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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One thing I can never really understand is the huge fuss sometimes made over Seiko using Hardlex instead of Sapphire in many of their models.

What is so great about Sapphire? What is so terrible about Hardlex? From reading various posts I believe Hardlex is almost as scratch resistant as Sapphire but does not shatter under heavy impact whereas Sapphire will shatter. Bearing in mind we’re often talking divers and other tool watches, it seems to me Hardlex is actually the better option.

I have a few watches with Sapphire crystals and I never get a warm, fuzzy glow knowing that I’m looking through a piece of Sapphire. It’s just a transparent thing covering the dial, same as Hardlex.

So why all the fuss?
 

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I prefer sapphire due to its scratch resistance. That is the type of damage I would be most likely to sustain. As I understand it, Hardlex is less scratch resistant but more resistant to cracking/breaking. I've yet to come close to cracking a watch crystal, but have certainly come close to scratching many.
 

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I think we've just been spoiled (that and the rapidly rising prices of watches rapidly increases expectations) by the introduction of sapphire to watch crystals, which is a fairly recent thing. Sapphire is just more scratch resistant than mineral glass, which in turn is more scratch resistant than hesalite/acrylic that was so prevalent in watches before.

Judging by the fervor with which folks around these parts judge case swirlies and scratches, it's little wonder why folks go all crazy about scratch resistant sapphire - one less thing to worry about. Plus it *is* more expensive, so watches that use it give the impression (to WIS-es at least) to be of higher value
 

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All I will say is that pretty much every watch I have had that has a mineral crystal, including Seiko "Hardlex", eventually gets at least one noticeable scratch in a relatively short period of time and not a single watch I own with a sapphire crystal (20+) has had a crystal shatter or crack or been damaged in any other way, even with some pretty hard impacts.

I will not buy a watch with a glass crystal unless there is an aftermarket sapphire available to swap. I don't always swap them right a away, but I always do once a scratch appears on the glass. All 5 of my Seikos that came with Hardlex are now sporting sapphire.

It really is a make or break deal for me, which is why I'm so happy to see Seiko finally moving more into the sapphire direction.
 

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We know that sapphire is more scratch resistant than Hardlex. But what isn't clear at all is whether Hardlex crystals are frequently scratched in real world conditions. I believe they are not.
I could be wrong, but it's been my experience that "Hardlex" is no more durable than most mineral crystals. I have eventually scratched every one I have owned.
 

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Seiko auto's. Monster, Turtle, 5 Sports. Steeldive auto. G Shock. Edifice. Protrek. Casio.
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From my experience, Hardlex does seem to be more scratch resistant than the mineral crystals on other watches i've had. I don't have a single scratch on any of my Seiko's, but there's quite a few scratches on my Orient Mako.
 

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It’s horses for courses. I like sapphire because I can just strap a watch on and totally forget about the crystal whereas one of my Hardlex faced watches won a small scratch on the crystal after not much wear. Someone who dives a lot may have a radically different opinion though.
 

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It’s horses for courses. I like sapphire because I can just strap a watch on and totally forget about the crystal whereas one of my Hardlex faced watches won a small scratch on the crystal after not much wear. Someone who dives a lot may have a radically different opinion though.
Your last sentence is a very good point that I often overlook. Since many of the watches discussed here are "Diver's" watches, maybe I should clarify that I swim and snorkel a lot with my diver watches, but I don't actually dive. Real world divers may have a completely different set of needs from their watches than I do.
 

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After three years of daily wear, my 009 has its first faint hairline mark on the dial. Considering I don't baby it, that's very good in my books. I previously wore a dress Premier with Sapphire and while the bezel and rest of the watch is covered with scratches and marks and dents, the crystal is flawless.
As a teen I wore a Citizen digital and the mineral crystal on it is destroyed.

From my first hand experience in scratch resistance:

Sapphire > Hardlex > > > Mineral Crystal

I have never shattered a crystal before so I have no data to report.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So far I’ve not managed to scratch any of my Hardlex crystals. I’m fairly careful with my watches but there has been the occasional accidental slamming of a watch against a wall and no crystal damage sustained.
 

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Shattering a sapphire is such a rare occurrence that I just can't buy that as a 'disadvantage'. Even with the dive watch argument - if you crack a mineral crystal underwater, the watch is compromised anyway and water will still probably enter it. And the same impact that cracks a hardlex probably won't do anything to a sapphire. Sapphire is simply superior.
 

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Ive seen sapphire crystal chips...vulnerable if you have raised sapphire with edge exposed...the edges can chip more easily than the flat face...

At the sub $500 price point...im okay with non sapphire if the watch otherwise is showing me value for price..

If i dont like a watch at its buy price...i just move on...lots of watch options to choose from...

Whereas i dont like scratches on case..bracelet etc...i get over it ...

The only way not to mark a watch is to not wear it....
 

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We know that sapphire is more scratch resistant than Hardlex. But what isn't clear at all is whether Hardlex crystals are frequently scratched in real world conditions. I believe they are not.
I’ve scratched every one I’ve owned in short order except for the MM300 due to its recessed crystal from rather minor things. No more Hardlex for me. Upwards of 15 Hardlex watches including 3 Tunas. All scratched in 3 months or less.
 

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I prefer a sapphire if given the option since I would rather have less or no scratches on my crystals. However if hardlex is how SEIKO keeps the costs down and is able to continue making great watches, then there isn’t much I can do unless I want to install an aftermarket sapphire crystal.

I keep telling myself that when the crystal gets bad enough then I will switch it to a sapphire maybe. It’s just bothersome looking at the same scratch on my Orange Monster after all these years and hoping that each ding will not result in another one.
In the end I do find hardlex more scratch resistant than plain mineral glass. The scratches don’t seem to bother my other family members though.

So yes I would prefer sapphire if given a choice, but the price of those watches might also increase which could make those particular watches less attractive as a deal to me. The exceptions seem to be the SARB lines. The SARB033, SARB035 and SARB017 all had sapphire and I feel more secure when wearing those that I won’t mark up the crystal, but then again those aren’t exactly what I would use as a tool watch so they are less likely to get scratched up perhaps. Who knows exactly how SEIKO makes their decisions.
 

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That’s where I think I’ve gotten lucky with Seiko. Watches like the SARB series are my preferred look. They are a steal for what’s offered for the price.
 

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Hardex will eventually become cloudy with age. In my case it's likely due to polishing the crystal with a t shirt. Acrylic crystals are even more susceptible to pitting and small scratches. Without a doubt sapphire is more resistant to wear, it's a fact. I have, on several occasions managed to crack or break sapphire crystals, also managed to break an acrylic one, while I've not broken a hardex it's only due to good fortune - and the fact i wear hardex watches less that other types of crystals.

I don't baby ANY of the watches I wear. Not my intention to wilfully damage one, it's my lack of attention. Live an active life and stuff gets beat up. All that can be said is hardex is more prone to damage than sapphire, My opinion.
 
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