Watch Crystal Repair Guide
The crystal, or glass, of a watch, is the transparent outer shell that protects your watch while still allowing you to see the time. This is the part of your watch that is most exposed to the world and as a result, damage is not uncommon. At Mauzie’s Fine Jewelry, we most often see watch crystals that have been scratched or scuff. We also see many crystals that are just worn out from years of protecting critical components.
With either situation or whatever issue you have our expert watchmaker can get your watch back in top shop.
Does Your Watch Need A Crystal Repair?
Types Of Watch Crystals
Watch crystals come in three main varieties, each with their own benefits and drawbacks:
- Plastic Crystals
- Mineral Glass
- Sapphire Crystal
Regardless of the type of crystal your watch has (or if you don’t know) our watch repair service can get your timepiece cleaned up and ready to wear. Here’s a quick overview of each glass type and repair process behind it.
Plastic Watch Crystals
Plastic crystals are normally made up of acrylic, hesalite, or plexiglass. They are the most affordable and are commonly used on lower-priced wristwatches. They are tough and will not crack, but are prone to scratches. Most plastic crystals are easily replaced and this options most often makes the most sense, from a financial perspective.
Repairing Plastic Crystals
Acrylic crystals are very easy to source and replace. They can be readily manufactured using plastics and ground to suit any shape. If an acrylic crystal gets damaged, a special paste will be used to remove the scratches or repair the cracks. Acrylic crystals are tucked into the casings and are hard to remove. They likewise don’t have the gasket to avoid water seepage.
Mineral Watch Crystals
Mid-priced, designer watches often use mineral glass crystals. Mineral crystals are much more scratch resistant than their plastic counterparts. Mineral watch glass is treated with chemicals and heat to toughen the material. Excessively hot or cold conditions or hitting the glass crystal at just the right angle can cause it to shatter. The main advantage of a mineral crystal lies in the cost of the watch. It will be quite hard by sight to tell if the crystal is sapphire or just mineral, but our watchmaker can.
Repairing Mineral Crystals
Mineral crystals, which are glass, are most commonly available in round shape. Other designer watches may need square, oval, or even elliptical glass faces. These are quite hard to find. Our watchmakers can file round glasses to different shapes. If this is not done carefully, leakage is possible. Adhesives are used to seal the reworked crystal into the casing. Mineral crystals have a gasket to control moisture.
Sapphire crystal is used in higher end watches. Sapphire is very tough and is scratch proof: which makes it the perfect choice for a fine timepiece. Aside from being resistant to scratches, sapphire has more ability to withstand breakage. Only a piece of diamond or another sapphire can scratch a surface. And because it’s very clear, anti-reflective coatings can be used on both sides to ensure there is no blur in the crystal.
Sapphire is the second hardest material next to diamond, having a rating of 9 in the Moh scale. The prices of luxury watches are very high because of the need for expensive tools to cut and shape the sapphire. Not to mention the high level of craftsmanship required. Common luxury brands that use sapphire crystals include Citizen, Victorinox, and Seiko.
Sapphire Crystal Repair
Sapphire crystals are very much available in the market but are expensive. They’re not easy to manufacture. These crystals need to be locked in place to take in more pressure. Most have tension rings to secure them in place and avoid seepage.
The Importance Of Regular Maintenance
As you wear your timepiece, crystals can be dinged or dented with everyday use. Nearly all types of crystals get damaged by being in contact with hard or rough surfaces (except of course the super durable sapphire crystal). A small scratch becomes a bigger scratch which eventually becomes a crack.
This is why proper watch maintenance is so important!