Categories: Uncategorized

by Romlicen

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Categories: Uncategorized

by Romlicen

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One factor you might consider before purchasing a wristwatch is the type of crystal the watch uses. Mineral glass, or as you can refer them to, sapphire crystal, is the transparent covering on a watch that helps to protect the dial of the watch.

Luckily for you, crystals come in different shapes, sizes, and types, depending on the watch brand.

While you can opt for multiple options, sapphire and mineral crystal are the most commonly used, and you might just be wondering which to choose. But, of course, each option offers certain advantages, and understanding these differences is vital to making the right choice.

In this article, we examine the different types of watch crystal, discuss sapphire vs. mineral crystals, outline how to identify these glasses, highlight their differences, and examine their pros and cons. We also tell you how to maintain these glasses, explore factors to consider when choosing an option, and answer some frequently asked questions you might have. This way, you have all the information you need when buying your next wristwatch.

Different Types of Watch Glass

Here are the different types of watch glasses or crystals you can opt for when buying a wristwatch:

  • Sapphire crystals:  This material became popular in the 1930s after its stint as a dial protector. It’s an ultra-hard material produced in the lab under high temperatures, allowing you to enjoy high scratch resistance. It also comes in an anti-reflective coating that offers improved clarity.

  • Mineral crystals:  This material is perhaps the oldest watch glass, serving as the first watch protector. Now common among mid-tier brands, this glass is relatively strong thanks to the heat and chemical treatments watch manufacturers provide. This material also provides a flexible and durable option for watch lovers.

  • Acrylic crystal:  This material comes from plastic, and it’s the most affordable, easiest to scratch, and weakest option for watch coverings. However, Lucite, Perspex, and plexiglass, as you can also call acrylic crystals, are lightweight, allowing you to repair mild scratches. It also offers impressive flexibility that can translate to attractive visual distortions depending on the angles.

  • Women's watches

    27

  • Quartz watches

    6

  • Men's watches

    48

  • Mechanical watches

    6

Sapphire vs. Mineral Crystal

When considering sapphire vs. a mineral crystal, it’s vital to understand their meaning and relationship to watches. Here’s what you need to know:

What is a sapphire crystal?

First used in the 1930s, sapphire crystal is a synthetic material. Generally, artisans crystallize this pure aluminum oxide at high temperatures to derive the sapphire crystals. Then, they go ahead to slice the aluminum oxide into desired pieces when it forms a round material and polish it. After that, brands make these pieces available to customers worldwide.

Sapphire crystal has gained immense usage over the years, making it extremely marketable and functional in manufacturing high-end watches. Jewelers have attributed this to its high level of scratch resistance. For instance, sapphire crystals have a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale, making them just as hard as their naturally-occurring sapphire counterpart.

What is a mineral crystal?

Mineral crystals come from standard glass, making them prone to damage and shattering. However, recently, manufacturers heat ordinary glass crystals to derive mineral crystals at high temperatures. This significantly increases its scratch resistance, although a mineral crystal’s scratch resistance is significantly lower than that of a sapphire crystal.

Luckily, compared with acrylic or plastic crystals, the scratch resistance of a mineral crystal is higher. As a result, the mineral crystal is a go-to for fast fashion watch brands that manufacture relatively lower-end watches. These crystals are also less reflective, allowing you to get excellent clarity.

How to Identify Your Watch Glass

When watch hunting, knowing how to identify a watch glass is useful to ensure you pick what you want. No one wants to pay for a sapphire glass only to find out they got an acrylic crystal. So, here are some steps to help you identify the glass in your watch based on its look and feel:

For a sapphire crystal

A key element to note when identifying sapphire crystals is that they’re common among premium watches. This is because scratches are highly frowned upon on luxurious timepieces.

However, here are some other tips to note:

  • When you add a few drops of water to a sapphire crystal, they come together to form a bead.

  • Although transparent to the eye, a sapphire crystal may appear slightly tinted pink or milk-white.

  • A sapphire crystal is icy or extremely cold to touch.

For a mineral crystal

Mineral crystals are more common among mid-tier brands, so you’re most likely getting a mineral crystal if you’re getting an affordable wristwatch.

Regardless, here are some other tips to help you confirm you have a mineral crystal:

  • The droplets separate in different directions when water gets on a mineral crystal.
  • A mineral crystal, when looked closely upon, appears blue.
  • Unlike the sapphire crystal, the mineral crystal is not icy to touch.

Differences Between Sapphire vs Mineral Crystals

Both crystals have unique differences, which makes them highly formidable.

For this reason, they both have different use cases unique to them both.

Cost

One thing worth mentioning when comparing sapphire and mineral crystals is the huge disparity in their costs.

During the manufacturing of sapphire crystals, artisans use special tools to cut and polish the crystals into desired shapes. These high-priced tools translate to the high costs of sapphire crystals in markets. In contrast, mineral crystals are inexpensive and relatively affordable.

Scratch resistance

Since sapphire crystals have a noteworthy hardness level, they’re difficult to scratch.

However, they aren’t impossible to scratch. To scratch a sapphire crystal successfully, the material must have a Mohs rating between 9 and 10.

Some of these materials include diamonds or materials that contain silicon carbide. Unfortunately, you can easily scratch mineral crystals, which are prone to shattering.

Reflection

Sapphire crystals are highly reflective when compared to mineral glass. A good reason is that the refractive index of sapphire crystals is about 15 – 20% higher.

To reduce the reflections caused on the wristwatches, brands use an anti-reflective coating. This helps to reduce the reflections.

Luxury

Ultimately, exquisite watch brands use sapphire crystals to manufacture luxury timepieces for their audience. Conversely, to appeal to customers on a budget, brands use mineral crystals to create watches. This reflects in the overall cost of both options.

Pros and Cons of Sapphire Crystal

Pros

Here are some of the advantages of purchasing wristwatches made with sapphire crystals:

Scratch resistance

Sapphire crystals are highly resistant to scratches. Perhaps you get the ick when the surface of your watch has the tiniest scratch. Then, you may want to consider purchasing a watch with sapphire crystal. Sapphire crystals also have the great ability to withstand cracks and breakages.

Elegance

Wristwatches made with sapphire crystals elude class in several ways. So if you want to look classy and elegant with a complementary wristwatch, this is a great pick. Of course, you’ll require little or no cost constraints to achieve this. This elegance is also prominent, thanks to its effective clarity.

Cons

Expensive

While sapphire crystals have a high level of scratch resistance, they’re also quite expensive. This is because of the cost of the tools and processes utilized in manufacturing these crystals. For instance, you’ll require a few hundred dollars and even thousands in some cases to get high-end sapphire crystal watches.

Anti-Reflective Coating

To reduce the reflections caused on the face of the wristwatches, brands make use of an anti-reflective coating. However, this has significant downsides. Due to the anti-reflective coatings used for sapphire crystals, they become more susceptible to scratches.

No Option for Replacement

While sapphire crystals are highly scratch-resistant, materials like silicon carbide or diamond can scratch them. Unfortunately, when this happens, you can restore your sapphire crystal. Instead, you’ll have to replace them. Given the high cost of these crystals, this can translate to even more costs for you. Even more, it’s less shatter-proof compared to mineral dial protectors.

Pros and Cons of Mineral Crystal

Pros

Less expensive

Amongst others, mineral crystal is significantly cheaper than sapphire crystals. This makes it highly affordable while still giving the customers the options to look classy and nice. Furthermore, as it’s less expensive, it’s easier to replace if it scratches or chips.

Scratch-resistant and shatter-resistant

Mineral crystals are relatively scratch-resistant when they come in contact with a hard material. For instance, you can enjoy more durability compared with acrylic or plastic crystals. Even better, they’re very flexible compared to sapphire, making them less likely to shatter.

Cons

Scratch prone

Mineral crystals are prone to scratches compared to sapphire crystals. They can also be difficult to polish and buff. This makes their maintenance more difficult compared to sapphire crystals.

No Option for Replacement

It’s often possible for your mineral crystals to chip or scratch. Unfortunately, in such cases, there’s no option for repair. Instead, you’ll need a full replacement of the mineral crystal which attracts a new cost. While you may consider the cost affordable, it can become considerable if you need a replacement regularly.

How to Maintain Your Watch Glass

Maintaining the crystals is a crucial part of a durable watch. Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

For sapphire crystals

You have to store sapphire crystals appropriately because they’re quite expensive. Therefore, keeping them in a stable and cool environment is always advisable. This can help prevent people from scratching your sapphire crystals regardless of their impressive level of scratch resistance.

For mineral crystals

You can maintain mineral crystals easily by doing the following steps:

  • Detach the mineral crystal from the case of the watch gently. Kindly note that mineral crystals are prone to scratches. As a result, you must handle the crystals properly during the entire process.
  • Using a mild cloth, clean the crystal with a brass cleaner to remove all dirt. The brass cleaner also helps to buff the scratches that may appear on the crystal.

  • After using the brass cleaner, you can wipe all dirt and debris around the edges of the crystal gently.

  • Set the crystal out to dry. Occasionally, you can add crystal cement to the edges of the crystal for it to be seamlessly attached to the wristwatch.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Sapphire and Mineral Crystals

If you’ve decided to purchase a wristwatch but cannot decide on an option, here are some factors you can prioritize when deciding on a crystal for your watch:

Scratch resistance

Understandably, you may dislike the appearance of visible scratches on your wristwatches. This is a very important factor to consider when choosing a crystal. If you want a highly scratch-resistant crystal, you should go for premium watches made with sapphire crystals. In contrast, if scratches are not a big deal for you, you can consider mineral crystal watches.

Cost

Similarly, brands use sapphire crystals to manufacture more luxurious wrist watches, which are exorbitant. So if you aren’t concerned about cost restraints, a sapphire-fitted watch might be your best bet. In contrast, if you have a tight budget and want a watch that serves its purpose without being overly elegant, then the mineral crystal is a good choice.

Durability

Just like you, no one wants to lose their watch now and then to chips, damage, or significant scratches. This makes durability a vital factor to consider before placing the order for that wristwatch. Wristwatches made with sapphire crystals are quite durable. In addition, users have recorded that they last for longer periods when compared to their mineral crystals counterparts. So, if durability is your priority, a sapphire-fitted watch might be more appropriate.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sapphire Mineral Crystals

1. Does the sapphire glass break easily?

With a Mohs scale rating of 9, sapphire glass isn’t prone to breakage when it comes in contact with other materials. However, jewelers have stated that materials such as diamonds or materials that contain silicon carbide can scratch the surface of sapphire glass. This is because they have a higher Mohs scale rating of about 10.

2. Is sapphire glass better than mineral glass?

Compared to mineral crystal, Sapphire glass has several advantages that may appeal to a luxurious and classy audience. It’s harder and scratch-resistant, making it more durable. However, you’ll need to pay more to access a sapphire glass.

3. What glass does the Rolex use?

Rolex brand makes use of sapphire crystals to create prestigious pieces. This is because, as a premium brand, they cater to an audience who desires high-precision timepieces.

Final thoughts: Sapphire or Mineral Crystal

Brands use sapphire crystals worldwide to manufacture the most luxurious and exquisite wristwatches. Brands such as Rolex, Richard Mille, and much more use these crystals to deliver exquisite pieces to their customers.

Regardless, you can access other budget-friendly options made of mineral crystals. All you need to do is consider what appeals to you in wristwatches and choose an option considering all that you now know.