Top 3 Most Commonly Used Materials for Watch Glasses

Fayyadh Sep 29, 2023
13 People Read
Image of a black watch on a black surface

Whenever it comes to watch glasses, among the most essential features is the materials utilized. In terms of strength, price and durability - several kinds of glasses are available, so when you purchase a watch make sure you receive your money's worth!

An Overview of Types of Glasses used for Watches

First of all, it's important to know why you should go for a sleek watch glass rather than just any watch glass you find. It's a no-brainer that you'd want a watch crystal that's scratch-resistant, long-lasting, reasonably priced, and crystal clear. Scratch-resistant timepieces are more expensive, so plan accordingly. Problem still exists and only you can fix it by learning about the many kinds of watch glasses.

Sapphire, Mineral, and Acrylic are the most popular varieties of watch glass used to preserve the watch face. The degree of durability and scratches resistance that each of these watch crystals provides is the primary distinction between the three varieties.

Image of acrylic glasses

Acrylic Crystal Glass

The material or polymer used to make acrylics watch glass is called acrylate. Despite its softness, the plastic is nonetheless rather sturdy. As a result, this material is a good option for watch crystals. Despite this, the plastic is strong enough to withstand a substantial blow.

Because of its cheap retail price, flat chunks of acrylic crystal are often seen in very low-cost timepieces. In retro-inspired timepieces, domed glass is often utilized because of its ease of manipulation, which allows watchmakers to quickly construct domed glass, providing a pleasing distortion when seen from an angle. When it comes to the aesthetic of acrylic, some individuals find it more appealing than others.

PROS of Acrylic Crystal Glass

#1. Anti-Impact Capacity

Dive and sports watches will benefit from this. An acrylic glass is designed to withstand the majority of impacts. Even if an impact damages acrylic glass, it will remain intact.

#2. It Is Possible To Polish It

As required, acrylic may be polished. If your timepiece is ever scratched, this will come in handy. Despite the difficulty of buffing away deep scratches, small scratches are usually not an issue.

#3. No Reflection

Acrylic has a low surface reflectivity, making it easy to see the dial in direct sunlight.

CONS of Acrylic Crystal Glass

#1. Low Scratch Resistance

Plastics such as acrylic have a low scratch resistance because of their nature as a synthetic material. When a person is constantly in motion, they may discover that maybe an acrylic crystal scratched too quickly for their liking.

#2. Possibility of Cloudy Appearance

It's possible for acrylic to get cloudy over time. This holds true even if the watch isn't subjected to any severe temperatures or pressures.

#3. Lower-cost Aesthetic

Some individuals don't like acrylic glass as they think it looks low-quality. There is no disputing that if you find what you're going at, you can see the differences.

Image of chunks of mineral glasses

Mineral Crystal Glass

Using silica-based tempered glass, mineral crystal glass is produced. This increases its scratch resistance while keeping the production costs low, making it the most popular kind of watch glass used today. Mineral glass may be compared to the kind of glass you're used to in your home's windows for comparison's sake. Scratch resistance and reasonable durability are provided by a silica substance.

Mineral-glassed watches are common in the mid-price category. For starters, it doesn't seem as shabby. Another difficulty is distinguishing between mineral glass and genuine sapphire with both the naked eye.

If you find a scratch on your watch during the course of its lifespan, you'll have to send it to the manufacturer so they can examine the damage. Depending on the brand, you may be able to buff it out or you could have to get a new piece of glass.

PROS of Mineral Crystal Glass

#1. An Impressive Scratch-Resistance

In spite of the fact that sapphire is far more scratch resistant than mineral glass, mineral glass is still better than acrylic. Compared to other watch materials, this is a fairly scratch-resistant material.

#2. At a Reasonable Cost

Mineral glass is still cheaper than acrylic. It's a wonderful choice for casual wear and luxury watches because of this.

#3. Appreciative Appearance

Mineral glass may be difficult to tell apart from sapphire if it has been coated with a small coating of sapphire. Compared to acrylic, it seems more expensive.

#4. Buffing

It is possible to remove scratches from acrylic by buffing it. The same applies to mineral glasses by using crystal polishing compounds.

CONS of Mineral Crystal Glass

#1. Poor Resistance to Impact

Mineral glass on the watch face might break if the watch is hit hard enough. Even if there is no complete breaking, there may be cracks.

Image of a nice blue block of sapphire glass

Sapphire Crystal Glass

If you're looking at a timepiece with sapphire crystal, you're looking at the best of the best. Although the name implies that it is made of sapphire, the most typical material used is synthetic sapphire rather than real sapphire. The strong scratch resistance and overall durability of sapphires make them an excellent choice for this application. Sapphires have a pleasing appearance and are almost hard to scratch unless you have one diamond nearby.

Although sapphire is resistant to scratches, it may fracture when subjected to hard blows. That's why a lot of military timepieces are made of acrylic, which is a more shatter-resistant material.

In addition to making it difficult to work with, the crystal's hardness also makes it tough to polish to a high degree of perfection. Mineral glass has a ten-fold increase in hardness when compared to sapphire glass. In other words, the price of a sapphire is far more than the price of a mineral.

PROS of Sapphire Crystal Glass

#1. Scratch Resistant to the Core

Because sapphire glass is made of such a tough oxide crystal, it is almost impossible to scratch. Diamond may be the only substance capable of deeply scratching sapphire, according to certain theories.

#2. Aesthetically Appealing

Because it is an oxide crystal, sapphire has a particularly appealing appearance. Keeping a sapphire crystal clean may make it sparkle like a diamond.

#3. Extremely High Impact Resistant

The toughness of the material also makes it resistant to impact. Sapphire is typically paired with titanium or some other hard-wearing metals, such as stainless steel, straps and body of the watch.

CONS of Sapphire Crystal Glass

#1. No Buffing

A scratch on a sapphire crystal cannot be rubbed off, even if it is very rare.

#2. Shatter Potential

Impacts on sapphire glass are rare. Unfortunately, sapphire's failures are always disastrous. In other words, it will be shattered by a blow strong enough to crack sapphire.

#3. Higher Cost

Because of the high cost of production and the difficulty of working with it, it is also more costly to buy when you go to the store. High-end timepieces often include sapphire crystals.

Comparison Table of Characteristics between Acrylic, Mineral, and Sapphire Glasses


Acrylic Glass

Mineral Glass

Sapphire Glass 









Scratch Resistant


No (Better)










Polish or Buffing




If you find this article helpful, you might want to check out my other posts :

>> Movement Types in Watches
Different Types of Watch Materials

To learn more about watches :

>> Welcome to Our Learning Hub

To see my recommendations of watches, cases, and watch straps :

>> Explore Watches and More with TimeFAQ!

To see reviews of watches I own :

>> My Watch Collection!