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Rolex Lady-Datejust 69174 Very good Steel 26mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Lady-Datejust 69174 Purple Diamond Dial Diamond Bezel...
C$8,295
Professional dealer
110
US
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 5015-12B40-O52A New Titanium 45mm Automatic
TOP
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 45mm Titanium Open Caseback
C$15,188
Professional dealer
 
US
Rolex Day-Date II 218398 Very good Yellow gold 41mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Day-Date II Yellow Gold Factory Diamond Bezel Baguette...
C$145,867
Free shipping
Professional dealer
370
US
Bremont Supermarine S300/BK/BR New Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Bremont Supermarine S300/BK/BR Men's Automatic Black Dial...
C$5,624
Professional dealer
711
US
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Quartz WAZ1010.BA0842 New Steel 43mm Quartz Canada, Val-David
TOP
TAG Heuer Formula 1
C$1,299
Professional dealer
83
CA
Jacob & Co. Five Time Zone JC-13D Good Steel 47mm Quartz
Jacob & Co. FIVE TIME Fivetimezone Diamond Bezel
C$5,629
Professional dealer
45
US
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5396G-011 Unworn White gold 38mm Automatic
TOP
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar
C$52,438
Professional dealer
128
CH
A. Lange & Söhne 1815 233.026 Very good White gold 40mm Manual winding
TOP
A. Lange & Söhne 1815 White Gold 40MM Silver Dial [Argenté]...
C$34,824
Professional dealer
644
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept 26630OR.GG.D326CR.01 New Rose gold 38.5mm Manual winding
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Frosted Gold Flying Tourbill...
C$228,726
Free shipping
Professional dealer
28
HK
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe 5054-1110-B52A New Steel 43mm Automatic
TOP
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantieme Complete...
C$14,731
Professional dealer
14
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26315ST.OO.1256ST.02 Unworn Steel 38mm Automatic
TOP
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26315ST Unworn 2021
C$62,850
Professional dealer
33
US
Breguet Type XX - XXI - XXII 3800 Very good Steel 39mm Automatic
TOP
Breguet Type Xx Aeronavale Black Dial Chronograph Flyback...
C$6,933
Professional dealer
77
US
Rolex Daytona 116500LN Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex : Cosmograph Daytona Chronograph: 116500LN : Stainless...
C$49,751
Professional dealer
827
US
Alpina Alpiner AL-860X5AQ6 Unworn Steel 44mm Automatic Canada, Val-David
TOP
Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronograph
C$2,699
Professional dealer
83
CA
Ernst Benz VAL7750 Very good Steel 47mm Automatic
Ernst Benz VAL7750 Chronojewel Double Diamond
C$8,510
Professional dealer
45
US
Breitling Superocean Heritage II 46 AB2020121B1S1 New Steel 46mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Superocean Héritage II 46 Black on Rubber (2021)
C$4,320
Professional dealer
148
US
Girard Perregaux Ferrari 8020 18K Gold Automatic Very good Yellow gold 37,5mm Automatic
TOP
Girard Perregaux Ferrari 18K Gold Gelbgold Chronograph ref. 8020
C$8,131
Professional dealer
714
DE
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 4947/1A-001 New Steel 38mm Automatic
TOP
Patek Philippe Complications Steel Case Blue Dial (New Full Set)
C$79,045
Free shipping
Professional dealer
28
HK
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 232.30.42.21.01.003 New Steel 42mm Automatic
TOP
Omega Seamaster Ocean Planet Automatic 232.30.42.21.01.003
C$7,042
Professional dealer
122
JP
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A Very good Steel 40mm Automatic Canada, Delta
TOP
Patek Philippe 5711/1A Nautilus, Blue Dial, AAA, 2008 Geneva Seal
C$156,802
Private Seller
 
CA
Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M 2264.50.00 Very good Steel 41mm Quartz
TOP
Omega Seamaster 300m
C$3,136
Professional dealer
77
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 26470OR.OO.A125CR.01 Very good Rose gold 42mm Automatic
TOP
Audemars Piguet : Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph : 26470OR.OO....
C$62,459
Professional dealer
827
US
Rolex Cellini 5241 Unworn Platinum 38mm Manual winding
TOP
Rolex Cellini NOS Platinum 5241
C$15,217
Free shipping
Professional dealer
814
UK
TAG Heuer Link Calibre 5 WBC2110.BA0603 Very good Steel 41mm Automatic
TAG Heuer Link Calibre 5
C$2,618
Professional dealer
45
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO Very good Steel 40mm Automatic
Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi Automatik Herrenuhr Oyster Perpetual...
C$29,741
Sold by Chrono24
DE
Corum Coin Watch Double Eagle 20 US Dollar Very good Yellow gold 35mm Quartz
TOP
Corum Twenty Dollar Coin Watch 20$ US Quarz Herrenuhr Münzuhr
C$9,975
Professional dealer
714
DE
Hublot Big Bang Unico 416.YT.1120.VR New Carbon 45mm Automatic
TOP
Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf (New Full Set)
C$37,000
Free shipping
Professional dealer
28
HK
Rolex Daytona 116518 Unworn Yellow gold 40mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex UNWORN Daytona — Tahitian Pearl Dial — Box and Papers —...
C$63,506
Professional dealer
92
US
Breitling Superocean Heritage II 46 AB2020121B1A1 New Steel 46mm Automatic
TOP
Breitling Superocean Héritage II 46 Black on Mesh (2021)
C$4,517
Professional dealer
148
US
Rolex Lady-Datejust 69158 Very good Yellow gold 26mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex Lady-Datejust
C$16,492
Professional dealer
77
US
Rolex Day-Date II 218238 Very good 41mm Automatic
TOP
Rolex : Day-Date II President : 218238 : 18k Gold : champagne...
C$62,452
Professional dealer
827
US
Cartier F6486402 Good Yellow gold 40mm Automatic
TOP
Cartier 1980s Ferrari Edition of only 50 pieces Worldwide only...
C$46,103
Professional dealer
228
DE
Chopard Happy Sport 278475-3016 Good Steel 36mm Quartz
Chopard Happy Sport 5 Diamond
C$4,576
Professional dealer
45
US
Rolex Day-Date Oysterquartz 19018N Very good Yellow gold 36mm Quartz
Rolex Day-Date Oysterquartz 18K (0,750) Gold Herrenuhr Ref....
C$21,933
Sold by Chrono24
DE

Sapphire Crystal Watches: Highly Scratch-Resistant

Watch glass made of sapphire crystal began dominating the industry in the 1980s. This material is especially hard and, therefore, scratch-resistant. What's more, sapphire glass lets in plenty of light, thus improving the watch's readability.


4 Reasons to Buy a Watch with Sapphire Crystal

  • Sapphire is especially scratch-resistant
  • Lets in plenty of light
  • Something for every budget
  • Coveted collector's item: Classic vintage Rolex and Omega watches

Almost as Tough as Diamond

Most modern luxury watch manufacturers include sapphire crystal watch glass as a standard feature of their timepieces. The reason is clear: Sapphire is the world's third hardest mineral, behind only diamond and moissanite. As a result, it is extremely scratch-resistant. Moreover, it lets in more light than quartz, mineral, or acrylic glass, making it even easier to tell the time.

While sapphire is a naturally occurring mineral, the sapphire crystal used in watch glass is a synthetic material. Some people even refer to this colorless crystal as "sapphire glass" because it is so transparent.

The watch industry began churning out large numbers of watches with sapphire crystal in the 1980s. Before then, mineral or acrylic glass was the material of choice. Today, many manufacturers also use sapphire crystal for their case backs. There are even a handful of companies producing entire cases out of this clear material.


How much do watches with sapphire crystal cost?

Model Reference number Price (approx.)
Hublot Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire 411.JL.4809.RT 63,500 USD
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique 5015 1130 52A 11,000 USD
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date 1530 9,400 USD
Breitling Navitimer A23322 4,700 USD
Oris Divers Sixty-Dive 01 733 7720 4055-07 5 21 02 1,600 USD
Mido Ocean Star Captain V M026.430.47.061.00 1,000 USD
Laco Augsburg 42 861688 380 USD
Casio Collection BEM-111D-1AVEF 70 USD

Vintage Classics with Sapphire Crystal

Since sapphire crystal wasn't a common watch feature until the early 1980s, there are very few vintage watches with this material. However, there are a few notable models. Rolex was one of the first companies to recognize sapphire's potential and use it in series production. The Rolex Date ref. 1530 and its successor, the Datejust ref. 1630, were among the first timepieces to utilize this scratch-resistant watch glass. Both watches emerged in the early 1970s and are extremely rare today. A stainless steel ref. 1530 costs around 9,300 USD, while the two-tone Datejust ref. 1630 demands about 5,400 USD.

The Submariner ref. 16800 from the late 70s was Rolex's first sports watch to feature sapphire crystal. Like all Submariners, the 16800 is a highly coveted collector's item. However, at only 9,200 USD, it is relatively affordable compared to other Submariner models.

Omega began experimenting with sapphire crystal all the way back in 1932. This resulted in watches like the Omega Marine ref. CK 679, which sells for as little as 2,600 USD today. However, Omega wouldn't use sapphire glass for timepieces in series production until the late 1970s, starting with the Seamaster 120 ref. ST 166.0250. This diving watch is water-resistant to 120 m (12 bar, 394 ft) and changes hands for roughly 3,900 USD in good condition.

There are no vintage examples of the fan-favorite Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch with sapphire crystal. In fact, Omega outfitted this timepiece exclusively with synthetic Hesalite glass until the turn of the millennium. The reason is that this watch was part of NASA's official equipment and the space agency insisted on Hesalite since it doesn't splinter upon impact. However, Omega did introduce a few models with sapphire glass case backs in the 1980s, including the limited edition Apollo XI ref. BA345.0802. You can call this watch your own for some 33,500 USD.


Retro Watches with Sapphire Crystal

Since vintage models with sapphire crystal are so rare, modern takes on classic vintage timepieces make great alternatives. For example, Breitling has been crafting their iconic Navitimer pilot's watch with sapphire crystal since the late 1990s. Depending on the model and its condition, Navitimer prices range from 2,200 to 39,000 USD.

Storied Swiss watch manufacturer Blancpain has been equipping their classic Fifty Fathoms diving watch with sapphire crystal for years. New editions of the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda and Fifty Fathoms Automatique even feature a sapphire crystal bezel inlay in addition to their sapphire crystal watch glass and case backs. These attractive timepieces change hands for about 11,000 USD.

TAG Heuer also has a long history with sapphire crystal in their Carrera and Monaco collections. This material appears on their Heritage models, such as the Monaco Calibre 11, as well as their classic Carrera Calibre 1887. The latter gets its name from the in-house caliber 1887. You can purchase a mint-condition Monaco Calibre 11 with the blue "Steve McQueen design" for around 4,300 USD. Pre-owned pieces tend to cost a few hundred dollars less. If you prefer the Carrera Calibre 1887, be sure to have between 2,600 and 3,500 USD on hand.


Affordable Sapphire Glass Watches

Sapphire crystal watch glass is also a common feature on affordable watches. For example, Casio, Orient, and Victorinox all produce quartz watches with sapphire crystal for around 110 USD. Fans of mechanical watches will find pieces from Tissot, Laco, and Citizen beginning around 330 USD.

Most modern watches worth 1,100 USD or more will come with sapphire crystal. You'll find some exceptions among historically accurate re-releases, such as the Sinn 103 St pilot's chronograph with acrylic glass. This model sells for roughly 1,800 USD new and 1,600 USD pre-owned.


Watches Made of Solid Sapphire

Companies like Hublot, Richard Mille, MB&F, and Cabestan take the concept of a sapphire crystal watch to the next level. Each offers timepieces with cases made of solid sapphire crystal. Most of these models lack a traditional dial, offering an unobstructed view of the heavily skeletonized movement within.

Hublot has the widest variety of sapphire crystal watches. This Swiss luxury watch manufacturer crafts several Big Bang editions out of blue, green, yellow, purple, or clear sapphire crystal. Plan to spend between 43,000 and 80,000 USD on the Big Bang Unico Sapphire chronograph. There's also the Big Bang Tourbillon Power Reserve 5 Days Sapphire in blue or purple. This watch is limited to a run of 30 pieces and requires an investment of over 177,000 USD.

For something even more exclusive, you should turn to Richard Mille. Mille's RM 56-01 tourbillon watch boasts a sapphire crystal base plate for its movement in addition to its solid sapphire case. As a result, the gears, springs, and axles all appear to be floating in midair. Only five copies exist of this timepiece, which sells for an astronomical 2.2 million USD.


What are sapphire and sapphire crystal?

Sapphire is an especially hard mineral, with a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This places it just behind diamond and moissanite. The world's largest natural sapphire deposits are found in Sri Lanka, India, Australia, Nigeria, Madagascar, and the USA. While blue sapphires are perhaps the most famous, sapphires can come in any color but red.

However, the sapphire crystal used in watches is synthetic. It's created by melting aluminum oxide powder at 3,722°F (2,050°C) and forming it into a pear-shaped crystal between 1.1 and 1.6 inches (3 and 4 cm) wide. This material is then cut, sanded, and polished using a diamond angle grinder. The final watch glass receives a special anti-reflective coating, usually in the form of a blue-tinged film applied to the crystal. Older watches tend to only have this coating on the crystal's inner side since previous coating methods were highly susceptible to scratches. However, this is no longer a problem in modern watchmaking, and most sapphire crystal watch glass has this coating on both sides.

The main advantage of sapphire crystal is its scratch resistance. However, its hardness also makes it susceptible to hard impacts. Unlike plastic-based watch glass, sapphire crystal watch glass is known to splinter. Furthermore, soft materials like aluminum can leave behind unattractive streaks on the crystal. Luckily, you can easily remove these streaks using a normal pencil eraser.

If you're not sure whether or not your watch has sapphire crystal, there's an easy way to find out: Put a drop of water on the crystal and lift the case at a slight angle. The water will move relatively slowly across sapphire crystal and leave no streaks behind.