In the watch world, watch crystal is a generic term for the transparent glass material that covers the watch face. It is like a transparent cover that protects parts of a watch such as watch dial, watch hand from dust, moisture and other natural disasters. The watch crystal on the market is not actually made of crystal, but a man-made material that resembles crystal. This blog aims to improve the watch collector’s overall understanding of watch crystals and how to replace a watch crystal.

Table of Contents

What is a watch crystal

    Watch crystal, also known as watch glass, refers to the clear glass material that covers the face or watch hand. Watches glass belong to watch case parts,protecting it from the elements and providing your watch with a polished look. Watch crystals are available in a variety of materials, each with their own unique properties and characteristics. Understanding the differences between these types is essential to choosing the right watch crystal for your watch.

what is a watch crystal

Watch crystal types

    There are 4 types of Watch glass, namely Acrylic crystal, plexiglass, Mineral crystal and Sapphire Crystal. Acrylic glass and Plexi glass are a kind of plastic, so they are cheaper, transparent and lighter. Most watch manufacturers use these four types of crystal watch, and we will introduce these four types of watch glass one by one.

Acrylic crystal

    Acrylic watch crystal is a polymer comprising a polymethyl methacrylate. In the days before sapphire crystal was so common, Acrylic glass was one of the most common watch glasses because it had impact and shock protection.
     Even if the acrylic glass takes a powerful hit, it will crack, but it will stay in place, protecting the dial and watch movement from further damage.
In the 1980s, even Rolex used acrylic glass. The reason it was replaced by sapphire glass is that acrylic glass is more prone to scratches or scuffs, as well as poor light transmission, and the watch can look a little hazy. Besides this, acrylic is less costly and is used on some vintage watches. Acrylic glass can withstand the pressure of a certain depth and is flexible, because some dive watch or military watch also use acrylic crystal glass. 

Acrylic crystal

Plexiglass

   Plexiglass is a polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) plastic material that is harder than acrylic glass, has better impact resistance, and costs less than acrylic crystal.
Plexiglass transmittance is over 92% or more, and acrylic transmittance is around 85%. So plexiglass clarity is higher.
   But plexiglass is easy to scratch but there is easy to polish. We often use them in sports watches because of their impact resistance and lightweight.

Plexiglass

Sapphire crystal

   Sapphire crystal is a synthetic sapphire material. Most of the luxury watches in the watch industry are equipped with sapphire crystal because sapphire glass has the following advantages:
    1. Hardness: the hardness of sapphire glass is 9, which is only second to the hardness of mission and diamond.
    2. Difficult to scratch, wear-resistant
    3. High clarity and good light transmission, which is conducive to improving visual recognition and making it easier to read the time. So high-end watches are favored to use sapphire glass. Sometimes the glass of mechanical watches is made of sapphire crystal, even the back of the watch is crystal sapphire.

what is the crystal on a watch

    Sapphire glass is expensive because the hardness of sapphire glass is so high that it has to be cut and polished with diamond abrasives. This kind of abrasive is not only costly but also has a short service life, resulting in the high cost of crystal sapphire.

   In addition, although sapphire is wear-resistant, we will break it when it encounters heavy pressure, water, and heavy fall. Once broken, it is easy to scratch the watch face and hand. The cost of repair is high, and before replacing the Sapphire crystal glass, the watchmaker has to make sure that no sapphire fragments are left inside the movement and other watch accessories.

What is an analog watch Sapphire crystal

Mineral crystal

   Mineral crystal is also known as mineral glass, the key component is silicon dioxide. Mineral glass is the most common watch glass mainly used in some mid-range watches, has the following advantages:
Less fragile than sapphire glass
Lower cost

Resistant to heavy pressure, stronger impact resistance, able to withstand great depth and pressure. Therefore Mineral glass is used in some diving watches.
Reflects less light than sapphire
   However, the Mineral crystal watch is more prone to scratches than crystal sapphire glass and is more difficult to polish. But we can coat it to increase the scratch resistance. Mineral glass is usually coated with anti-reflective coating, which can help the wearer read the time in a poor light environment and reduce the burden on the eyes.

How to replace a watch crystal

     When your watch crystal is damaged or has too many scratches, replace it.

     Step 1: prepare the tools, including fresh glass, tools to pry open the glass and the back cover.

    Step 2: Remove the back of the watch case.

   Step 3: Remove the broken watch crystal and note if there is any glass debris falling inside the dial or movement.

     Step 4: Clean the inside of the case or bezel.

   Step 5: Install the fresh glass using the base, making sure that the glass is not higher than the case.

     Step 6: Reinstall the base back into the watch.

    Step 7: Perform a water resistance test to ensure that the watch is waterproof. If you don’t have a specialized instrument, you can put the watch in the water to see if water enters.

   Before replacing the watch crystal, please make sure you have enough experience and skills to avoid causing secondary damage to the watch. If you are not sure how to replace watch crystal, you can send it to a professional watch repair store for replacement.

Conclusion:What is a watch crystal

   In short, the watch crystal plays a vital role in protecting the inner workings of the timepiece and clearly displaying the dial. By understanding the differences between mineral, crystal sapphire, acrylic crystal and Plexiglas crystals, watch enthusiasts can make an informed decision when choosing a replacement crystal. Plexiglass is the most resistant to knocks and bumps, and is even better suited for certain styles of watches, but lacks in clarity and scratch resistance. Acrylic glass is like plexiglass and by then more expensive. Mineral glass, with additional treatments such as coating, can be used as an alternative to sapphire at a fraction of the cost of sapphire glass, but lacks in scratch resistance. Most times, sapphire crystal is still the preferred choice for luxury brand watches because of the high clarity and scratch resistance of sapphire glass.

  As a China watch factory, Watchessy can provide different grade watch crystal to meet our customer’s request.

Related post

What is an analog watch

   In a digital age where smartphones and smart watches dominate the market, Analog watch still holds a special place in the hearts of many

Read More »

Quartz vs automatic watch

     Quartz and automatic movements are often mentioned in the watchmaking industry, but when designing a watch or buying a watch, how do you

Read More »

what is a gmt watch

   The watch world is full of interesting terms and features, one of which is the GMT watch. GMT watches have more interesting complications than

Read More »

How to design a watch

      In today’s world, watches are more than just a tool to tell time – they have become a fashion accessory and a

Read More »

A watch movement is the engine of a watch that acts as the powerhouse to make the watch and its functions operate. – is a crucial component that determines its accuracy, reliability, and durability. And for watch movements, few countries can match the reputation of Switzerland. When a movement is made and inspected in Switzerland, watchmakers refer to it as Swiss movement. More than 60% of the value manufactured movement components come from Switzerland.

Swiss movement watches are known for their precision, accuracy.There are countless types and brands of Swiss movements, so many consumers or start-up brand founders face all these Swiss movements and don’t know how to choose the right movement.So In this blog post, we will explore parts of a watch movement,what is A Swiss movement watch, Swiss watch movement manufacturers, advantage of Swiss movement watches.This guide will provide you with a comprehensive overview of Swiss movement watches and their significance in the world of horology.

Table of Contents

What is a watch movement

what is a movement watch

   A watch movement (also known as a “calibre”) is the engine of a watch that controls the motion of the watch hands and displays the time accurately. There are three main types of watch movements: quartz, mechanical, and automatic.

parts of a watch movement

The components of a watch movement are the individual parts that make up the mechanism that powers a watch. There are four main parts of a watch movement: the power source, the regulator, the transmission, and the display.

The power source is the component that provides the energy to power the watch.  In quartz watches, the power source is a battery that powers a quartz crystal oscillator.  In mechanical and automatic watches, the power source is a mainspring that is wound by hand or by the movement of the wearer’s wrist.

The regulator controls the rate at which the power source is released, which determines the accuracy of the watch. In quartz watches, the regulator is a circuit that controls the frequency of the quartz crystal oscillator. In mechanical and automatic watches, the regulator is a system of gears and levers that control the speed at which the mainspring is unwound.

The transmission is the component that transfers the power from the power source to the display. In quartz watches, the transmission is an electronic circuit that sends a signal to the display. In mechanical and automatic watches, the transmission is a series of gears and wheels that convert the rotational energy of the mainspring into the motion of the hands.

    The display is the component that shows the time on the watch.  In analog watches, the display is a set of watch hands that indicate the hours, minutes, and sometimes seconds. In digital watches, the display is a digital readout that shows the time in numerals.  Some watches also have additional displays, such as date or chronograph functions, which are powered by additional components within the watch movement.

parts of a watch movement

Swiss movement watch

   Swiss movement watch can be defined as a watch that has a movement mechanism that meets the criteria for the “Swiss Made” label set by the Swiss Federal Council. To comply, the movement needs to be assembled and undergo quality control in Switzerland, with over 50% of its parts made in Switzerland and at least 60% of its component value being derived from Swiss-made components.

   It is easy for many watch enthusiasts to confuse Swiss movement watches with Swiss made watches. They are not the same. According to Swiss law, a watch can be considered Swiss-made if it meets specific criteria. These criteria include having a Swiss movement, assembling the watch, and conducting the final inspection in Switzerland. A Swiss made watch contains a Swiss movement. However, a watch with a Swiss movement is not called a Swiss made watch.

what is swiss movement

Swiss quartz movement

Instead of mechanical moving gears, wheels, and other components, a Swiss “quartz” watch is one that is powered by a quartz movement, complete with electronic circuit board, synthetic quartz crystal, and battery.

Swiss quartz movement was hit by the Japanese watch brand Seiko around the 1970s, creating the so-called quartz crisis. In the following year, many historic Swiss mechanical watch brands fell by the wayside. Eventually it was ETA that developed an inexpensive Swiss quartz movement and started using it in Swatch’s plastic watches, laying the groundwork for Swiss quartz watches to regain their footing. Most Swiss brands followed with their own quartz watches.
     Today, the accuracy of Swiss quartz movements is comparable to that of Japanese quartz movements, with the difference being only one of origin. Now not only do the top watch brands produce their own Swiss quartz movements to meet their own brand needs, but there are also many Swiss quartz movement manufacturers such as Sellita, ETA, and Ronda that supply Swiss quartz movements to small and medium-sized watch manufacturers or brands.

For further information on the difference between quartz vs automatic watches, click here for our related article.

Swiss watch automatic movement

Swiss watch automatic movement means that the Swiss watch manufacturer assembles and inspects the movement in Switzerland, and that the Swiss-made movement components account 50% of the total value of the watch, without taking into account assembly costs.
    In addition, the automatic movement is entirely mechanical, with no electronics or batteries, etc. Unlike the Winding Mechanical movement, the automatic watch movement has a metal weight-rotor on the back, so the movement of the wrist can wind it without having to be wound manually.

what is swiss movement

Swiss mechanical movement

A Swiss mechanical movement is a type of watch movement that uses a spring-driven mechanism to power the watch. It is known for its precision, craftsmanship, and attention to detail, and is widely regarded as one of the best types of watch movements in the world.

Swiss watch movements manufacturer or brand

ETA

Valjoux

Sellita

Rolex

Omega

Patek Philippe

Audemars Piguet

Girard-Perregaux

Jaeger-LeCoultre

Breitling

Ronda

  As for the future of Swiss watch movements, the industry is facing new challenges from smartwatches and other wearable technology. However, many Swiss watchmakers are adapting by creating their own smartwatches or by focusing on producing high-end luxury mechanical movements that offer features and craftsmanship that cannot be replicated by technology. Additionally, some Swiss watchmakers are exploring the use of new materials, such as silicon, to improve the accuracy and reliability of their movements. Overall, the future of Swiss watch movements looks promising, as many watch enthusiasts still appreciate the tradition, history, and quality of mechanical watch movements.

Advantage of Swiss movement watches

Precision: Swiss watch movements are known for their precision and accuracy, thanks to the country’s long tradition of watchmaking and high standards for quality control.

Craftsmanship: Swiss watchmakers are renowned for their attention to detail and commitment to craftsmanship, resulting in timepieces that are both functional and beautiful.

Durability: Swiss movt watch is durable and reliable, using high-quality materials and rigorous testing processes to ensure longevity.

Prestige: Swiss movement watch is associated with prestige and luxury, with many of the world’s most prestigious watch brands being Swiss-based.

Innovation: Swiss watch movement manufacturers are constantly innovating and pushing the boundaries of watchmaking, resulting in new technologies and features that enhance the functionality and desirability of their watches.

 Conclusion About Swiss Watch Movements

    In conclusion Swiss watch movements are good because Swiss watch movement are the industry standard. They are known for their precision, craftsmanship, and durability and quality. It’s worth noting that Japanese movement are just as well, and they’re loved by a wide range of consumers for their accuracy, practicality and affordability.Watchessy offers a range of high-quality Swiss and Japan watch movements.

 FAQ-Swiss movement watch

 Swiss movement vs automatic

    This refers to the difference between the Swiss automatic vs Japan automatic movement. With movements with the same function, the Swiss movement 2824-2 vs Miyota 8215 for example, Miyota 8215 movement is made up of 21 jewels, has a frequency of 6 beats per second, and a power reserve of 42 hours, whereas ETA’s caliber 2824-2 comprises 25 jewels, and has a frequency of 4 beats per second. The power reserve for 38 hours.
   In addition, Swiss automatic movement does not stop for a moment because of the movement of the wrist like the Japan automatic movement.
   Overall, if you are on a budget, Swiss movement is a better choice. If you are looking for an affordable automatic movement, then the Japan automatic movement is a good choice.

 Swiss quartz movement vs automatic

     Swiss quartz movement is powered by a battery. The Swiss automatic movement is powered by the movement of the wrist, because the automatic movement has a metal weight called a rotor behind it, which rotates to wind the watch with the movement of the wrist.

 Swiss vs Japanese movement

   Explain the difference between Swiss vs Japanese movement according to different movement types. Swiss quartz and Japanese quartz movement are both accurate and reliable, but the same quality of Swiss movement is more expensive than Japanese quartz movement. The difference between Swiss mechanical movement and Japanese mechanical movement is that Swiss mechanical movement is more aesthetically pleasing, like a work of art. Japanese mechanical movements are more focused on accuracy.

Swiss movement History

    Swiss watch movements have a rich history dating back to the 16th century, when Huguenot refugees brought their skills to Geneva, Switzerland.Over the years, Swiss watchmakers have become known for their precision, innovation, and dedication to quality craftsmanship.In the early 20th century, Swiss watch movements faced competition from cheaper and more accurate American,Germany and Japan made watches, but Swiss manufacturers adapted by focusing on high-end luxury timepieces. In the 1970s, Swiss watch movements faced new competition from Japan quartz watches, but the industry rebounded by producing high-end luxury mechanical movements.

Related post

Watch movement types

    A watch movement is the engine that powers the watch. Different watch movement types determine its accuracy, durability, and functionality. There are 3

Read More »