Watch Crystal Types: A Guide to the Clear Choices


When it comes to watches, the crystal covering the dial plays a vital role in not only protecting the delicate components but also defining the timepiece’s aesthetics. Watch crystals come in various types, each with its unique set of characteristics. In this article, we’ll explore the different watch crystal types, their advantages, and their impact on the overall look and functionality of a watch.

  1. Mineral Crystal: The Affordable Protector

Mineral crystals are among the most common watch crystal types, known for their affordability and durability. They are made from hardened mineral glass, a type of tempered glass. While they offer reasonable scratch resistance, they can still be susceptible to scratches and shattering upon significant impact. However, their cost-effectiveness makes them a popular choice for everyday watches.

  1. Sapphire Crystal: Unmatched Clarity and Durability

Sapphire crystals are highly regarded in the world of horology. They are crafted from synthetic sapphire, a material what is a watch crystal  in hardness only to diamonds. Sapphire crystals are virtually scratch-resistant, maintaining their pristine clarity even after years of use. Their exceptional durability and scratch resistance make them a top choice for luxury and sports watches, where maintaining a clear and scratch-free surface is crucial.

  1. Acrylic Crystal: A Vintage Touch

Acrylic crystals, also known as plexiglass or hesalite crystals, have a nostalgic charm. They were commonly used in vintage watches and are still appreciated for their unique qualities. While acrylic crystals are susceptible to scratches and require more care, they can be polished to remove minor blemishes. Some collectors prefer them for their vintage aesthetic and willingness to show signs of wear, telling the story of the watch over time.

  1. Hardlex Crystal: A Seiko Specialty

Hardlex is a proprietary material developed by Seiko, primarily used in their watches. It falls between mineral and sapphire crystals in terms of hardness and scratch resistance. Hardlex crystals offer better protection than mineral crystals while maintaining a reasonable price point. They are often found in Seiko’s diver watches, known for their robust build and water resistance.

  1. Polycarbonate Crystal: Tough and Lightweight

Polycarbonate crystals, often referred to as plastic or resin crystals, are lightweight and exceptionally impact-resistant. They are commonly used in rugged sports and digital watches. While they may not match the clarity of sapphire, their toughness and affordability make them ideal for outdoor activities and watches designed for extreme conditions.

  1. Double-Domed Crystal: Aesthetic Elegance

Some watch crystals are double-domed, featuring a slight curve on both sides. This design not only adds an appealing aesthetic element but can also reduce glare and distortion when reading the watch. Double-domed sapphire crystals are often found in dress watches, enhancing the overall elegance of the timepiece.


Choosing the right watch crystal type is a crucial decision when selecting a timepiece. Each crystal type brings its own set of advantages and characteristics, catering to different styles, budgets, and usage scenarios. Whether you opt for the durability of sapphire, the vintage charm of acrylic, or the affordability of mineral, understanding the role of the watch crystal is essential in making an informed choice and ensuring your watch suits your needs and preferences.

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