Watch Crystals: The Different Types

watch crystals

A watch crystal is the part of the watch that sits over top of the dial and acts as a protective covering for the watch. Sometimes the watch crystal can break or become damaged if the watch is handled roughly. Certain watches come equipped with a crystal that is very rugged and can go through harsh treatment without showing signs of wear and tear.

In most cases, there are three different types of crystal that are used in watch protection. These are hesalite, sapphire, and mineral. Often, the price of the watch is reflective of which crystal is used in its production.

Hesalite Crystals

Hesalite is the least expensive of the three materials that are used to create a watch crystal. This material is difficult to break but can be scratched rather easily. Hesalite can also be thought of as an acrylic crystal, Plexiglas crystal, or plastic crystal.

Mineral Crystals

These crystals are made of glass. Usually, this glass has been through a process where it is treated by either chemicals or heat. This type of crystal usually looks better than hesalite crystals. Also, this type of watch crystal is more difficult to scratch. If a watch with this type of crystal is exposed to extreme heat or cold, it can shatter if it is hit at the right angle. A watch with a mineral crystal usually costs more than a hesalite crystal, but less than a sapphire.

Sapphire Crystal

Sapphire watch crystals are usually considered to be the best in terms of their ability to withstand becoming scratched. Sapphire can break, but it is very difficult to do so. Because of this, these watch crystals are typically the ones that are selected to go in most luxury watches. This watch crystal is not made from real sapphire, however, they are made synthetically and hold the same abilities as real sapphire.

This synthetic sapphire is created in a furnace that reaches over 2,000 degrees Celsius. They are then cut at the desired thickness and polished. Sapphire watch crystals can also be altered and specially coated so that they don’t have a hazy appearance. A diamond-tipped saw is used to cut this type of crystal.

How to Choose Your Watch Crystal

Simply put, if you are usually in an environment where your watch can be banged around, you’ll probably need a hesalite crystal. These are the least likely to become shattered. You can usually polish out a minor scratch as well. People who spend a large amount of time outdoors do well with these. These are basically shatter-proof.

Mineral crystals also tend to be able to withstand most environments without shattering, and they are also less likely to scratch. This being said, if they are subjected to extreme cold or heat, they can shatter. If you shatter such a crystal, it isn’t too expensive to replace.

Sapphire watches are extremely hard to scratch, and usually difficult to break. However, in the event that you break such a watch crystal, you will be paying quite a bit to replace it. Sapphire is harder than most materials, with only diamond being harder.

Final Words

There are three main types of watch crystals. Of these three, you have many different options when searching for the watch that best fits you. Hesalite watches are durable, yet able to be scratched. Mineral watches are harder to scratch but can be broken in certain conditions. Sapphire crystals are very hard to scratch, and harder to break. It comes down to personal preference, and affordability.

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