Mineral, Hardlex, Sapphire... What crystal to choose?
Seiko's Choice: Hardlex Crystal
Hardlex crystal is a hardened type of mineral glass that Seiko has developed and used predominantly in its timepieces. It combines the best of both worlds, being more scratch-resistant than ordinary mineral crystal and more shatter-resistant than sapphire. It's also relatively inexpensive, compared to "higher-end" alternatives like sapphire crystal. This sturdiness, coupled with its lower price, makes Hardlex an ideal choice for watches that need to withstand significant wear and tear, such as Seiko's diver's watches. Hardlex is a fantastic crystal in its own right, and will serve many watch wearers for many years with zero issues.
Mineral Crystal: The Affordable Option
Mineral crystal is probably the most common type of watch crystal. Though it doesn't rank high on the Mohs hardness scale (around 5), its very inexpensive to produce, and replace. These properties make mineral crystal a popular choice for affordable watches. A notable example is the Timex Expedition Scout, which delivers remarkable durability and value despite its budget-friendly price point. Most G-Shocks also come fitted with a mineral crystal. If it's good enough for G-Shock, it's good enough for anybody.
Sapphire Crystal: The Premium Contender
Sapphire crystal is synthetically produced, and is undoubtedly the apex of watch crystals in terms of scratch resistance. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, it stands at a solid 9, second only to diamond. This means that, under normal circumstances, only a diamond or another sapphire can scratch it.
Moreover, sapphire crystal is often furnished with an anti-reflective (AR) coating, which helps in reducing glare and enhancing visibility. Examples of high-end watches featuring sapphire crystals include the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Speedmaster, both of which are renowned for both their robustness, as well as their luxury status.
Let's Talk $$$
It's no surprise that sapphire crystals, given their superior properties, come with a heftier price tag than Hardlex and mineral crystals. The laborious and complex process of shaping and polishing sapphire crystal, combined with its superior qualities, elevates the cost of the watches that employ it. Here at namokimods, our sapphire crystals are one of our best-selling categories. On top of its physical properties that make it an objectively superior choice of crystal, aesthetically it also helps elevate your watch to the next level.
The Question: Is Sapphire Worth the Upgrade?
The decision to upgrade from Hardlex to sapphire crystal largely depends on personal preference and the intended use of the watch. For rough-and-tumble activities, the impact resistance of Hardlex might be more beneficial. On the other hand, if your daily activities run the risk of scratching your watch rather than subjecting it to heavy impacts, the scratch resistance of sapphire could prove to be a worthy investment.
In conclusion, sapphire crystals undeniably boast superior scratch resistance and clarity but come with a higher price and lesser shatter resistance. Conversely, Hardlex offers an economical and shatter-resistant alternative. There is no clear-cut victor - it all boils down to individual lifestyle, needs, and budget. Hence, when deciding between Hardlex and sapphire, remember to take these factors into account.