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Types of Watch Glass feature

Types of Watch Glass: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to wristwatches, the watch glass plays a critical role in protecting the delicate dial and movement while also elevating the watch's appearance. There are different types of glass materials used in the manufacturing of watches. Each of these glasses carries its own benefits and unique characteristics. In this article, we delve into the most common types of watch glass materials and their features and differences to help you make an informed choice when buying a wristwatch.

5 watch glass types found in timepieces

The world of watches is constantly evolving, with new innovations being introduced every few years. Of all the different components present in a watch, the glass is one essential element that can’t go unnoticed.

different types of watch glass

Not only does it provide the aesthetic appeal a watch needs but it also ensures the protection of the dial and other internal components. Therefore, we have mentioned the 5 most common types of watch glass materials that you should know about:

  • Acrylic crystal watch
  • Mineral crystal watch
  • Sapphire crystal watches
  • Plexiglass watch
  • Gorilla glass watches

Acrylic crystal

Acrylic crystal glass, also known as hesalite or plastic, is a lightweight and low-cost option that is commonly found in vintage and entry-level watches.

This particular glass type is less prone to shattering but is more susceptible to scuffs and scratches. Acrylic crystal glass is easy to polish and can be buffed to remove minor surface damage.

However, the one negative aspect of Acrylic crystal is that it may require more frequent maintenance in order to avoid visible scratches and retain its clarity.

Mineral crystal

Mineral crystal, also known as Mineral glass watch, is a type of hardened glass that provides improved resistance to scratch, as compared to Acrylic crystal.

This material is composed of various elements, including oxygen and silicon, which are heat-treated to improve its durability.

A Mineral crystal offers incredible clarity and is often found in mid-range watches. The material offers better scratch resistance. However, it can still be susceptible to scratches, especially from other harder materials.

Sapphire Crystal

Sapphire glass is currently the most premium and desirable material used in high-end watches. It is made from synthetic sapphire, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide.

Sapphire crystal watches are exceptionally hard and rank 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness (second to diamonds). This ruggedness provides incredible scratch resistance, making sapphire crystal watches extremely durable.

This particular material also has excellent optical clarity. It allows a clear view of the dial and movement. However, one of the downsides of the sapphire crystal is that it is more brittle than other materials and can shatter or crack upon impact.


Plexiglass, also known as PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate), is a shatter-resistant and lightweight material.

This material of glass is commonly found in sports watches and models that require additional durability.

Plexiglass has an incredible impact resistance as compared to other types of watch glasses. This makes it suitable for rugged and adventurous activities.

However, it is more prone to scratches and can develop a hazy appearance over time due to its lower scratch resistance compared to mineral or sapphire crystal.

Gorilla Glass watches

Coming to the last type of watch glass on the list, we have Gorilla Glass, a chemically strengthened glass. It was originally developed for smartphone screens. However, it has been adopted across modern-day watches.

The material offers great scratch resistance and improved durability. It has become an increasingly popular choice for many contemporary watches.

Gorilla Glass is incredibly transparent and lightweight and provides a clear view of the dial. However, one thing that is worth noting is that Gorilla Glass is not as widespread in the watch industry as other materials that we have mentioned above.

How to replace a watch glass

Replace a watch glass

You may wonder how to replace a watch glass if the watch is scratched, cracked, or damaged. While replacing the glass can be a delicate process, with steady hands and the right tools, you can do it yourself. Here are the steps to follow to replace a glass:

  • Gather all the required tools
  • Carefully open the watch case
  • Remove the damaged glass
  • Clean and prep up the new watch glass
  • Install the new glass
  • Secure the glass in place
  • Double-check for proper fit and functionality
  • Securely close the watch case

Gather all the required tools

To replace a watch glass, you will need a couple of essential tools. These include the following:

  • A case holder
  • Case back opener
  • Watchmaker’s screwdrivers
  • A watch crystal press
  • Tweezers
  • A replacement glass that is suitable for your specific watch model.

You must make sure that you have all the above-mentioned tools before you commence with the process of replacing the glass.

Carefully open the watch case

Using the case back opener tool, you must carefully open the watch’s case to gain access to its movement and the existing watch glass. While doing so, be cautious not to damage the case itself or any of its internal components.

Remove the damaged glass

Once you have successfully opened the watch case, you must then locate the retaining ring or bezel that holds the watch glass in place.

Depending on the watch model, it may or may not be necessary to unscrew or pry off the retaining ring or bezel using a watchmaker’s screwdriver.

What you must take note of during the process is how the old glass is positioned for reference during re-installation.

Clean and prep up the new glass

Before you install the new glass, it is important to clean the watch case thoroughly. For this, you can use a soft cloth with a watch cleaning solution to remove any fingerprints, debris or residue present on the case.

Install the new glass

Take the replacement glass and ensure it is of the correct size and shape to fit your watch model. Gently place the new glass into the watch case, and align it properly with the notches. Use your fingertips or a pair of tweezers to position the glass securely.

Secure the glass in place

If your watch uses a retaining ring or bezel, carefully reattach it to hold the new glass in place. Ensure that it is properly aligned and tightened, and be very cautious not to overtighten, as this could damage the glass and the case.

Double-check for proper fit and functionality

After securing the watch glass, thoroughly examine the watch to ensure its fit correctly and that it functions as intended. Also, verify that the watch hands move freely the dial is clear and legible.

Securely close the watch case

Once you are satisfied with the glass installation, you can then carefully close the case using the right tools. During this step, ensure that the case back is properly aligned and closed to maintain the watch’s water resistance capability, if applicable.

Perhaps, if you are not willing to tamper with the watch yourself, you can always visit an experienced watch servicing provider to get the glass replaced.

Watch glass types and replacement criteria to follow

things to note before changing glass on a watch

The choice of watch glass material depends on multiple factors, including budget, style preferences, and intended use of the watch. Every glass has its own strengths and weaknesses. Therefore the choice purely depends on your requirements.

From what we have discussed above, we understand that Acrylic crystal glass is affordable but less scratch-resistant. On the other hand, a mineral glass watch offers better scratch resistance and comes at a reasonable cost.

Additionally, if you are looking for a premium choice, then Sapphire crystal is your go-to option, offering superior scratch resistance and optical clarity.

Lastly, we have Plexiglass and Gorilla Glass, materials that provide enhanced durability and impact resistance, catering to specific needs such as sports or rugged activities.

When you are looking to sell watch in Dubai, ensuring that the watch glass is in its pristine condition is critical, as it impacts the value of the watch. Therefore, timely servicing of your watch is important in order to help retain its value over a period of time.

Kevin Ghassemi WatchMaestro
Written By

Kevin Ghassemi

Kevin Ghassemi is WatchMaestro's Operations Manager, responsible for sales and purchases of watches. He engages personally with clients, bonding over their shared passion for timepieces. In his leisure, he shares his expertise on social media and occasionally contributes to blog posts.

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