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What are the different types of watch glass?


How to choose the right watch face

The clear cover of a watch's face, usually referred to as the crystal, is designed to protect the dial and inner workings of your watch. When shopping for a new watch you may hear these different types mentioned, but it's important to understand the differences and what they mean for the life of your new watch. WatchGnome would like to help take the mystery out of these decisions. To start, there are three main types of crystal found in watches: acrylic, mineral and sapphire.

Acrylic crystal watch face

This is the least expensive option and is a manufactured plastic. It has it's positives and negative. While this material does not prevent scratches, it does allow scratches to be buffed out. So it's difficult to do permanent damage to them, but if you do scratch your crystal, you will need to find someone to fix it for you.

  • Replacing an acrylic crystal will usually run $10 - $30 dollars. Or many people have worked out some DIY watch scratch removal hacks.
  • Examples: You are most likely to find acrylic crystal on inexpensive style watches sold at places like, etc.

Mineral crystal

This crystal is actually glass. It is composed of several elements that aid in resisting scratches and is generally found on more expensive watches. For reference, it is 7 times more scratch resistant than acrylic crystal. But again, keep in mind this is scratch resistant, not proof - so you should still treat your watch with care.

  • Replacing a mineral crystal watch face will cost on average between $50 - $100.
  • Examples: Many watch brands like Invicta, Timex, Fossil, Movado

Sapphire crystal

This is the watch face preferred by premium watch manufacturers. It is by far the most expensive type of crystal and is three times harder than mineral crystal (and thus 21 times harder than acrylic). It is made of an highly durable synthetic material that makes it shatterproof and scratch resistant (again, not entirely scratchproof!). Additionally, some sapphire crystal faces have a non-reflective film to prevent glare.

  • Replacing a sapphire crystal watch face can range anywhere from $100 - $500 depending on the watch make and model.

The right watch choice

For the most part, choosing what glass your new watch has is out of your control. Watch manufacturers design watches and use a crystal that fits the pricepoint and designed use of the watch. Additionally, it's unlikely that you would notice a real difference in your everyday use. As always, we simply recommend taking proper care of your watch!


Need A New Watch Crystal

Have a watch with a cracked or chipped crystal? Watch Gnome provides watch crystal replacement for most watch brands! If you'd like to get it repaired we can definitely help! Fill out the form on our Watch Repair page and tell us how we can help.


Watch Gnome Battery Replacement

Watch Gnome is America's #1 Provider of mail in watch battery replacement services. We will get your watch running again 100% via the mail - you don't need to leave your house. 


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