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Invicta's Flame Fusion Crystal & the Water Drop Test

102832 Views 56 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  mystic nerd
I just tried the water drop test on sapphire, mineral, and Invicta's Flame Fusion crystals. When a drop of water hits mineral glass it flattens out and is shallow; when it hits sapphire glass it has more height/depth and therefore a smaller footprint. Flame fusion behaves like mineral glass with the water drop, flattening out exactly the same. The difference between mineral glass and sapphire is quite noticeable with this water drop test.

Is this definitive that flame fusion is no different from regular mineral glass? No, only that it reacts the same way to a water drop. Important to note that Invicta never claims it's a sapphire coating. If it were actually a sapphire coating wouldn't Invicta call it that rather than flame fusion, which sounds like nuclear alchemy? What we need is a scratch test and I have a hunch Invicta is counting on that not being done, but if I have a choice between flame fusion and mineral glass I would take flame fusion because at best it's better than mineral and at worst it's just mineral, but I wouldn't pay more than $5 extra for it :-!.
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Nothing quite like running some real internet scientific tests to draw your solid conclusions.
He never said it was scientific, and he specifically said it wasn't definitive proof of anything. What we know for a fact is that it's not a sapphire crystal, otherwise Invicta would call it that. If you have some "scientific" information to add, please do so. I'm curious as to what these crystals actually are.
What exactly is a hardlex crystal? Seems like a veiled description of maybe something better than mineral but not as good as sapphire. Sound familiar? I happen to believe that flame fusion is better than mineral based on my experience with both, but would I rather have sapphire? Of course
What's "veiled" about it? It's Seiko's brand name for chemically strengthened borosilicate glass. Ikuo Tokanaga discussed the subject on the SCWF years ago:

SCWF Mirror : Explanation about the materials of watch glass (Tokunaga, 2002-11-20, message 1037842045)

Other watch companies have similar products, and it can be found in all sorts of lenses and other optics. Hardened mineral glass is not some sort of revolutionary product, nor does Seiko hype it as such.
Yes, Hardlex is a made up name used for marketing purposes, much like Lumibrite or Super Luminova. I guess it's a matter of opinion whether that is meant to fool the customer. All you can really gather from the name is that it's 'hard', which makes sense as it's mineral glass that has undergone chemical hardening. I don't know of Seiko ever comparing it to anything but untreated mineral crystals, and Tokunaga openly stated long ago that "Sapphire is better than Hardlex":

Seiko & Citizen Forum: I think we'll see it eventually....(also info about sapphire in the 1000M)

The thing about flame fusion is that it's a real process, otherwise known as the Verneuil process, and it's one way that you make synthetic sapphires. If that's what Invicta was doing, the result would be a sapphire crystal, but they don't call it that. After quite a bit of searching, this is all I could find from Invicta explaining what their crystals are. Unless you know of something more, I guess this is what you would consider Invicta openly explaining everything:

Flame Fusion
Invicta has boldly stepped into the fire and re-emerged with yet another technical achievement. Now being featuring in Invicta watches is our latest Trademark for synthetic crystals, Flame Fusion. In a process utilizing high heat, high pressure and an Aluminum Oxide combination, the mineral (glass) and Sapphire properties are fused together. This unique fusion of the two materials results in the impact resistance of a standard mineral crystal and offers the scratch resistance of the Sapphire. Flame Fusion is one more way in which Invicta continues to set new, superior standards, making our timepieces the exception to any rule.

Notice that the are careful not to say that they've patented a new process, rather they've just trademarked the name Flame Fusion. And the actual Verneuil/flame fusion process is not something where "mineral (glass) and Sapphire properties are fused together". What the heck does that even mean? Again, they don't say that actual mineral crystal and sapphire are fused, but that their "properties" are. :-s But the bottom line here is that it's not a sapphire created by the actual flame fusion process, or else they would call it that. It's apparently mineral glass that has undergone heat treatment to give it "the scratch resistance of the sapphire". Like others have said, it sounds like Seiko's Sapphlex once you strip away all the "stepped into the fire" BS (and that product didn't exactly set the watch world on fire). Ultimately we're left to either simply believe Invicta's claim that it's as scratch resistant as sapphire, or rely on anecdotal evidence of people saying it scratched or didn't scratch depending on what surfaces it came into contact with.

I really don't care what Invicta calls these crystals, and I'm quite sure that the average buyer doesn't really care how they're made. I guess if they're really the technical achievement that Invicta claims they are, the rest of the watch world will follow their lead. Or maybe it's just more marketing hype from a company known for hyperbole in their marketing.

It's "veiled" because they are using a nonintuitive trade name to disguise the fact that it is just mineral crystal.

"Unveiled" would be saying "mineral crystal" like everyone else.

How can you possibly argue otherwise? It's a textbook example of "veiling" in marketing.

No, Seiko doesn't hype it as being something else. But they don't explain what it is, either. The leave it "veiled" in mystery, leaving the consumer to guess. At least Invicta openly explains and informs the consumer as to what it is (add your favorite anecdote about mislabeling or misspeaking of tv salesman here).

You are right in your observation that everyone does this, and not just with watches, with all products.
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