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Bulgari 102097 New Steel 26mm Quartz United States of America, California, Burlingame
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Bulgari Tubogas Quartz Black Dial Ladies Watch - 102097
$2,999
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Professional dealer
4752
US
H.Moser & Cie. Venturer H. Moser & Cie Venturer 2100-0202 New White gold 41.5mm Manual winding
TOP
H.Moser & Cie. Venturer 2100-0202
$19,804
Free shipping
Professional dealer
94
RU
Cartier Ronde Jour et Nuit New White gold 42mm Manual winding United States of America, Florida, Plantation
TOP
Cartier Ronde Jour et Nuit
$18,995
Professional dealer
81
US
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 231.10.30.60.56.001 New Steel 30mm Quartz United States of America, California, San Mateo
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Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Quartz 30 mm Quartz Grey Dial...
$3,909
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4752
US
Rolex Daytona 116508 New Yellow gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
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Rolex 2021 Daytona Yellow Gold Green Dial NEW John Mayer 116508
$86,495
Professional dealer
640
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 26470ST.OO.A101CR.01 Very good Steel 42mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Hollywood
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Audemars Piguet AP Royal Oak Offshore 42 Chronograph Vampire...
$25,500
Professional dealer
33
US
Panerai PAM36501 Very good Rose gold 50mm Automatic United States of America, California, La Jolla
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Panerai Luminor Turbillon Equation Of Time
$238,190
Free shipping
Professional dealer
33
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26315ST.OO.1256ST.02 New Steel 38mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26315ST
$42,600
Free shipping
Professional dealer
469
US
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe 5054-1110-B52A New Steel 43mm Automatic United States of America, Arizona, Mesa
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Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantieme Complete...
$11,250
Professional dealer
13
US
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26315ST.OO.1256ST.02 Unworn Steel 38mm Automatic United States of America, Illinois, Chicago
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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26315ST Unworn 2021
$47,999
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Professional dealer
33
US
Rolex Day-Date 40 228206 New Platinum 40mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
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Rolex 2021 Day Date 40 Meteorite Baguette Platinum Box/Papers/...
$94,999
Free shipping
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212
US
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 79030B-0002 Very good Steel Automatic United States of America, Pennsylvania, York
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Tudor Black Bay 58 Navy Blue (79030B)
$3,699
Professional dealer
5
US
Patek Philippe Calatrava 3998P Very good Platinum 34mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
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Patek Philippe 3998P Calatrava Watch
$27,500
Professional dealer
16
US
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326238 New Yellow gold 42mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
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Rolex 2021 Sky-Dweller Yellow Gold OysterFlex NEW White Dial...
$44,975
Professional dealer
640
US
Rolex Day-Date 36 118235 Very good Rose gold Automatic United States of America, Florida, Hollywood
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Rolex Day Date Presidential 118235 18k Rose Gold Oyster Rose...
$29,900
Professional dealer
33
US
Panerai Luminor Submersible PAM 00799 Very good Carbon 47mm Automatic United States of America, California, La Jolla
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Panerai Submersible Luminor Bmg-tech
$13,290
Free shipping
Professional dealer
33
US
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea 126660 New Steel 44mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
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Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea New 2021 "James Cameron" Black/Blue...
$18,350
Free shipping
Professional dealer
469
US
Franck Muller Vanguard V 45 CC DT TT BR NR Very good Titanium 45mm Automatic United States of America, Arizona, Mesa
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Franck Muller V 45 CC DT TT BR NR Vanguard Chronograph...
$7,250
Professional dealer
13
US
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk 140.029 Very good White gold 41mm Manual winding United States of America, Pennsylvania, Bala Cynwyd
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A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk 140.029
$64,950
Free shipping
Professional dealer
1659
US
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
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Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi Jubilee New Style Card/Box/Papers...
$23,249
Free shipping
Professional dealer
212
US
Rolex Submariner Date 116610LN Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, California, Pasadena
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Rolex Super-Clean 2015 Submariner Date, Box and Card, 116610LN
$13,850
Professional dealer
92
US
Breitling Superocean Heritage II 46 AB2020121B1S1 New Steel 46mm Automatic United States of America, Kentucky, Lexington
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Breitling Superocean Héritage II 46 Black on Rubber (2021)
$3,299
Free shipping
Professional dealer
143
US
Rolex Daytona 116515ln Very good Rose gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
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Rolex Everose Gold Daytona Black / Pink Dial OysterFlex 116515LN
$46,495
Professional dealer
640
US
Rolex Milgauss 116400GV Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Hollywood
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Rolex Milgauss 116400 V Green Crystal Black Dial Stainless...
$10,995
Professional dealer
33
US
Cartier Drive de Cartier WSNM0017 Very good Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, California, La Jolla
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Cartier Drive De Cartier
$6,990
Free shipping
Professional dealer
33
US
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 114300 New Steel 39mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
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Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39mm Rhodium Dial 114300 New 2020
$8,950
Free shipping
Professional dealer
469
US
Rolex Lady-Datejust 278240 Unworn Steel 31mm Automatic United States of America, California, Newport Beach, CA
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Rolex Datejust Ladies 31mm Midsize Diamond MOP Dial & Diamond...
$9,695
Free shipping
Professional dealer
76
US
Rolex Day-Date II 218238 Very good 41mm Automatic United States of America, Texas, Austin
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Rolex : Day-Date II President : 218238 : 18k Gold : champagne...
$47,695
Professional dealer
826
US
Rolex Day-Date 40 228398TBR New Yellow gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
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Rolex 2021 Day Date 40 Black Baguette Diamond Bezel Box/Papers...
$79,999
Free shipping
Professional dealer
212
US
Rolex Datejust 126300 Very good Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, California, Pasadena
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Rolex 2021 41mm Datejust, Rolex warranty valid until 2026
$9,650
Professional dealer
92
US
Rolex Explorer II 226570 Unworn Steel 42mm Automatic United States of America, Illinois, Chicago
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Rolex Explorer II 42mm White Dial 226750 Unworn 2021
$14,549
Free shipping
Professional dealer
33
US
Rolex Lady-Datejust 278273 New Gold/Steel 31mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Orlando
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Rolex 2021 Ladies Datejust 31 Two Tone Dark Grey Diamond Dial...
$14,995
Professional dealer
640
US
Patek Philippe Calatrava 5153R-001 New Rose gold 38mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Hollywood
TOP
Patek Philippe 5153r Calatrava Automatic 5153R-001 38mm 18k...
$29,500
Professional dealer
33
US
Panerai Radiomir Black Seal 3 Days Automatic PAM00505 Very good Automatic United States of America, California, La Jolla
TOP
Panerai Radiomir Composite Black Seal 3 Days
$6,990
Free shipping
Professional dealer
33
US

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.