If you were wondering what is a watch crystal? You’ve come to the right place in this article we’re going to discuss all about it and a whole lot more.
The term “watch crystal” refers to the transparent glass material that covers the face of a watch. It is intended to protect the watch from the elements while also giving it a polished appearance. The majority of watch faces on the market are not made of crystal, but rather of a variety of manufactured crystalline glass-like materials. Only four types of crystal are used by watchmakers around the world to cover the face of the watch.
What Is A Watch Crystal Made Out Of?
Watch crystals are available in four different materials: plexiglass (a clear, lightweight type of plastic), ordinary glass – such as that used for windows and commonly referred to as “mineral glass” in the watch industry, sapphire or sapphire-coated mineral crystal.
Also known as acrylic glass or simply plastic.
Plexiglass is a low-cost plastic that is popular on low-cost or vintage-style watches.
Because plexiglass is so easy to work with, watchmakers can easily create any shape they desire. Such as the domed effect, which distorts the dial from a certain angle.
It is also very affordable. This is why you’ll see this watch crystal on low-cost watches. As a result, this watch crystal frequently has a bad reputation.
However, most watches used plexiglass before the 1970s, and many even before the 1980s. Even leading Swiss luxury watch brands like Rolex used plexiglass.
Rolex did not begin using Sapphire crystal in their Submariner collection until 1979! As a result, plexiglass is widely used in vintage timepieces.
The main disadvantage of plexiglass is that it is easily scratched. This type of watch crystal is easily scratched or marked.
It is, on the other hand, the easiest to buff out. You can even try buffing out the acrylic watch crystal at home.
However, due to the crystal’s flexibility, it can withstand heavy impacts quite well. This is why many military watches use plexiglass rather than other types of watch crystals.
2. Oridnary Glass (Mineral).
It is also referred to as mineral glass and hardlex.
This watch crystal is made of the same glass that is used in your windows. So it’s just like regular glass. As a result, watch companies can source and manufacture watches at a low cost.
Mineral crystal is a popular type of watch crystal used by many low-cost watch brands.
It’s less expensive than acrylic crystal, but it’s more scratch-resistant than mineral glass. However, it isn’t perfect. Especially when compared to sapphire crystal.
3. Sapphire Crystal.
Sapphire crystal is by far the most popular type of watch crystal because it has the highest level of scratch resistance.
This is the crystal of choice for luxury watch brands as well as mid-range watch brands. Even Orient uses sapphire crystal in their low-cost Kamasu dive watch line.
Only a diamond is likely to be able to scratch a sapphire crystal.
However, sapphire crystal is susceptible to shattering if subjected to a high impact.
This means that many military watch brands frequently use plexiglass in their watches. Plexiglass, on the other hand, can often withstand much heavier impacts. Because of its flexibility, which sapphire crystal does not have.
However, this type of watch crystal is much more reflective and shiny. Often appears to be the most expensive of all watch crystals.
In addition, sapphire is by far the most expensive type of watch crystal.
4. Sapphire-Coated Mineral Crystal.
Sapphire-coated mineral crystal is a more recent watch crystal innovation. Also known as sapphire-coated mineral glass. This type of watch crystal was becoming more popular.
However, as the cost of manufacturing sapphire crystal has decreased, so has its popularity.
A sapphire-coated mineral crystal is regarded as a mid-range crystal, falling somewhere between mineral glass and sapphire crystal.
This crystal is primarily a mineral crystal with a sapphire crystal coating applied to it.
Seiko famously used this type of watch crystal, dubbed the Sapphlex.
This product will never be as scratch-resistant as genuine sapphire crystal, but it will provide overall better scratch resistance than mineral crystal.
In addition, it is a less expensive type of watch crystal than sapphire crystal.