Watch Crystals Overview
When it comes to selecting the type of crystal or window for your next wristwatch, you will notice that the crystals typically come in a few different varieties (ranked in descending order of quality):
- Plexiglass / Acrylic
Here are a few highlights on each one of the crystals:
Sapphire: Sapphire crystal is one of the hardest minerals on earth (with only diamond being higher on the Mohs Hardness Scale).
Simply put, sapphire is the Rolls Royce when it comes to watch crystals. It’s incredible hardness makes it extraordinarily difficult to scratch – which makes it perfect for every day wear and tear.
However, you shouldn’t put this to the test.
Even though sapphire is scratch resistant, the face could become blemished if its hit against a surface incredibly hard.
Another catch with sapphire has to do around its impact resistance.
According to watch enthusiasts that hang out in popular forums like watchuseek, they generally agree that sapphire does tend to show blemishes when impacted by a foreign object.
While this may sound undesirable, its important to note that this is in extreme conditions and likely not applicable for 99% of men out there who don’t find themselves in precarious situations on a daily basis.
With the high end quality that you get when picking up a sapphire crystal window for your next wristwatch, don’t expect a modest price tag.
In fact, most of the sapphire crystal watches we rounded up for this article had a price tag north of $300, with the only exception being the Tissot T-Classic Desire Watch.
Mineral: The second best watch crystal available for wristwatches is mineral. Essentially a glass composition, mineral is susceptible to scratching, however, like glass, is pretty inexpensive.
This surface is great for those men out there that still want a watch that can withstand daily abuses without scuffing as easily as a plexiglass or acrylic composition.
While a mineral crystal watch isn’t likely to be a family heirloom, this crystal does make it easy for men to add a variety of watches for different occasions (i.e. dress, sport, daily, etc.) at a much lower price point.
Plexiglass / Acrylic: While some watch makers may market their watch as having a Plexiglas (this is just a brand name like Kleenex is for facial tissues) or acrylic watch face, both of these materials are derived from acrylic and have similar properties (hence their grouping here).
Acrylic is used on watches due to their incredibly low price point.
Watches like the sub $10 Casio MQ24-1E, while stylish, rely on this inexpensive material for their watches.
As we eluded to in previous sections, don’t expect acrylic to last you for years as this material is both susceptible to impacts and scratches rather easily.
However, if you are looking for a cheap novelty watch or one that you can wear daily to the office or on the weekends, then it will be fine enough to get the job done.
Other: Rarely you will see some manufactures develop their own proprietary watch crystal.
Most notably you will find that many Seiko watches rely on Hardlex. Which according to Seiko is considered to be a hardened grade of mineral glass.
If you find a watch crystal that isn’t Sapphire, Mineral, or Acrylic, then we would recommend contacting the manufacturer to find out more about the composition.
The Movement Of Time
Many wristwatches on the market fall into two categories when it comes to movement:
So how do these two differ?
The most obvious difference between these two movement mechanisms has to do with how they are powered (or lack thereof).
Quartz: Quartz based watches (typically Japanese or Swiss), rely on a battery to keep time moving. Therefore, depending on the wristwatch type you decide to purchase, you may need to bring it into a jeweler to have the battery changed professionally or you can do it yourself (most grocery stores or drug stores carry watch batteries behind the counter).
Automatic: Many men, including myself, find automatic watches extraordinarily convenient. While typically commanding a higher price tag, this wristwatch movement type doesn’t rely on a battery in order to keep time.
Instead, automatic watches simply rely on the movement of your body to keep it self-wound.
The downfall of this of course can be if you don’t wear a watch on a regular basis (i.e. dress watch).
Therefore, what we like to recommend to men is that they pick up an accompanying watch winder. These keep your watch(es) wound between wearings – plus they put your watch on display! This is also incredibly convenient should you have more than one automatic watch in your collection.
Note: If you plan on only owning one automatic watch and are planning to wear it daily, you can skip on purchasing a watch winder.
Is A Sub-40mm Watch Case The Right Size For Your Wrist?
In our product roundup, we selected popular watches on the market that have a watch case (face) that is under a diameter of 40mm.
As we eluded to in the opening, overly large watch faces can look gaudy and just downright bad.
Buying Online Is Hard – Especially When Trying To Figure The Best Watch For Small Wrists
The last thing you want after hitting the ‘Buy Now’ button is making a trip to your local Post Office to send the watch back because it is too large.
Therefore, to make things a bit easier, we went ahead and created printable PDF to see how a 38mm watch face would look on your wrist.
Of course, many online retailers have pretty lenient return policies, so don’t be afraid to use them should you not be completely satisfied with your purchase – after all, what good is a watch if its just sitting in your dresser collecting dust?