A Guide to Differentiating 3 Common Watch Crystal Types

Accessories are a tool of self-expression and to showcase your interests. Watches are a staple when discussing fashion because they’re more than just a stylish accessory; they’re also functional in terms of design—letting you know the time of the day from a device wrapped around your wrist.

Many up-and-coming watch enthusiasts who are collecting watches may begin to notice some slight differences in their watches and what makes others much higher in quality. One eye-catching component of the watch is the crystal covering.

The covering’s purpose is to protect the parts inside from any dirt particles that will dust them and stop them from functioning. The three main watch crystal types are acrylic, mineral, and sapphire. 

There are many ways to differentiate them, such as scratching the surface or tapping it with your fingernail. If you’re anxious about harming your watch, you could also opt to just check the price tag instead. 

Here are some distinctions that you can keep an eye out for next time you’re watch-shopping. 


Let’s start with the most affordable crystal covering. Acrylic crystal, or plastic crystal, is considered a tale as old as time, mainly because they’re the material for most vintage pieces. They’re made of Plexiglass, a clear and transparent sheet of plastic that’s lightweight and durable. 

Plexiglass is often used for windows, instrument casings, kitchen appliances, and even more. There are even some basketball backboards made with this material due to its shatter-resistant features. If you’re eyeing a watch that won’t crack nor break the bank, acrylic may be the one for you. 


Mineral is the midpoint crystal when it comes to watch coverings, as it’s also the material for most mid-priced accessories. This is often made when a normal glass has been chemically treated and heated. The end product is a rigid surface that is scratch-resistant, unlike acrylic watches. 

However, this can also be fragile, depending on the impact and motion that hits it. Mineral crystals can chip off in pieces instead of completely cracking and shattering, but they can also be broken down with enough force. If you got into an accident, that could mean destroying your watch. 


Synthetic sapphire watches are a must-have in any collection because of how sleek and durable they are. Compared to acrylic and mineral, it is higher in quality. It’s likely to last you a lifetime as it won’t get scratched or crack easily. For context, the force needed to break a mineral crystal needs to be twice as strong for anyone to shatter a sapphire crystal. 

It’s also a plus that sapphire crystal is not difficult to maintain like the other two either because it’s often always the way it is unless you just want to polish it for extra. The possible downside to this is that it’s considered a luxury material, so you’d need to splurge a reasonable sum of money to own one. 


It’s best to stay reasonable in choosing a watch when you’re just starting your collection while aiming for the best of the best. There are many vintage watches that are within a lower price range, to begin with, as you work your way up and save for a coveted sapphire crystal. 

Seikomods.com is a crystal specialist that you can go to when you’re looking for high-quality Seiko sapphire crystal to add to your collection. Get in touch with us today!

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