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The only thing protecting the watch’s dial from the outside environment is what is known as the watch crystal, also sometimes called the watch glass. It is the part of the watch that you can see right through to look at the dial, and this glass is generally made out of either of the three following materials: mineral crystal, acrylic crystal, or sapphire crystal. Another variant known as the sapphire-coated mineral crystal is sometimes used on watches, although not as commonly.
Regardless, we want to talk about these various watch crystals today and how they might meet specific modding needs:
1. The Acrylic Crystal
Acrylic crystal, also known as plastic or plexiglass, is the most inexpensive option compared to the rest of the watch glass we’re going to talk about today. As such, acrylic crystal is the way to go for modders strictly on a small budget.
That said, acrylic glass, although cheap, isn’t all that bad. It is malleable, meaning that modders can shape it into essentially any shape they want. They also come domed, giving that distorted look to the dial that many modders like. Also, because the acrylic crystal is used even in luxury brands in the early watch days, such crystal can give a watch that vintage look!
2. The Mineral Crystal
A step up from the acrylic crystal is the mineral crystal, also commonly referred to as Hardlex. The glass here is the same glass you’ll typically find on your windows. As such, it is still much cheaper than the other options here, but not cheaper than acrylic crystal.
Regardless, mineral crystal is incredibly popular among affordable watch brands who want to give their watch a luxurious look without blowing the bank. Mineral crystal is an excellent option for modders to give the watch an elegant look without investing too much money. Other than the looks, mineral crystal watch glasses also offer more scratch resistance, although not as great as sapphire crystals.
As an upgrade to the mineral crystal, sapphire-coated mineral crystal has been recently introduced. It sits between mineral crystal and sapphire crystal in terms of scratch resistance and price, and it is the perfect glass to opt for if a modder wants something more scratch-resistant than what mineral crystal has to offer but isn’t as expensive as sapphire crystals.
3. The Sapphire Crystal
A huge step up from the mineral crystal and an even more significant step up from the acrylic crystal is the sapphire crystal. It is by far the most famous watch crystal to date, and it offers the highest levels of scratch resistance.
Many luxury brands utilise sapphire crystals for their watches thanks to their high levels of scratch resistance that can only be scratched by something as hard as diamonds. This can be a go-to crystal for watch modders if they have the money to invest in a high-quality watch glass. Unfortunately, there is one downside: sapphire crystal is bad against resisting shock. As such, modders who need something that can resist shock are much better off with an acrylic crystal.
As a watch modder, which one should you pick? Should you opt for an acrylic crystal to save money for other mods, or should you go all out with a sapphire crystal? The answer all depends on your specific needs. Remember, price tags aren’t the only factor to consider. Other things like how you’re going to use the watch, what mods are available for the watch, and what kind of look you’re trying to achieve are some of the many considerations to make to pick the right glass. All in all, to mod your timepiece to meet your expectations, choose the solution that meets your needs and wants ideally!
Seiko Mods are experts in designing and manufacturing sapphire crystals and various other custom parts for Seiko watches. If you are looking for Seiko mod parts, check out what we have to offer!