their watches in the upper portions of my lume rankings, and this is the first of two Zelos watches that make the top ten. But out of all the Zelos watches that I’ve tested the the Horizons 43mm has the best lume. This a large diver from Zelos, and it’s lume makes a big impact as well with a fully lumed bezel and large lumed triangles at 12,3 and 9.

See my full review of the Zelos Horizons 43 on the Just the Watch YouTube Channel.

$449 from Zelos Watches

5th – Axios Ironclad

J-score 17

In some ways you might look at Axios as a sister brand of Zelos. Also based in Singapore, and part owned by the owner of Zelos, Axios produces watches that offer the same amazing value as Zelos, but with designs that are more classic and historically inspired. The Ironclad was their debut model, and features top notch specs all around, including the excellent performance of it’s lume.

See my full review of the Axios Ironclad on the Just the Watch YouTube channel.

$599 from Axios Watches

6th – Namica Shirahama

J-Score 16

Namica is a microbrand based in Japan that makes watches inspired by Japanese culture. Mixing elements of Japanese minimalism with bright colors and bold lines inspired by anime and manga, Namica makes some truly unique watches. The Shirahama is their take on a dive watch and they did a wonderful job with the lume, making the watch reminiscent of the neon lights of Tokyo and Osaka once it gets dark.

See my full review of the Namica Shirahama on the Just the Watch YouTube channel.

$450 from Namica Watches

7th – Zelos Mako 3

J-Score 15

Zelos makes it’s second entry in the top ten with Mako v3, one of their most popular model lines. There have been tons of Mako 3 models released, including stainless steel models, titanium models and GMTs. No matter which one you look at the lume is excellent, with long lasting hands and markers and a fully lumed ceramic bezel.

Full review of the new GMT Mako 3

Full review of stainless steel Mako 3

Full review of the titanium Mother of Pearl Mako 3

$529 from Zelos Watches

8th/9th/10th (Tie) SWC Hyper-G and Orient RA-0ACK and Henry Archer Nordso

Rounding out our list we have a three way tie between two great Microbrands and the only major brand to crack the top ten.

J-score 14

Swiss Watch Company Hyper-G

The Swiss Watch Company is a family run business that while based in the US is owned by a Swiss immigrant with deep connections to the Swiss watch industry, where all of their watches are manufactured. In fact the owner’s son now lives in Switzerland where he works as a watch maker for some of the most well known brands in the world, but he also assembles watches for the family business.

SWC made a point of pushing the boundaries when it comes to lume application, and they consistently put out watches that have extremely bright after-dark performance. The top 10 is dominated by dive watches, but the Hyper-G manages to break in despite being a pilots watch with printed Arabic numerals. Normally printed numerals can’t keep up with applied lume plots on divers, but the Hyper-G not only keeps up but surpasses most dive watches on the market.

See my full review of the SWC Hyper-G on the Just the Watch YouTube channel.

$595 from SWC

Orient RA-AC0K

The only major brand watch to make it on the top 10 is the Orient RA-AC0K, it’s also by far the most affordable, so if you’re looking for an absolute beast of a watch in terms of lume but don’t have a big budget, this is the one to get. Orient is the lesser known little brother of Seiko, being a brand owned by the Seiko Epson group. They produce some of the best value Japanese watches on the market, and while Seiko is widely recognized for their lume performance, Orient tends to have even better lume than Seiko.

The RA-AC0K is kind of like a dressier version of the Seiko 5 Sports diver costing around the same price, but features a sapphire crystal, screw down crown, 200M of WR, and of course better lume.

See my full review of the Orient RA-AC0K on the Just the Watch YouTube channel

$237 from Amazon (affiliate link)

Henry Archer Nordso x TMS Special Edition

The Microbrand Store teamed up with Danish microbrand Henry Archer to produce this stunning malachite dial version of Henry Archer’s Nordso watch. When they did they made sure to include a healthy application of BGW9 and earning a spot on the top 10. The Nordso is impressively thin with clean minimalist stylings, making it a versatile every day wear diver. It’s 200M of WR means it’s suitable for any water sports activities, but it’s dressy looks make it just as appropriate for a day at the office. And when things get dark the Nordso has you covered as well.

See my full review of the Henry Archer x TMS Nordso on the Just the Watch YouTube channel.

$699 from The MIcrobrand Store

The Full List

Here’s my full lume ranking, updates 3/31/2024

Rank Watch J-Score
1 Wise Hitman Full Lume 25
2 WISE Adamascus AD8 22
2 Wise Adamascus AD7 22
4 Zelos Horizons 43 18
5 Axios Ironclad 17
6 Namica Shirahama 16
7 Zelos Mako 3 15
8 SWC Hyper-G 14
8 Orient RA-0ACK  14
10 Henry Archer Nordso 14
11 Zelos Spearfish GMT 13
11 Orient Kamasu 13
11 Seiko SBDC159 Alpinist 13
11 Zelos Horizons 39 13
15 Boldr Odyssey 12
15 SWC Ark 12
15 SWC mk2 Diver 12
18 Seiko Samurai Black Series 11
18 Erebus Origin (Prototype) 11
18 Orient Mako Chrono 11
21 RZE Ascentus GMT 10
21 Circula DiveSport Titanium 10
21 Revelot Hexmariner 10
21 Seiko Samurai 10
21 Squale x Whatawatches Artico 10
21 RZE Resolute Supercompressor 10
21 Zelos Comet 10
28 Seiko 5 GMT SSK003 9
28 Alba AQPJ403 9
28 Aragon Dive Master 9
28 Gavox AviDiver 2 9
28 Steeldive SD1970 9
28 Seiko 5KX SRPD55 9
34 Nodus Sector Pilot 8
34 DIY Watch Club Sandwich Dial 8
34 RLG Odyssea 3 8
34 Rotary Seamatic 8
34 San Martin SN0136 8
34 Seiko 5 SRPG35 8
34 Seiko SSC813 Speedtimer 8
34 Zelos Blacktip 8
34 Bolr Vogelkop Superb 8
34 Seiko SRPE57 (DressKX) 8
44 Aragon DM Evo 7
44 Citizen NY025 Diver 7
44 Citizen Tsuno AN3660-81L 7
44 Escapement Time Flieger 7
44 Namica Okami 7
44 Tsueno Windseeker 7
44 Vesuviate Attivo 7
44 Zelos Aurora 7
44 Orient Star Outdoors 7
53 Orient Mako 3 6
53 Seiko Speedtimer SSC911 6
53 Radcliff Tsunami 6
53 Yema Marine Nationale GMT 6
53 Spinnaker Botteger 6
53 Second Hour Saddleberg 6
59 Charlie Paris Concordia 5
59 Citizen Land GMT BJ100-82 5
59 Gavox Longitude 5
59 Laco Auggsburg Flieger 5
59 Merkur Seizen SKX 5
59 Seiko SBSC009 GMT 5
65 Aragon DF 40 4
65 Boldr Venture 4
65 Hamilton Jazzmaster GMT 4
65 Seiko SNKM775 4
65 Squale x Whatawatches Corso Italiano 4
70 Octon Baltic Blue 3
70 Aquatico Poseidon 3
70 Bulova Lunar Pilot 3
70 Glycine Airman Full Lume 3
70 Spinnaker Dumas 3
70 SpinnakerCroft Mid 3
70 Vostok Komandirsikie 3
77 Hammilton Khaki Pilor Day Date 2
77 Vario D12 2
77 Hemel Airfoil 2
77 Vostok Amphibia 2
81 Invicta ProDiver 1


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