One misconception about purchasing a sapphire crystal watch is that it has to be expensive to be quality. No matter your budget, we rounded up the 15 best sapphire crystal watches, ranging from around $240 to $60,000.
It includes a classic dress watch, a rugged diver’s watch, and a dress watch with a sporty edge. Countries vary from Japan, Germany, and Switzerland. One has traveled to the end of the Earth, and another has walked across the moon. But, these well-engineered and stylish watches all have one thing in common: a sapphire crystal.
Around $1,200.00. The Seiko Prospex SPB143 is a modern interpretation of the 62MAS and is part of the “1965 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation” series. The 40.5mm curved stainless steel case and solid case back are applied with Seiko’s DiaShield to protect them from most dings and scratches.
The vintage-style sapphire crystal protects a black dial with conventional hands that are half-brushed and half-polished. The hands, applied markers, and coin edge bezel have Lumibrite for legibility. Seikos’ 6R35 automatic movement powers the watch. It beats at 21,600 vph and has a 70-hour power reserve.
The stainless steel strap includes short, drilled lugs, which makes it quick and easy to attach straps. It also has Seiko’s DiaShield for extra protection. It has 200m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watches under $300
Around $240. The 40mm stainless steel case features polished and brushed finishes on the bezel and other case components. Additionally, it has a screwed-on stainless steel case back. It has a sunburst emerald green dial, long sword-shaped hands, and yellow gold hour markings. The hour and minute hands each have bevels that greatly enhance the dial’s contrast.
The dial’s edge is grey/white and has a lighter green tone. At three o’clock, a push-pull crown and a day-and-date window with a black background. This watch has a solar-powered Seiko internal caliber V158 Solar Quartz, with a frequency of 32,768 Hz and a 10-hour power reserve. A brown embossed leather strap and tang buckle complete a clean look. It has 100m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watches under $500
Seiko Presage SARY055
Around $280. A conventional dress watch, the Seiko Presage SARY055 has a flat anti-reflective sapphire crystal that protects the dial in a 41mm case. The display case back is protected by a Hardlex crystal and displays the internal Seiko automatic movement 4R36A. It operates at 21,600 vph and has a 40-hour power reserve.
The two-step sloping chapter ring on the metallic white dial features blue minutes and sub-minutes markings. It also has sizable blue dauphin hands and polished hour markings adorn the dial. Lastly, the date and day wheels can display Kanji or English.
Three positions exist on the push-in and pull-out crown. The first position manually winds the watch; the second position changes the day and date complications, and the third position changes the time. The bracelet links have solid end links with a pin and collar to bind them together. It has 100m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watches under $1,000
Around $1,050. Seiko’s and Japan’s first dive watch was released in 1965, upgraded to 300m, and had a 10-beat automatic movement in 1968. Seiko’s Prospex collection commemorates the famed dive watch’s 50th anniversary with a modern interpretation of the 1968 design. In many ways, the rugged Prospex SPB077’s design continues to pay tribute to the original.
It has similar six, nine, and twelve-hour markers that feature squared arrows with large circles in front of them. However, its 44mm stainless steel case is thinner and coated with Seiko’s Dia shield that minimizes scratches. Its tooth-edged, rounded, and unidirectional black bezel is narrower and slimmer.
Additionally, there are silver highlights rather than gold. It also features redesigned LumiBrite hour markers, matte black finished hands, and a Prospex logo. It houses the automatic 6R15 caliber with 21,600 vibrations per hour and a 50-hour power reserve.
It sports a three-link steel Dia-Shield bracelet with a 2mm taper from lug to clasp. The main link has flat brushed top surfaces with flat polished bevels, but the side links have conventional rounded edges. It has 200m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watch under $1,500
Around $1,150. Honoring Seiko’s 140th anniversary, Japanese sunrises inspired the Presage SPB 2015’s design. It sports an angular 39.3mm black case with a design reminiscent of Seiko’s signature “Grammar of Design” from the 1960s. Only 4,000 units are available.
The intricately rich texture of the graduated dial incorporates features of a motif known as asanoha, or “hemp leaf.” Traditionally used for fabrics, this geometric pattern with textured surface shimmers in the light. Since the Heian period (794-1185 AD), it has been a part of Japanese culture, which brought good health and prosperity, especially to the young.
The hands and stick markers have been painted with Lumibrite for legibility and accented with gold. A date aperture can be viewed at 3 o’clock. It has an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and its transparent case back shows Seiko’s caliber 6R35 automatic movement. It beats at 21,600 vph with a 70-hour power reserve. It has wide lugs and a “super-hard black coating” finish on the bracelet. It has 100m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watch under $4,000
Around $3,100. The zaratsu polished 44.3mm case includes a monobloc dial (no physically detachable case back). The mirror blade polished by Grand Seiko, the ‘zaratsu’ method, requires three years of training before a watchmaker can polish cases in this manner.
A “Big Wave” emblem and lettering are engraved on the case back. It also has engraving for the reference number, serial number, water resistance, etc. An anti-reflective sapphire glass protects the deep blue sunburst dial. The hands have been painted with Lumibrite for legibility and have a beautiful brushed appearance. Logos, markers, and the central second hand have a gold accent.
The unidirectional rotating bezel also features a luminous triangle and a 5, 10, 15, and 20-minute indicator. Seiko’s Diashield technology protects the bracelet’s polished and brushed metal components against scratches and dings. It also comes with a unique black rubber strap. The self-winding 8L35B caliber beats at 28,880 vph, has 50 hours of power reserve, and comes with 26 jewels. It has 300m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watch under $6,000
Around $5,700. The 41mm stainless steel case houses a dome anti-reflective sapphire crystal and an exhibition case back that displays the in-house Co-Axial 8800 Calibre. The case’s slab sides have a coarse-grain, horizontally brushed finish. The tops of the lyre lugs are polished with a circular brush, and the organic curves frame the case.
Most of the crown is polished and is attached to the case side in a slight recess. The white dial has a “teak” patterned dial with raised indices and horizontal stripes. It has Super-LumiNova coated hands, indices, and a date window. The Co-Axial 8800 Calibre is a “master chronometer” certified timepiece with a power reserve of 55 hours, anti-magnetic up to 15,000 gausses, and a frequency of 25,200 vph.
This certification is a step beyond the typical COSC rating. It has to pass eight tests, including magnetism resistance at different exposure levels, function accuracy during extreme magnetism, chronometric day-to-day precision, and others. The clasp is a sequential folding dual arc with push-button actuators for release. The underside construction of the rocker’s arms is polished and curved. It has 150m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watch under $10,000
Around $9,900. The 40mm stainless steel and 18kt red gold case has a mixture of brushing on the sides, and the top sides of the lugs and bezel are polished. It also has a signed crown with the double-g logo. The PanoMaticLunar’s case is polished and brushed and holds an anti-reflective sapphire crystal that protects the gradient deep forest green dial.
The white gold hour hands and seconds dial have Super-LumiNova. Two circular displays occupy the left side; the smaller one is the extra second’s register, while the larger one has attached baton markers and lume-filled alpha-shaped hands. The sapphire crystal exhibition case back displays the highly decorated, automatic, in-house-produced caliber 90-02. It beats at 28,880 vph, has 47 jewels, and has a 42-hour power reserve.
A brown nubuck leather strap completes the piece with a pin buckle or folding clasp. Additionally, it comes with a bracelet with a machined clasp, a double-button security release, and micro-adjustments on a tiny ratchet system. The links have a brushed-out polished center link. It has 50m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watch under $15,000
Around $12,000. Omega’s Speedmaster Darkside of the Moon is the first Speedmaster made entirely of ceramic. The arduous process of multiple rounds of intense heating followed by meticulous detailing with diamond-tipped tools results in a 44.25mm casing. Then it’s polished by alumnia granules and a diamond pasted wheel.
A highly domed box-type sapphire crystal with an anti-glare treatment guards the dial and extends above the bezel. A zirconium oxide polished dial is contrasted by Superluminova coated 18k white gold indices, hour, minute, and elapsed chronograph seconds. It also has a color-coordinated date window. A matte chromium nitride-coated and laser-engraved tachymeter scale complements the bezel’s polished finish. On the case side, two pushers operate the vertical column-wheel chronograph.
The sapphire crystal exhibition case displays the Omega Co-Axial caliber 9300. The 54-jewel, distinctive double-barrel chronograph with COSC certification beats at 4 Hz and has a 60-hour power reserve. A technical nylon fabric strap with a polished black buckle, leather backing, and red contrast stitching completes the design. It has 50m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watch under $20,000
Around $16,800. The Omega Olympic Official Timekeeper was designed to commemorate its rich heritage and the Rio 2016 Olympics. Drawing upon a 1932 pocket watch design, it’s a contemporary sports watch with a vintage feel. The 39mm, 18k yellow gold three-body case has gently curved lugs and a flat bezel that are polished and brushed.
Its anti-reflective sapphire crystal covers a lacquered white dial with a vintage red OMEGA symbol, black Arabic numerals, black painted minutes and seconds scale, and blue-steel hands and center sweep. The five iconic rings of the Olympic Games, “Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games,” and the watch’s limited edition number (out of 188) are engraved on the case back.
A limited edition Omega 3203 caliber is housed inside and has a manual-winding chronograph movement with a column wheel mechanism and Co-Axial escapement. It beats at 28,000 vph, has 55 hours of power reserve, and has 33 jewels. It has a brown leather strap, an 18k rose gold tang buckle, and a retro Omega logo. It has 30m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watch under $25,000
Around $24,100. The Breguet Marine 5527TI has a titanium 42.3mm case with straight and sharp lines that contrast with polished and chamfered edges on the pushers and case side. Fluting on the case back and a wave décor surrounds the crown. Anti-reflective sapphire glass protects a blue dial with lume-filled Roman numerals and hands, three ‘raised’ chronographs and a date aperture with a matching color background.
The elegant self-winding Breguet 582QA movement and skeletonized rotor are visible through the sapphire exhibition case. It has an inverted in-line Swiss lever escapement with silicon pallets and balance spring. The 582QA beats at 28,800 vph, has 28 jewels, and 48 hours of power reserve. A titanium bracelet with vertically brushed and polished links complements the watch. It has 100m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watch under $30,000
Around $30,700. The Arnold & Son DSTB (Dial Side True Beat) 43mm stainless steel canonical-shaped case has a polished and narrow bezel and the Arnold & Son logo on the crown. The wide-screen sapphire crystal accentuates the depth of the dials.
Three open-worked bridges support the ‘true beat mechanism’ (also known as ‘deadbeat seconds’) that are black ADLC treated with sizable circular finishing and screws with beveled and mirror-polished heads. It increases the accuracy because it measures time in completed one-second steps instead of fractions determined by the balance frequency. A large sapphire crystal chapter ring and a slender arrowhead display the seconds.
It also has a silvery-white lacquered dial, blue hands, and open-worked tips that rotate around Roman numerals. The lever, wheels, and three palladium-treated bridges are arranged well for a charming display. Explicitly created for DSTB, a self-winding Arnold A&S6003 movement is seen back in the sapphire exhibition case.
It has a NAC grey-treated, diamond-shaped motif and features Haute Horlogerie finished with hand-chamfered and a satin-finished lever and bridges. The A&S6003 has 32 jewels, 45 hours of power reserve, and beats at 28,800 vphs. It is completed by a hand-stitched black or brown alligator leather strap with a folding deployment clasp. It has 30 meters of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watch under $35,000
Around $32,700. Drawing inspiration from the souscription pocket watch, the Breguet Tradition 7097BR blends original elements with a modern design. A 40mm 18k rose gold case and anti-reflective sapphire crystal display an open-worked skeleton that reveals bridges, wheels, escapement, barrel, and other parts. The silvered gold hobnail guilloche patterned dial has Breguet steel, polished blue minute and hour hands, and roman numerals.
Lastly, it has an arched scale with a blue retrograde seconds hand. Similar to the souscription pocket watch, a mainspring barrel is found at the center of the movement and has a starfish-like five-armed design for the train wheels. Breguet also implemented the spare-shock anti-shock system. A unique serial number can be found on the dial and case back.
The exhibition sapphire case back displays the inverted souscription movement, the 505 SR1 caliber, which uses a silicon balance spring with a free-sprung adjustable mass balance. It has 38 jewels, a 50-hour power reserve, and beats at 21,600 vph. Breguet’s signature straight lugs are welded onto the case and use screw pins to securely hold the alligator bracelet straps. It has 30m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watch under $50,000
Around $46,000. The polished and cushion-shaped 41mm stainless steel three-body case with a highly domed sapphire crystal. It has polished scalloped lugs, signature steel winding ball-shaped crown, and a stepped bezel. The satin-brushed navy blue dial has faceted 18k white gold drop-shaped hour markers, Assegai-shaped arrow hands, and indices.
It also has a recessed blue guilloche auxiliary dial with subtle sky-blue markers and an 18k white gold baton-shaped seconds hand. The exhibition sapphire case back displays the FBN229.01 automatic caliber with a double direct-impulse escapement and a small oscillating weight that offers pawl-equipped, unidirectional winding.
Wheel spokes are beveled, screw hands are chamfered and polished, and it has a lubrication-free silicon escapement. It has 35 jewels, beats at 21,600 vph, and 72- hours of power reserve. The timepiece is complete with a blue alligator leather strap with Alcantra lining, matching stitching, and stainless steel tang buckle. It has 30m of water resistance.
Sapphire crystal watch under $60,000
Around $60,000. The watch features a polished and brushed 18k white gold 42mm case, concave sides on the lugs, a slight domed bezel, and a crown adorned with an ‘M.’ It has a minimalist gradient dial that displays only the essentials.
The midnight fume dial has a sunburst pattern with leaf-shaped hands, indices at 6 and 12 o’clock, a perpetual calendar, a power reserve indicator, running seconds sub-dial. Engraved on the curved case back is the piece’s limited edition number out of 50.
The exhibition case back displays the HMC 800 manual-winding Perpetual Calendar movement, interchangeable Moser escapement, and original Straumann Hairspring with stabilized Breguet over-coil. It beats at 18,000 vph, has 168 hours of power reserve, and has 32 jewels. The black alligator leather strap has a pin buckle, and a red leather lining completes the design. It has 30m of water resistance.
What is Sapphire Crystal?
History of sapphire crystal
In the 1930s, they served as dial guards. By utilizing it on reference 5100 in 1970, Rolex set the standard for other luxury companies. The brand also developed a unique green sapphire as part of its ongoing innovation. During World War I & II, acrylic glass was manufactured for submarines, gun turrets, and other structures.
Is sapphire glass good for a watch?
Watch design, legibility, and aesthetics significantly affect the crystal’s structure. Domed and flat shapes are the most typical shapes for sapphire crystals. A flat crystal is easier to read underwater, while a domed crystal may cause a dial to go blank at specific angles.
“Box-shaped” crystals are raised a few millimeters above the bezel, protruding the edges. These are often seen in vintage watches and use acrylic crystals. This design can be visually appealing and bestow a retro feel to modern watches.
Dive watches can be affected by a crystal’s shape. Domed crystals cause the dial to go blank, while flat crystals are easier to read underwater. Another issue is that surfaces with flat interiors and domed exteriors might distort vision. For a clear view of a dial, “double-domed” crystals have curved surfaces on the outside and inside.
Is sapphire glass real sapphire?
This ultra-hard crystal is a superior scratch-resistant glass-like material created in a laboratory at high temperatures. Heat causes it to turn into a pulp, cut into pieces with diamond-coated saws. The watch glasses are then polished and cut.
What’s the benefit of sapphire crystal?
Of the three most used crystals (acrylic and mineral), it is the most costly, hardest, and legible. The majority of other horology companies add an anti-reflective coating to improve visibility.
Does sapphire watch glass scratch?
It isn’t easy to scratch, but once it is, polishing becomes challenging. A few extreme situations also will cause one to break. It is more prone to cracking or fracturing than acrylic. Sapphire scores 9 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.
- The best dial for preventing scratches.
- Out of the three, it has the best clarity, especially with anti-reflective.
- Diamonds and moissanite only surpass its hardness.
- The most costly option.
- Less shatterproof than mineral and acrylic dials