Binary transition metal dichalcogenide monolayers share common properties such as a direct optical bandgap, spin-orbit splittings of hundreds of meV, light–matter interaction dominated by robust excitons and coupled spin-valley states. Here we demonstrate spin-orbit-engineering in Mo[subscript (1−x)]W[subscript x]Se[subscript 2] alloy monolayers for optoelectronics and applications based on spin- and valley-control. We probe the impact of the tuning of the conduction band spin-orbit spin-splitting on the bright versus dark exciton population. For MoSe[subscript 2] monolayers, the photoluminescence intensity decreases as a function of temperature by an order of magnitude (4–300 K), whereas for WSe[subscript 2] we measure surprisingly an order of magnitude increase. The ternary material shows a trend between these two extreme behaviours. We also show a non-linear increase of the valley polarization as a function of tungsten concentration, where 40% tungsten incorporation is sufficient to achieve valley polarization as high as in binary WSe[subscript 2].