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Mineral vs Sapphire Crystal: Revealing the Differences

Talking about mineral vs sapphire crystal is debating about durability and cost that each of them is boasting of.
Feb 24, 2024

The choice of crystal material for the watch face is a crucial decision that significantly impacts the timepiece's overall durability, aesthetics, and performance. Among others, the debate of mineral vs sapphire crystal remains an exciting competition. 

Watch crystal serves as the clear protective layer for the watch face, available in diverse shapes and sizes. Numerous crystal designs exist, tailored to the specific watch and its manufacturers – and two popular contenders in this field are mineral crystal and sapphire crystal.

It’s also worth noting that manufacturers also consider the costs they need for the crystal that, in turn, leads to the price of the watch. Therefore, different watch crystals can have significant differences in value and price. 

Which one works best for a timepiece? This article will help you decide and find one that suits your needs the most. Read on to learn more about the best watch crystal for your timepiece.

What Is Mineral Crystal? 

Mineral crystal is a type of transparent protective material commonly used to make watch faces. Composed of hardened glass that incorporates various minerals, this crystal is designed to enhance a timepiece's durability and scratch resistance. 

Mineral crystals are favored for their affordability and ability to withstand everyday wear and tear. While not as scratch-resistant as sapphire crystal, they provide a cost-effective solution for watch enthusiasts seeking a balance between durability and budget considerations.

So, how do you differentiate a timepiece with a mineral crystal from the one with a sapphire crystal? Differentiating between a sapphire crystal and a mineral crystal can be done through various methods. 

A straightforward approach involves a tactile examination. While both crystals feel cool to the touch, the sapphire crystal tends to be cooler than its mineral counterpart. Although this method may seem subtle, it proves effective for some individuals in distinguishing between the two.

What Is Sapphire Crystal?

Sapphire crystal is a high-quality and durable material commonly used as a transparent protective cover for watch faces. Contrary to its name, sapphire crystal is not a natural gemstone but a synthetic one, crafted from crystallized aluminum oxide in a controlled environment. 

That process results in an exceptionally hard material and scratch-resistant, surpassed only by diamonds in terms of hardness. Widely favored in the watchmaking industry for its superior properties, sapphire crystal offers outstanding clarity, providing a clear and distortion-free view of the watch dial

The hardness of sapphire crystal makes it highly resistant to scratches, ensuring the watch face maintains its pristine appearance over time. Additionally, sapphire crystal exhibits excellent transparency, allowing for optimal light transmission and enhancing the overall aesthetics of the timepiece.

While sapphire crystal is a top choice for luxury and high-end watches, it is important to note that its hardness also makes it more brittle than some other materials. As a result, sapphire crystals may be prone to cracking or shattering upon a strong impact. 

Nevertheless, its remarkable scratch resistance and optical clarity contribute to its popularity among watch enthusiasts seeking durability and a refined look for their timepieces.

Read also: Hesalite vs. Sapphire: Comparing Crystal of Omega Moonwatch

Mineral vs Sapphire Crystal: Which One to Choose?

Selecting the right crystal for your watch, between mineral and sapphire crystal, can significantly impact its durability and overall aesthetic appeal. Let's explore the characteristics of each to help you make an informed decision.

Pros and Cons of Mineral Crystal

Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of the mineral crystal:




Watches with mineral crystals are generally more budget-friendly compared to those with sapphire crystals.

Scratch Prone

Despite offering decent scratch resistance, mineral crystals are more susceptible to scratches over time.

Decent Scratch Resistance

While not as scratch-resistant as sapphire, mineral crystals provide reasonable protection against everyday wear and tear.

Less Clarity

Mineral crystals may not be as transparent as sapphire, affecting the overall clarity of the watch face.

Impact Resistance

Mineral crystals are less prone to shattering upon impact compared to sapphire crystals.

Pros and Cons of Sapphire Crystal

Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of the sapphire crystal:



Exceptional Hardness

Sapphire crystals are one of the hardest materials in watchmaking, offering superior scratch resistance.


Watches with sapphire crystals are often more expensive due to the higher manufacturing costs and superior material properties.

Crystal Clarity 

Sapphire provides excellent transparency, ensuring a clear and distortion-free view of the watch dial.


While extremely hard, sapphire crystals are more brittle and may crack or shatter upon a strong impact.

Chemical Resistance

Resistant to chemical corrosion, sapphire crystals remain unaffected by common household chemicals.

Choosing the best-fitted watch crystal for you (mineral vs sapphire crystal) boils down to personal preferences, budget constraints, and the intended use of the watch. Below are some tips to consider when choosing between the two.

  • Budget consideration: If budget is a primary concern, mineral crystals provide a cost-effective solution.
  • Durability priority: For those prioritizing scratch resistance and durability, especially in luxury watches, sapphire crystal is the preferred choice.
  • Balancing act: Consider your lifestyle and how likely the watch is to encounter impacts or scratches. A balance between budget and desired features may guide your decision.

Final Thought

Now that you know the comparison of mineral vs sapphire crystal, you can make a well-informed decision based on your priorities and preferences. 

If affordability and acceptable scratch resistance are your key considerations, mineral crystal might be the practical choice. On the other hand, if you value superior scratch resistance, crystal clarity, and are willing to invest in a higher-end timepiece, sapphire crystal stands out as the optimal option. 

Ultimately, the choice between these two crystals is a personal one, and finding the right balance between functionality, aesthetics, and budget will lead you to the ideal watch for your wrist.

Read also: 5 Affordable Watches with Durable Sapphire Crystals

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