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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Lady 67150ST/O/1108ST/02 Very good Steel 27mm Quartz
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Edelstahl Damenuhr Ref....
9 050
Professional dealer
5017
DE
Corum Bubble 285.150.20 Very good Steel 44.5mm Automatic
TOP
Corum Bubble Chronograph Automatik Datum Edelstahl Herrenuhr...
2 050
Professional dealer
5017
DE
Zenith Defy El Primero 03.0516.4000 Very good Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Zenith El Primero Defy Classic Aero Chronograph Automatik Ref....
3 450
Professional dealer
5017
DE
Girard Perregaux WW.TC 49805 Very good Titanium 43mm Automatic
TOP
Girard Perregaux World Time Chronograph Automatik Titan...
5 650
Professional dealer
5017
DE
Glashütte Original Senator Hand Date 1-39-58-02-02-04 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Glashütte Original Senator Zeigerdatum Ref. 1-39-58-02-02-04 B&P
3 950
Sold by Chrono24
DE
Rolex Submariner 126618LB Very good Yellow gold 41mm Automatic Finland, Oulu
Rolex Blue Dial Submariner 41mm 2021 like new
39 900
Professional dealer
27
FI
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A-001 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A-001 Like new 2018
55 000
Professional dealer
20
MC
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M 210.90.42.20.01.001 New Titanium 42mm Automatic
TOP
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition Unworn New October 2021
8 200
Free shipping
Professional dealer
391
ES
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 CAR2B10.BA0799 Good Steel 43mm Automatic Finland, Järvenpää
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback
4 390
Professional dealer
 
FI
Seiko Grand Seiko SBGH201G Good Steel 40mm Automatic Finland, Jyväskylä
Seiko Grand Seiko Hi-beat 36000
3 900
Professional dealer
34
FI
Rolex Submariner Date 16613 Very good Gold/Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Submariner Date Purple dial
12 690
Professional dealer
11
IT
Breitling Navitimer AB01213B1B1A1 New Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling NAVITIMER B01 CHRONOGRAPH43 BLACK MOP SPECIAL...
8 800
Free shipping
Professional dealer
165
JP
Hamilton Jazzmaster Open Heart H32565521 New Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Hamilton Jazzmaster Open Heart
655
Professional dealer
114
ES
Chopard St. Moritz 268333-3001 Very good Steel 37.5mm Automatic
TOP
Chopard St. Moritz Chronograph Automatik Stahl Herrenuhr Ref....
5 550
Sold by Chrono24
DE
Seiko Grand Seiko SBGP015G Very good Steel 40mm Quartz Finland, Oulu
Seiko Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited 40mm
2 930
Professional dealer
27
FI
Rolex Daytona 116500LN New Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Daytona 116500LN new unworn 2021 white dial
36 000
Professional dealer
20
MC
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79010SG New Silver 39mm Automatic
TOP
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79010SG Silver 925 Novelty Unworn...
3 850
Free shipping
Professional dealer
391
ES
Cartier Cougar 183964 Very good Gold/Steel 30mm Quartz
TOP
Cartier Panthere Ronde
1 580
Professional dealer
302
IT
Rolex Explorer II 216570 Good Steel 42mm Automatic Finland, Jyväskylä
Rolex Explorer II
9 500
Professional dealer
34
FI
Rolex Explorer II 16550 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Explorer II dial Chicchi di Mais
11 990
Professional dealer
11
IT
Breitling A007G-1KBA New Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling PREMIER B01 CHRONOGRAPH42 See-through back AB0118221...
6 407
Free shipping
Professional dealer
165
JP
Hamilton Spirit of Liberty H42415541 New Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Hamilton American Classic Spirit of Liberty Auto
725
Professional dealer
114
ES
Franck Muller Very good Steel 37mm Manual winding
TOP
Franck Muller Endurance 24 Chronograph Handaufzug Edelstahl...
4 250
Sold by Chrono24
DE
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 220.10.41.21.03.004 Very good Steel 41mm Automatic Finland, Oulu
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m
4 400
Professional dealer
27
FI
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea 116660 D New Steel 44mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Deep Sea 116660 D Blu NOS 2017
18 000
Professional dealer
20
MC
Zenith Chronomaster Sport 03.3100.3600/69.M3100 New Steel 41mm Automatic
TOP
Zenith Chronomaster Sport 41mm Mint Condition Like New July 2021
9 650
Free shipping
Professional dealer
391
ES
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 CV2A1C Very good Steel 43.5mm Automatic
TOP
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Limitiert Automatik Stahl Ref....
2 950
Sold by Chrono24
DE
Seiko Prospex SLA047J1 Very good Steel Automatic Finland, Jyväskylä
Seiko Limited Edition Prospex
2 350
Professional dealer
34
FI
Rolex GMT-Master II 16710 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex GMT-Master II Stick Dial
16 790
Professional dealer
11
IT
Breitling Chronomat S001B-RPA New Steel 44mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling CHRONOMAT JSP LIMITED500 ROMAN EDITION See-through...
6 948
Free shipping
Professional dealer
165
JP
Omega De Ville Co-Axial 4677.60.37 Very good Yellow gold 35mm Automatic
TOP
Omega De Ville 18K Gold Diamanten Chronograph Automatik...
8 650
Sold by Chrono24
DE
IWC Porsche Design Very good Aluminum 38mm Automatic
TOP
IWC Schaffhausen Porsche Design Kompass Automatik Datum...
1 850
Sold by Chrono24
DE
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 116.032 Very good Rose gold 41.9mm Manual winding Finland, Oulu
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone Full set mint condition
33 500
Professional dealer
27
FI
Rolex Submariner Date 16610 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Submariner 16610 military NATO 1994 S series
35 000
Professional dealer
20
MC

Sapphire Crystal Watches: Highly Scratch-Resistant

Watch glass made of sapphire crystal began dominating the industry in the 1980s. This material is especially hard and, therefore, scratch-resistant. What's more, sapphire glass lets in plenty of light, thus improving the watch's readability.


4 Reasons to Buy a Watch with Sapphire Crystal

  • Sapphire is especially scratch-resistant
  • Lets in plenty of light
  • Something for every budget
  • Coveted collector's item: Classic vintage Rolex and Omega watches

Almost as Tough as Diamond

Most modern luxury watch manufacturers include sapphire crystal watch glass as a standard feature of their timepieces. The reason is clear: Sapphire is the world's third hardest mineral, behind only diamond and moissanite. As a result, it is extremely scratch-resistant. Moreover, it lets in more light than quartz, mineral, or acrylic glass, making it even easier to tell the time.

While sapphire is a naturally occurring mineral, the sapphire crystal used in watch glass is a synthetic material. Some people even refer to this colorless crystal as "sapphire glass" because it is so transparent.

The watch industry began churning out large numbers of watches with sapphire crystal in the 1980s. Before then, mineral or acrylic glass was the material of choice. Today, many manufacturers also use sapphire crystal for their case backs. There are even a handful of companies producing entire cases out of this clear material.


How much do watches with sapphire crystal cost?

Model Reference number Price (approx.)
Hublot Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire 411.JL.4809.RT 63,500 USD
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 5015 1130 52A 11,000 USD
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date 1530 9,400 USD
Breitling Navitimer A23322 4,700 USD
Oris Divers Sixty-Dive 01 733 7720 4055-07 5 21 02 1,600 USD
Mido Ocean Star Captain V M026.430.47.061.00 1,000 USD
Laco Augsburg 42 861688 380 USD
Casio Collection BEM-111D-1AVEF 70 USD

Vintage Classics with Sapphire Crystal

Since sapphire crystal wasn't a common watch feature until the early 1980s, there are very few vintage watches with this material. However, there are a few notable models. Rolex was one of the first companies to recognize sapphire's potential and use it in series production. The Rolex Date ref. 1530 and its successor, the Datejust ref. 1630, were among the first timepieces to utilize this scratch-resistant watch glass. Both watches emerged in the early 1970s and are extremely rare today. A stainless steel ref. 1530 costs around 9,300 USD, while the two-tone Datejust ref. 1630 demands about 5,400 USD.

The Submariner ref. 16800 from the late 70s was Rolex's first sports watch to feature sapphire crystal. Like all Submariners, the 16800 is a highly coveted collector's item. However, at only 9,200 USD, it is relatively affordable compared to other Submariner models.

Omega began experimenting with sapphire crystal all the way back in 1932. This resulted in watches like the Omega Marine ref. CK 679, which sells for as little as 2,600 USD today. However, Omega wouldn't use sapphire glass for timepieces in series production until the late 1970s, starting with the Seamaster 120 ref. ST 166.0250. This diving watch is water-resistant to 120 m (12 bar, 394 ft) and changes hands for roughly 3,900 USD in good condition.

There are no vintage examples of the fan-favorite Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch with sapphire crystal. In fact, Omega outfitted this timepiece exclusively with synthetic Hesalite glass until the turn of the millennium. The reason is that this watch was part of NASA's official equipment and the space agency insisted on Hesalite since it doesn't splinter upon impact. However, Omega did introduce a few models with sapphire glass case backs in the 1980s, including the limited edition Apollo XI ref. BA345.0802. You can call this watch your own for some 33,500 USD.


Retro Watches with Sapphire Crystal

Since vintage models with sapphire crystal are so rare, modern takes on classic vintage timepieces make great alternatives. For example, Breitling has been crafting their iconic Navitimer pilot's watch with sapphire crystal since the late 1990s. Depending on the model and its condition, Navitimer prices range from 2,200 to 39,000 USD.

Storied Swiss watch manufacturer Blancpain has been equipping their classic Fifty Fathoms diving watch with sapphire crystal for years. New editions of the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda and Fifty Fathoms Automatique even feature a sapphire crystal bezel inlay in addition to their sapphire crystal watch glass and case backs. These attractive timepieces change hands for about 11,000 USD.

TAG Heuer also has a long history with sapphire crystal in their Carrera and Monaco collections. This material appears on their Heritage models, such as the Monaco Calibre 11, as well as their classic Carrera Calibre 1887. The latter gets its name from the in-house caliber 1887. You can purchase a mint-condition Monaco Calibre 11 with the blue "Steve McQueen design" for around 4,300 USD. Pre-owned pieces tend to cost a few hundred dollars less. If you prefer the Carrera Calibre 1887, be sure to have between 2,600 and 3,500 USD on hand.


Affordable Sapphire Glass Watches

Sapphire crystal watch glass is also a common feature on affordable watches. For example, Casio, Orient, and Victorinox all produce quartz watches with sapphire crystal for around 110 USD. Fans of mechanical watches will find pieces from Tissot, Laco, and Citizen beginning around 330 USD.

Most modern watches worth 1,100 USD or more will come with sapphire crystal. You'll find some exceptions among historically accurate re-releases, such as the Sinn 103 St pilot's chronograph with acrylic glass. This model sells for roughly 1,800 USD new and 1,600 USD pre-owned.


Watches Made of Solid Sapphire

Companies like Hublot, Richard Mille, MB&F, and Cabestan take the concept of a sapphire crystal watch to the next level. Each offers timepieces with cases made of solid sapphire crystal. Most of these models lack a traditional dial, offering an unobstructed view of the heavily skeletonized movement within.

Hublot has the widest variety of sapphire crystal watches. This Swiss luxury watch manufacturer crafts several Big Bang editions out of blue, green, yellow, purple, or clear sapphire crystal. Plan to spend between 43,000 and 80,000 USD on the Big Bang Unico Sapphire chronograph. There's also the Big Bang Tourbillon Power Reserve 5 Days Sapphire in blue or purple. This watch is limited to a run of 30 pieces and requires an investment of over 177,000 USD.

For something even more exclusive, you should turn to Richard Mille. Mille's RM 56-01 tourbillon watch boasts a sapphire crystal base plate for its movement in addition to its solid sapphire case. As a result, the gears, springs, and axles all appear to be floating in midair. Only five copies exist of this timepiece, which sells for an astronomical 2.2 million USD.


What are sapphire and sapphire crystal?

Sapphire is an especially hard mineral, with a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This places it just behind diamond and moissanite. The world's largest natural sapphire deposits are found in Sri Lanka, India, Australia, Nigeria, Madagascar, and the USA. While blue sapphires are perhaps the most famous, sapphires can come in any color but red.

However, the sapphire crystal used in watches is synthetic. It's created by melting aluminum oxide powder at 3,722°F (2,050°C) and forming it into a pear-shaped crystal between 1.1 and 1.6 inches (3 and 4 cm) wide. This material is then cut, sanded, and polished using a diamond angle grinder. The final watch glass receives a special anti-reflective coating, usually in the form of a blue-tinged film applied to the crystal. Older watches tend to only have this coating on the crystal's inner side since previous coating methods were highly susceptible to scratches. However, this is no longer a problem in modern watchmaking, and most sapphire crystal watch glass has this coating on both sides.

The main advantage of sapphire crystal is its scratch resistance. However, its hardness also makes it susceptible to hard impacts. Unlike plastic-based watch glass, sapphire crystal watch glass is known to splinter. Furthermore, soft materials like aluminum can leave behind unattractive streaks on the crystal. Luckily, you can easily remove these streaks using a normal pencil eraser.

If you're not sure whether or not your watch has sapphire crystal, there's an easy way to find out: Put a drop of water on the crystal and lift the case at a slight angle. The water will move relatively slowly across sapphire crystal and leave no streaks behind.