Good afternoon, watch lovers and readers of my blog!
By the standards of modern watchmaking, it is customary for a good watch to have a sapphire crystal bezel .
It is perceived as something prestigious, expensive and of high quality , and therefore highly desirable for many. I personally know people for whom the presence of a sapphire crystal in a watch is a must-have and its absence completely discourages anyone from even hearing about such a watch.
In today’s post, I would like to talk about why a sapphire crystal in a watch is not always good.
In modern watches, in addition to sapphire glass, at least two types of glasses are installed – plastic ( acrylic, organic, hezalite ) and mineral . The latter is the most common.
It is characterized by the fact that it is very difficult to break it, but it can be easily scratched.
Legendary diving watch Vostok Amphibia with plastic face glass
Sapphire glass is not the most popular option , however, it is customary to install sapphire on the best and most expensive watches . You can find it at Rolex , Omega , Patek Philippe , and Richard Mille .
Why? Perhaps because they have not yet come up with a better one.
But why, then, do I say that sapphire glass is not always good?
You see, sapphire glass has one significant drawback, which not everyone knows about , but which seriously declassifies it , forcing me personally to think about the need to overpay for having it in my chronometer – high fragility and all the consequences . Let’s see why this is so bad …
The famous “Lunar Chronograph” Omega Speedmaster Professional with a sapphire bezel
Sapphire crystal has one significant advantage – amazing scratch resistance , an order of magnitude higher than the best mineral glass . This type of glass has a hardness of 9/10 on the Mohs scale ( second only to diamond ). But this hardness also creates high fragility .
As a result, sapphire glass breaks much easier than the “simple” and cheaper mineral , and, of course, plastic . This is a significant drawback, especially when fitted to instrument watches like the Rolex Deep-Sea , Grand Seiko Diver , Citizen Promaster , Seiko Prospex and others.
A special tool that can be used to test the hardness of glass (or diamond)
Of course, not everyone will actually be diving in their Rolex Submariner ( like the person in the photo below ), Omega Seamaster Professional, Panerai or Grand Seiko , but for watches of a lower class like Seiko Prospex, sapphire crystal can be a serious drawback .
A diver in his Rolex Submariner is an infrequent sight
Surprisingly, the cheaper models of the Prospex line have Hardlex mineral glass , the most popular Casio G-Shock also use this type of glass.
For such watches, it seems to me, the strength of the glass is the highest priority , but the sapphire crystal, on the contrary, can fail at the most inopportune moment.
Professional Diving Grand Seiko Professional Diver Sapphire Bezel
For some reason, many do not know about the high fragility of sapphire glass and almost idealize it, wanting to see it in all watches.
Of course, I can agree that sapphire is perfect for classic and sophisticated watches, but in diving, racing, professional and similar models, sapphire crystal is rather a disadvantage.
I hope that this article allowed you to find out better why sapphire crystal in watches is not always an advantage and not all watches should be overpayed for. Now you know that sapphire is fragile and seriously inferior to mineral and plastic in this aspect.
Did you know how sapphire glass is inferior to mineral glass? Do you find it a good choice for “business” hours?
Thanks for reading!