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Ball micro gas tubes are borosilicate glass coated with phosphors, then filled with tritium gas. The tubes are unaffected by water, oil, and most corrosive materials. Additionally, they are shock resistant and unaffected by climatic extremes.

Tritium gas (GTLS) has several benefits over traditional tritium paints:

1. Radiation. Simply put, Ball gas tubes do not create radiation when intact. The weak beta rays given off by the decaying tritium gas cannot even penetrate a sheet of paper. Were you to break a gas tube, the minute amount of 3H gas, which is lighter than air, would quickly dissipate with no ill effects.

2. Decay. The tritium paints off the past not only gave off radiation but that radiation also caused the paint to decay along with the tritium itself. The crystal structure of the phosphors in the paints often broke down more quickly than the radioactive source, resulting in a shorter effective life.

3. Efficiency. Gases react more efficiently than solids; this is a basic chemical fact. The minute quantities of 3H gas needed to activate the phosphors in Ball micro gas tubes react more efficiently than many times the same quantity of luminous paint.

And finally, the info you've probably been waiting for:

Conservative estimates by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and others suggest that the amount of tritium in 40,000 Ball Watches would not even cause the first level of radiation sickness measurable by scientific standards. The prescribed treatment for this "level 1" exposure: drink 4 glasses of water. The tritium is then expelled naturally with no ill effects.

Truly, the only parties who could be at risk of any type of exposure are the technicians who work in assembling the tubes. But a quick examination of the labs shows they are well equipped with the relevant clean room technologies.

Thus, it is clear that it is unnecessary to speak of health risk when it comes to Ball Watches or micro gas tubes.
 
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I understand that the illumination effect in the micro gas tubes wears off after 25 years. Can the tubes be serviced/replaced when this happens?
 

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I understand that the illumination effect in the micro gas tubes wears off after 25 years. Can the tubes be serviced/replaced when this happens?
Hmmm, Year 2032 for my NT's "end of life". My son will be 25 by then and I'm saving it for him. I'd be interested in knowing what the answer to this is? I don't think it's a hot topic yet as most everyone here at BALL WUS, has a relatively young life BALL.

I'm guessing that all of us with the "keepers" will be knocking on the Servicing door at about Year 2030? :-d I'm wondering if the glow becomes weak or fades noticeably in the 20th+ year?
 

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Technically speaking, the glow should be 50% as bright as today in 12.5 years, 75% as bright at 19.75 years, 87.5% as at 22.3 years etc... so with the combined effect of decreasing glow and my eyes getting worse over the next 12.5 years; I would say I'd have to get them replaced a lot sooner. Course by then there will probably be a better technology to replace them with... :roll:
 

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Actually, as I pointed out in an earlier version of this post, the figures in "srh pres" here are confusing (for example, 87.5% as bright would mean it only lost 12.5% brilliance after more than 20 years), but is clarified by "wolfemi1", below.
 

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Actually, the way the math works out, after 12.5 years they will be 50% bright, and after 25 years they will be 25% bright, since it's exponential decay. Assuming Ball is still around, haven't they said they will replace these tubes for free?
 

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I have read that they will replace the tubes at a "reasonable price" but all prices can have reason behind them. Your math is correct on the 12.5 year half-life.
 

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Assuming Ball is still around, haven't they said they will replace these tubes for free ?
The gas tubes replacement should be done in the scenario of a complete overhaul without additional charge, you can't request a single replacement for free because the operation also requires the removal of the dial and hands.
 
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