What are the different Types of Watch Lenses?
When it comes to choosing a watch, one important factor to consider is the type of watch crystal. There are several different types available, each with its own unique features and benefits. In this guide, we will break down the different types of watch crystals and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision for your watch.
Acrylic Watch Crystals: Affordable and lightweight, but prone to scratches.
Not used too often nowadays, acrylic watch lenses are the cheapest and less scratch-resistant option, with only 3 out of 10 on the Mohs scale. Because they are easy to manufacture and shape, they are used on vintage timepieces with a domed watch crystal that produces some optic distortions depending on the view angle. Acrylic crystals get undeservedly scorned as cheap. However, they are light, more shock resistant than mineral or sapphire crystals, and, in the high probability of getting scratched, easier to polish with Polywatch or regular Toothpaste. And, in the worst case, very cheap to replace.
Mineral Glass Watch Crystals: More scratch-resistant than acrylic, but still susceptible to scratches.
It is made from a type of tempered glass that is treated with chemicals to make it more scratch-resistant. It is also relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. However, it is not as durable as other types of watch crystals and can still scratch or crack under certain conditions.
This is the most common type of watch lens: the mineral watch crystal is the most common amongst low- and middle-priced watches. Modern mineral crystals are tempered and treated chemically to enhance their hardness and shock resistance. They rank at around 5 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness (Diamonds rank 10 out of 10) and can still scratch or crack under certain conditions.
Hardlex Watch Crystals: A type of mineral glass with enhanced durability and resistance to shattering.
Hardlex crystal is a type of mineral glass that is specially treated to make it more durable and scratch-resistant. It is commonly used in Seiko watches and is a good option for those who want a more affordable alternative to sapphire crystal.
Sapphire Watch Crystals: Extremely durable and scratch-resistant, but more expensive.
Sapphire watch lenses are the high-end option because of their high price and scratch resistance of 9 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale, as well as their clarity, which is usually enhanced with an Anti-Reflective coating, which is applied on the inside in most cases to protect the coating against abrasion.
There exists nothing like the perfect material, as you usually trade one advantage for a disadvantage: the harder a material, the more brittle it becomes. That means that Sapphire crystals would be more prone to shatter than mineral or acrylic crystals.
Plexiglass Watch Crystals: A type of acrylic that offers better scratch resistance than regular acrylic crystals.
Hesalite Crystal. More scratch-resistant than Acrylic.
Hesalite crystal is a type of acrylic crystal that is used in Omega watches. It is specially treated to make it more scratch-resistant and is also shatter-resistant. It is a good option for those who want a more affordable alternative to sapphire crystal.
Ceramic Crystal. The high-end option.
Ceramic crystal is a type of synthetic material that is used in high-end watches. It is extremely scratch-resistant and durable, but it is also very expensive. It is a good option for those who want the best possible protection for their watch.