Are people putting blue anodized hands in watches for the "blued" look? Examples posted ---

Submitted by alwayscode390 on December 3, 2023 - 12:23pm

I have a set of cathedral hands that are a beautiful "rainbow" blue if looked at in the right angle. 


Lately I've came across some watches with hands that look ANODIZED blue ... are they installing these to try to get the "rainbow aged" blued look, or are they really just naturally aged to a blue color?


Thanks! Blued cathedral

Posted December 3, 2023 - 12:23pm

Blue anodized?  Anodized?

Posted December 3, 2023 - 12:24pm


Posted December 3, 2023 - 4:23pm

It's my belief that that the bluing is original to these watches. I have a number of original NOS hands from this period, most of which are blued.

Posted December 5, 2023 - 10:58am

They are blued using a heat fire process.   The bluish patina not only looks great but also prevents corrosion and rust.  Similar to bluing on a firearm.  

Posted December 20, 2023 - 1:43pm


The Deadly Blue Watch Hands

We may all be forgetting The Radium Girls, the timepiece workers at US Radium in Orange NJ that were all poisoned to death painting watch dials, hands and markers with liquid Radium.

In the late 1920s through mid 1930s, radium was used to make aircraft cockpit gauges glow in the dark. This process transfered over to the watch and clock industry. Little vials of Radium were sent to jewelers and clocks had vials hidden in the back cases so a customer could repaint the hands.

Less to say, cobalt 40 had a lifespan of 2000 years. The entire section of land formerly occupied by US Radium in Orange, NJ is quarantined to this day and probably forever.

These hands found on name brand pocket watches and early wrist's still have traces in many cases of active radium. And yes, they are Blueish is color. When I come across these hands in my shop, I ultrasonically clean immediately. And try not to handle them with my bare fingers.

The Radium Girls is a tragic story lost in time. It impacted the watch industry and the 1930s Workers Reform Act was initiated by Congress which still today protects the rights of workers in a hazardous manufacturing environment.

John V.

Time & Again

Posted December 20, 2023 - 4:31pm

In reply to by JEV1A

Excellent post John.  My Wife told me to research the radium girls when I started collecting older watches. Thanks for reminding me.---

Posted December 20, 2023 - 2:57pm

"With the discovery of Radium (in my opinion rediscovery), the society went bananas and started sticking radium into just about everything. We are talking about soap, toothpaste, male ED enhancements, chocolate, tea, coffee, food, cigarettes, cosmetics, bath salts etc."

Radium treatmentRadiu Spa

Source: 19th century: Radium Heating Systems? | KD's Stolen History Blog


Posted December 20, 2023 - 4:32pm

In reply to by 1955mercury

WOW!  I appreciate those ads ... very interesting.  I never knew about the acceptance of Radium into society on so many levels.  Thanks for sharing that '55 ---

Posted December 20, 2023 - 4:37pm

In reply to by 1955mercury

I just tried to put an order in, apparently they are all out of stock!!