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Breguet Marine 5817ST/12/5V8 Very good Steel 39mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Aventura
Breguet Marine
$11,800
+ $35 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.94 (202)
US
Rolex Daytona 116520 Very good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Texas, Houston
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Black Dial 40mm Stainless Steel...
$33,500
+ $50 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.90 (15)
US
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk 140.029 Very good White gold 41.9mm Manual winding United States of America, Georgia, Alpharetta
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk (140.029)
$75,000
Free shipping
Professional dealer
4.97 (283)
US
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-010 Unworn Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-010 Nautilus Blue Dial...
$224,900
Free shipping
Professional dealer
4.95 (376)
US
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 5208R-001 Unworn Rose gold 42mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
Patek Philippe Grand Complications Rose Gold Perpetual...
$1,590,099
Free shipping
Professional dealer
4.94 (272)
US
Rolex Daytona 116500LN New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Totowa
Rolex Daytona 116500LN Black Dial 2021 Partial Stickers
$50,999
+ $79 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.98 (378)
US
Rolex Day-Date 40 228238 Very good Yellow gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, Illinois
Rolex Day-Date 40 Yellow Gold White Roman Dial Complete 2020
$48,788
+ $55 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.96 (18)
US
Patek Philippe 5002P-001 Platinum 42.8mm Automatic United States of America, Massachusetts, Boston
Patek Philippe 5002P Sky Moon Tourbillon 6002 6300G
$2,890,000
+ $29 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.89 (655)
US
Breguet Marine 5837BR/92/5ZU Unworn Rose gold 42mm Manual winding United States of America, Florida, Tavernier
Breguet Marine Tourbillon
$69,990
+ $100 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.87 (22)
US
Panerai Luminor 1950 8 Days GMT PAM 00289 New Rose gold 44mm Manual winding United States of America, Florida, Aventura
Panerai Luminor 1950 8 Days GMT PAM00289
$24,800
+ $35 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.94 (202)
US
Rolex Daytona 116528 Very good Yellow gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, Texas, Houston
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Black M.O.P Dial 18K Yellow Gold w/...
$65,000
+ $50 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.90 (15)
US
Rolex Day-Date 40 228238 New Yellow gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, Georgia, Alpharetta
Rolex Day-Date 40 Yellow Gold Champagne Dial 228238
$51,000
Free shipping
Professional dealer
4.97 (283)
US
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5990/1R-001 New Rose gold 40.5mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Rose Gold Blue 2021
$500,000
Free shipping
Professional dealer
4.95 (376)
US
Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934 Unworn Steel 42mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
Rolex 326934 Sky Dweller Blue Dial Stainless Steel Jubilee...
$35,500
+ $70 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.84 (114)
US
Rolex Submariner Date 116610LV New Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Totowa
Rolex Submariner "Hulk" FULL STICKERS OPEN CARD 116610LV
$51,999
+ $79 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.98 (378)
US
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch 311.92.44.30.01.001 Very good Carbon 44.25mm Manual winding United States of America, Illinois
Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon Apollo 8 - 311.92.44.3...
$9,500
+ $55 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.96 (18)
US
Mb&f M.A.D. 1 New Steel 42mm Automatic United States of America, Massachusetts, Boston
Mb&f MB & F M.A.D Edition MAD 1 UNWORN
$26,900
+ $29 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.89 (655)
US
Rolex Daytona Rolex 116520 Spike Lee Brooklyn Good Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Islamorada
Rolex Daytona Spike Lee Brooklyn
$36,990
+ $100 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.87 (22)
US
Vacheron Constantin Historiques 47300/000J-9065 Very good Yellow gold Automatic United States of America, Florida, Aventura
Vacheron Constantin Historique Toledo 1952
$18,500
+ $35 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.94 (202)
US
Patek Philippe Calatrava 3425 Good Yellow gold 34mm Automatic United States of America, Texas, Houston
Patek Philippe Calatrava 3425 Vintage 18K Yellow Gold Black...
$9,500
+ $75 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.90 (15)
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon Q1368480 or 1368480 New Steel 39mm Automatic United States of America, Georgia, Alpharetta
Jaeger-LeCoultre Ultra Thin Moon Automatic 39mm Master
$10,000
Free shipping
Professional dealer
4.97 (283)
US
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5719/10G-010 New White gold 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
Patek Philippe Nautilus - White Gold Diamonds 5719/10G-010
$633,000
Free shipping
Professional dealer
4.95 (376)
US
Ressence 3B Very good Titanium 44mm Automatic United States of America, Pennsylvania, Bala Cynwyd
Ressence Type 3 Type 3B
$32,950
Free shipping
Professional dealer
4.90 (1,306)
US
Rolex Datejust 41 126300 New Steel 41mm Automatic United States of America, New Jersey, Totowa
Rolex Datejust 41mm 126300 Blue Stick Dial 2021 oyster
$13,999
+ $79 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.98 (378)
US
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph 541.OX.2610.LR Very good Rose gold 42mm Automatic United States of America, Illinois
Hublot Classic Fusion 42mm Rose Gold White Dial Chronograph...
$17,000
+ $55 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.96 (18)
US
Rolex Yacht-Master II 116688 New Yellow gold 44mm Automatic United States of America, California, Los Angeles
Rolex 116688 Yacht-Master II Yellow Gold 44mm White Dial
$53,888
+ $70 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.84 (114)
US
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A-001 Unworn Steel 40mm Automatic United States of America, New York, New York
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Stainless Steel Black Embossed Arabic...
$111,399
Free shipping
Professional dealer
4.94 (272)
US
Hublot King Power 771.CI.1170.RX Very good Ceramic 48mm Automatic United States of America, Florida, Miami
Top
Hublot King Power Unico Gmt
$14,800
+ $35 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.94 (202)
US
Rolex Datejust Oysterquartz 5100 Good Yellow gold 39mm Quartz United States of America, Texas, Houston
Rolex Limited Edition "Texano" Beta 21 Quartz 39mm 5100 w/ Box...
$30,000
+ $125 for shipping
Professional dealer
4.90 (15)
US
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph 405.035 New Platinum 41mm Manual winding United States of America, Georgia, Alpharetta
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down Platinum NEW 2021 Full Set
$105,000
Free shipping
Professional dealer
4.97 (283)
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.