Do Seikos Scratch Easily? Make Your Watch More Scratch-Resistant
If there's one thing watch enthusiasts can agree on, it's that Seiko watches are an undeniable powerhouse in the horological world. Their models range from the sleek, reliable daily drivers to the stylish, coveted high-end pieces. However, just like any other watch, they aren't immune to the wear and tear of daily use.
Do Seiko watches scratch easily? Not exactly. If you use it with care and make sure to not bump it on doors or countertops, your watch will be in tiptop finish for years to come. That said, there are unavoidable situations that do produce scratches on watches of any brand. A buttoned sleeve will create micro scratches that will become noticeable in time, and resting your hand on rough surfaces can cause abrasions on your watch case.
The thing is, once the scratches have already appeared, there’s not really much you can do aside from accepting them as part of your watch’s history. Truth be told, a few hairlines and maybe the occasional ding can add character to a timepiece, especially on antique pieces. But if you want it looking brand new and stay that way for a while, there are some upgrades that you can make to achieve this.
What Makes Watches Vulnerable to Scratches?
While Seiko watches are revered for their quality and value, they're not exempt from the fundamental laws of materials science. Hardlex crystal, Seiko's proprietary crystal, is known for its robustness against shattering, but it's not quite as resilient when it comes to scratches. On the other hand, watch cases, typically made from stainless steel, can also fall prey to scrapes and scratches when they come into contact with rough or sharp surfaces.
Source: Watch Obsession
Picture this: you're rushing out the door, you clip your beloved Seiko against the doorframe, and there it is – a dreaded scratch. So, while these materials offer excellent functionality and affordability, they can sometimes leave Seiko watches looking a little worse for wear after some real-world usage. However, with a few strategic upgrades, you can significantly enhance your Seiko's resistance to life's knocks and bumps.
Upgrading From Hardlex to Sapphire Crystal
Introduced by Seiko in the 1960s, Hardlex crystal has been the default glass for many of their watch models for over half a century. Named for its impressive hardness, this mineral crystal glass offers greater impact resistance compared to conventional glass. It's a part of Seiko's commitment to crafting affordable and sturdy timepieces. However, the downside of Hardlex is its susceptibility to scratches, especially when exposed to abrasive materials or rough surfaces.
Contrastingly, you'll find that higher-end Seiko models such as those in the Grand Seiko and Prospex Marinemaster collections boast Sapphire crystals instead of Hardlex. The reason is simple: Sapphire is virtually scratch-proof, a clear step above Hardlex in terms of scratch resistance.
Source: The Watch Company
Sapphire crystal is, in fact, synthetic sapphire, which inherits all the hardness of its natural counterpart, coming second only to diamond on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. It's an incredibly robust material, extremely resistant to scratches that could otherwise mar your watch face.
When it comes to transparency, both Hardlex and Sapphire offer excellent clarity, but Sapphire takes the lead with its higher refractive index, granting it more brilliance and the ability to withstand clouding over time. Furthermore, a Sapphire crystal typically features an anti-reflective coating, enhancing legibility under different lighting conditions.
Upgrading your Seiko watch with a Sapphire crystal means you're opting for enhanced durability and scratch resistance, maintaining the watch's aesthetic appeal for a much longer time.
Choosing the Right Case for Scratch Resistance
The watch case - the housing of all the intricate parts that make your watch tick - is constantly exposed to the environment. And in the course of everyday use, it's frequently subject to potential scratches and scuffs. Particularly susceptible are watches with polished finishes, which, while exuding a certain elegance and charm, are notorious for showing scratches more prominently than their matte or brushed counterparts.
That's not to say you should shy away from polished finishes entirely. If you're sporting a dress watch or a classic diver, a polished finish can complement the overall aesthetic beautifully. However, bear in mind that the shiny allure might come with the cost of visible signs of wear over time.
On the other hand, tool or field watches typically favor brushed finishes. These finishes are inherently more forgiving when it comes to scratches, thanks to the texture and the diffused reflection they offer. The pattern of tiny brush strokes camouflages minor scratches, making them less noticeable than they would be on a polished surface. That’s why you should consider getting a watch (or building one) with a brushed case if the watch is to be used as a daily beater.
And remember, other watch parts like the bezel and bracelet are also available in brushed finish so you can give your watch a uniform look.
Now, if you're pursuing the most resilience possible, consider upgrading to a grade 5 titanium case. Renowned for its scratch and corrosion resistance, grade 5 titanium is not just stronger than steel, but also lighter. And the real magic lies in its self-healing properties. When scratched, titanium can naturally oxidize and "heal" over time, masking the scratch marks. Opting for a grade 5 titanium case signifies a commitment to both strength and longevity in your watch-modding journey.
Proper Watch Storage
Even when it’s not getting a lot of wrist time, your watch still deserves utmost care. Proper storage is a significant aspect of watch maintenance that's often overlooked. You'd be surprised how a simple change in storage habits can prevent unsightly scratches and ensure your Seiko watch remains in top-notch condition.
Let's be real, we know our watch modfam are more likely to walk on hot coals than toss their beloved timepieces without a care. If you've ever been guilty of stowing away your watch just about anywhere – in a drawer with other tools, or worse, together with your other watches, here's a friendly Public Service Announcement: stop!
For safekeeping, invest in a good watch box or case with a soft, plush interior to protect your watch. A simple cushioned watch box can make a world of difference in preventing unnecessary scratches and keeping your watch dust-free. If your collection is expanding, consider a watch case that accommodates multiple timepieces, each with its own compartment.
Scratches are an inevitable part of any watch's life journey, but they needn't define your watch's story. Through careful selection of materials, like sapphire crystals and grade 5 titanium cases, and mindful attention to care practices, your Seiko watch can withstand the rigors of daily life while maintaining its aesthetic appeal.
In our shop, you'll find everything you need to upgrade your watch for enhanced durability and scratch resistance. We have different sapphire crystal designs to help make your watch more scratch-resistant while also giving it a subtle upgrade. We also have plenty of watch mod parts with brushed finishes to choose from that you can use as a base for your daily beater watch build. If you’re looking for Grade 5 Titanium cases for the ultimate dive watch, take a look here.