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I own several watches with sapphire. I’m not knocking it, but with the scratch resistance gained I think there’s something lost. It’s kind of silly to describe things that are clear as cold and warm, but that’s sort of the way those two things seem. Sapphire crystals seem pretty much sterile regardless of whether dead flat, boxed, or domed in both appearance and to the touch.



Plastic crystals have a particular clarity to them and an old school look. They feel different to the touch as if they make you want to touch them. Wonderfully domed designs are both possible and reasonably cheap to produce, but even the flatter ones just look better to me. AR coatings are unnecessary and there’s still better clarity and less reflection.



I realize some people freak out at the thought of a crystal scratching, but it’s really nothing at all to worry about. For normal use it takes many years of scratches before legibility or aesthetics are affected and this is usually around the service interval of a mechanical watch anyway. Should it be of any concern between servicings, just a bit of polishing skills will have it looking as new in short order.



 

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I absolutely love acrylic. The feeling of seeing the crystal all cleaned up after an application of polyWatch or two is also quite gratifying. Btw, which model is the Vostok?
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Big fan of acrylic as well. My only issue is when brands like Junghans compromise the utility of the material by applying scratch resistant coating that inevitably scratches and that you can’t polish. WTF?

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Have quite a few, here is a favourite.
DSC_0757.jpg
 
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On certain watches, I'm a big fan of hesalite/plexi/acrylic fan -- it's "warm" and inviting in some weird way.

It definitely looks, feels, and vibes different.

Five of my seven are of the plasti-acry variety, though I certainly appreciate sapphire.
 

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Big fan of acrylic as well. My only issue is when brands like Junghans compromise the utility of the material by applying scratch resistant coating that inevitably scratches and that you can’t polish. WTF?
It's funny that I feel it would be worth upgrading a Junghans to sapphire because of the coating they put on their acrylic crystals. If it were uncoated instead, I think it'd be fine. I was able to easily restore my old Swatch's crystal to looking great with just a napkin and some Brasso.
 

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It goes, in terms of preference:

1. Sapphire
2. Acrylic
3. Mineral / Hardlex

Mineral will almost always be a deal breaker for me. The watch would have to be something fantastic with no other option for me to even consider mineral.
 
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My 1964 IWC. No problems or hesitation about the plastic.
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Count me in for plastic. If I bought a Speedy it would be plastic.

I replaced the plastic crystal on my Sub for $25.

Do I like sapphire? Sure, I like that too on certain watches.

But say what you will, it’s hard to beat the “richness” of plastic, as the OP calls it.


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While acrylic is OK, give me sapphire ever time. I don't want anything - scratches/smudges, in particular - to get between me and the dial
 

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Nothing wrong with plastic crystals. There is a reason the Speedmaster was acrylic for years (and still is), Acrylic is not going to shatter(just crack) and glass shards floating around in the capsule during Apollo missions was No Bueno
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I replaced the plastic crystal on my Sub for $25.
The acrylic crystal in my OP just cost me $300 to replace, but that was for genuine and Rolex isn’t making them anymore. I could have gone with non-gen for a lot cheaper, but this is probably my last chance for gen, so I went that direction.
 

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It's funny that I feel it would be worth upgrading a Junghans to sapphire because of the coating they put on their acrylic crystals. If it were uncoated instead, I think it'd be fine. I was able to easily restore my old Swatch's crystal to looking great with just a napkin and some Brasso.
I believe Junghans now offers sapphire as a factory option. This is a complete about-face for the brand. I contacted them a couple of years back about this and they all but laughed at me - in a very germanic way - for even suggesting they might consider such a pivot.
 
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While acrylic is OK, give me sapphire ever time. I don't want anything - scratches/smudges, in particular - to get between me and the dial
Sapphire smudges a lot easier than acrylic. It also generates a lot more glare. So yes, sapphire presents significant barriers between your eyes and the dial.
 
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