Radium in Vintage watch. What do customs say ???

airborne's picture

Dear Bulova Friends.

I plan too buy a couple of old Bulovas from late 20th to early 30th.

And i plan to send them with post . 

Will the radium in the watches give any problem with customs.


Have a nice day.





Posted March 13, 2013 - 4:45pm

The radium will set off the detectors, and as a result the inspectors will have to open and examine the package, but there shouldn't be any true problem.


That happens a lot with vintage watches, vintage compases and vintage airplane instruments.

Posted March 13, 2013 - 6:51pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Never had customs open a watch package here in Australia. If they did they repacked them really well. I bet you it would make a postal worker jump up and take notice though if a radio-active alert went off.

bobbee's picture
Posted March 13, 2013 - 7:00pm

Late 20th century?
No radium post circa 1970

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted March 13, 2013 - 10:07pm

Panel Member

Only significant numbers of watches together present a radiation risk. When shipping, they would require a special hazardous material designation, but a couple of watches won't be a problem. In the army, we would receive boxes of hundreds of watches or compasses, and they had to be marked accordingly and shipped with the usual precautions for hazmat. 

Watches rarely used radium past the mid sixties, and only clocks used radium until 1978. 

Posted March 14, 2013 - 11:19pm

Based on the original question I think he was indicating late 1920's to early 1930's as we are no where near the 30th century yet.

Like I said they might open to make sure that is all that is there but no real issues.