Wristwatches have to be the most splendid wearable commodity. Wearing a shiny, dazzling watch has the power to make you feel confident.
But sadly, scratch marks take away the eccentricity of our watches. And only a proper polish can revive it once again.
Polishing the watch crystal can be both an easy task and a difficult one. And that depends on the crystal’s material and if you’re willing to do some good research.
Some people overdo it and permanently damage their watch, and you don’t want to be that person. So, do you know how to polish a watch crystal exactly?
Read along to find out!
What Is Your Watch Crystal Made Of?
Be it a firefighter watch or a GMT time-telling one; almost all watch crystals are made of either of these three materials, namely – Acrylic, Mineral Glass, and Sapphire. It’s important to be informed of the material; the polishing method is a bit different for each.
Vintage watches have acrylic crystals as the production cost is low for them. The mineral glass crystal isn’t that costly and is used somewhat commonly. It’s a stronger material than acrylic. But the strongest of all crystals would be the expensive sapphire one.
Contacting the manufacturer should help you with it if the material is unknown. Also, make sure if there’s a coating on the crystal because you don’t want to remove it by polishing.
How To Polish A Watch Crystal
There’s a wide collection of polishing techniques invented by watch enthusiasts worldwide. But you don’t have to get all fancy; a basic polishing procedure is more than enough.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the most commonly practiced watch crystal polishing processes.
Let’s get started!
First and foremost, the tools needed for our polishing operation are:
- Polishing Substance-
- For Acrylic- Polywatch, Displex, Brasso, Toothpaste can also be used
- For Mineral Glass- Polishing Rouge
- For Sapphire- Diamond Polish Paste
- Painter’s Tape
- Microfiber Cloth for Polishing
- Polishing Drill or Dremel
- Safety Goggles
Note that buffing tools like Dremel or polishing drills are used in mineral glass and sapphire crystals. And it’s recommended to wear safety goggles during the procedure.
Are the tools ready? Then it’s time to explore the polishing method!
1. Common-use Acrylic Crystals
The acrylic watch crystals are more prone to damage for their composition. But one good thing is – polishing them is the easiest out of all the types of crystals.
Following these simple steps, you can polish your acrylic watch crystal in a few minutes-
Step 1: Take your painter’s tape. Generously cover up the bezel with it to secure it from any harm during the whole process.
Step 2: Sand the watch crystal. These steps can be avoided, but some people prefer going for it. If you’re one of them, make sure you use a lower grit sanding paper before and then level up to a higher grit one. Don’t overdo sanding at all costs!
Step 3: Put a pea-sized portion of the polishing agent you’ve chosen on the crystal.
Step 4: Rub the polishing substance using an ultra-fine microfiber cloth in a circular motion. Fine fabrics need to be strictly used. Acrylic is so susceptible that even regular fabrics can cause scratches.
Step 5: Inspect if the scratches have faded away. If not, rub another minute in the same motion. You can take in some extra polishing agents too!
Step 6: And ultimately, remove the tape and give it one last cleaning- wipe with the microfiber cloth.
2. Mid-use Mineral Glass Crystals
Most people prefer replacing scratched mineral glass rather than repairing it. That’s because getting a new crystal isn’t that costly. However, you have the liberty to choose your way.
Here’s how you do it-
Firstly, Just like the acrylic one, you’ll have to secure the bezel with tape
Secondly, take the Dremel and use it to rub the crystal with a polishing rouge.
And lastly, make sure to change the position you’re holding the crystal several times. This will ensure that every part is getting an equal amount of force.
Be cautious of the amount of rouge you use; too much of it can damage your crystal furthermore.
3. High-end Sapphire Crystals
Polishing a sapphire crystal is time-consuming and requires more effort than the previous two.
Like the steps mentioned above, we’ll use the painter’s tape to cover the bezel first and a polishing tool like the Dremel.
But in the case of rogue, you’ll be using Diamond Paste here.
Make sure to follow these steps to get it all right:
- The amount of the diamond paste needs to be strictly managed. You must start with rubbing exactly 2.5 or 3 microns. Then you’ll finish off by putting 0.5 microns.
- You’d have to rub with more force here, and the friction will create more heat. Overheating the crystal must be avoided.
- Practicing the process on a spare crystal beforehand can help you avoid any mistakes while using the Dremel.
And that’s it! Replacing a sapphire watch crystal can be very expensive. Whereas polishing it should cost a few ten bucks. You’ve to work on it till you get your desired result patiently.
The Best Method To Ensure A Long-Lasting Life For Your Watch
Scratches on the crystal aren’t the only problem you’d face with watches. There’s dysfunctional hands, setting of oil, etc.
One effective way to prevent all these is using a Watch Winder. They mostly help keep the watch mounted and active, but also can keep the crystal clean and protected.
Here’s our recommendation of two watch winders that’ll protect your crystals effectively:
An affordable single-type winder that comes with a sophisticated, sleek design. Nominated as one of the best watch winders of 2021, it’ll attract you with its wide range of available colors.
As for material, engineered wood is used to make it delivers an extra shine. It can be powered by both batteries or by AC. The motor is manufactured in Japan and its very efficient in noise control.
It might not be as luxurious as others, but you can’t miss out on its extremely glossy smooth surface. If you own an automatic watch or want something that takes little space, Barrington Single Winder would be a perfect choice.
This double-type watch winder is renowned for its modern design and settings. Each of the two wonders can be controlled individually, depending on their specific needs. The design is surely praiseworthy.
The materials used to make it are brushed aluminum and carbon fiber which provides extra resistance against corrosion.
Its power sources include AC/DC adapters or batteries. Plus, the device also comes with a Timed Mode and LED indicator light.
You’ll find two glass panels located on the top lid. The interior is complemented with gorgeous blackish grey-colored velvet.
The most trusted polisher for acrylic watch crystals is PolyWatch. You could also try a specialized acrylic polisher called VuPlex, which requires less labor to polish.
Unfortunately, yes. Polishing might be able to remove the scratches but it has its disadvantages as well. Frequently polishing the crystal can even result in changing its shape. Hence, watch experts suggest replacing the crystal with polishing it often.
Mineral glass is structurally strong. It ranks 5 on the MOHS scale of hardness, while sapphire ranks 9. You could say the mineral glass is the strongest affordable material you can get.
You’ll find a thousand different methods of polishing if you search how to polish a watch crystal on the internet. But as we mentioned, going overboard will only harm your watch.
Make sure you’re informed of the crystal material and are using products in the correct amount – and that’ll be it!