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Watch crystal: Insights and Tips

When talking about watches, I think we all agree that the watch movement is the most important part. But what’s next? For me, it would be the case and watch glass since it protects the dial and movement while also adding a subtle beauty to the design. That is why, I would like to provide you with some insights into watch glasses in this week’s Von Doren blog post.


There are 3 types of watch glasses, namely Acrylic Glass, Mineral Glass and Sapphire Crystal and they all have their own pros and cons.

Different types of glasses - Von Doren

Acrylic glass, the cheapest one among the three types, was widely used up to the 1980s. This kind of glass is actually plastic so it is flexible, transparent and very light. It is hard to break but gets scratched easily. Fortunately, the scratches can be easily buffed. Watchmakers usually use acrylic glass to make cheap watches, especially children’s watches.

The disadvantages of acrylic glass has pushed many manufacturers to move to Mineral Glass. Mineral glass is the most common type of watch glass to be found in the market right now. It ranks 5 out of 10 on Mohs hardness scale and is known to be used in glass windows. It gets hardened by heat and coated with a hardening material. This production process makes mineral glass more scratch- and impact –resistant than acrylic glass. However, under extreme hot and cold conditions, mineral glass may crack or shatter.

The third and also the most desirable glass type is Sapphire Crystal. Its outstanding resistance and clarity makes it a perfect choice for premium watches. Sapphire, rated 9 out of 10 on Mohs hardness scale, is the second hardest substance on Earth. It is believed that only diamond and other sapphires can scratch sapphire. In the watch industry, it is common to use synthetic sapphire which is constructed of crystallized aluminum oxide. Synthetic sapphire does not have color but has the same physical attributes as the natural sapphire. Tough as it is, sapphire crystal requires delicate work during milling and cutting.

So, if you want the best scratch-proof watch face, you should go for sapphire crystal.


If you buy your watch from reliable shops and brands, you are always given clear information about the type of watch glass the watch has. It is also clear that you can get the precise results by using advanced machines and techniques. But it is not always easy to get such a high-standard support. In case you are curious to test, there are some tips to figure out the glass type on your watch.

Being plastic, acrylic glass is totally unlike mineral glass or sapphire crystal. You can feel the difference when putting it on your cheek. Acrylic glass is usually warm while mineral glass or sapphire crystal is cold.

When it comes to mineral glass and sapphire crystal, it is almost impossible to see the distinction between them just with your own eyes. Obviously, you can try

to scratch the glass watch with a knife to find out. I, however, suggest you do not do so, since if your watch has mineral glass face, it will not stand sharp objects.

There are two tricks that watch experts usually utilize. Firstly, you can test using a drop of water on the glass. If the water stays in the drop shape, it is most likely sapphire crystal. On mineral glass, on the other hand, the water will flow and spread. Secondly, there is also a sound test by tapping your finger nail on the glass. If the sound is solid and low-toned, it is sapphire crystal. If it is high-toned, you have mineral glass. For better illustration, you can take a look at this video.


After all, sapphire crystal is unarguably the best watch glass. It is also interesting to know that sapphire crystal can be either domed or flat in watch design.

Domed sapphire crystal - Von Doren

From the look, the domed sapphire crystal brings about a vintage feeling while the flat one has a modern taste.

Regarding the resistance level, the domed sapphire crystal is believed to be stronger than the flat counterpart giving the same thickness. Domed sapphire crystal spreads over the force over a greater area so it is less likely to shatter. In addition, domed sapphire crystal reduces the light reflection. Nevertheless, domed sapphire crystal is much more expensive and possibly causes distortion when viewing from extreme angles.

Depending on your preferences and your budget, you can choose a watch with a suitable glass. In my opinion, domed sapphire crystal is the optimal choice. That is why, I am so proud that Von Doren has introduced the first Limited Founder Collection with only domed sapphire crystal watches. For more information about the collection, please check it out here.


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