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My watch crystal has broken, can it be replaced?

Posted 1 February 2023 by Miriam Reading time approximately 3 minutes

In most cases you can have a damaged watch glass replaced. In this article we tell you all about the different types of damage and how the glass can be repaired.


Is your watch crystal damaged?

Accidents happen; Doing odd jobs around the house and you accidentally bump your watch against a protruding beam, resulting in a big crack in the glass. Fortunately, in most cases it is possible to have the crystal replaced or repaired.

The main task of the watch crystal is to protect the dial and movement.We advise you to not wait too long before repairing a damaged crystal, because dirt and moisture can get into your precious watch.


If your watch is a quartz or an automatic watch with a second hand, immediately pull out the crown to stop the hands. This prevents small shards of glass from permanently damaging the hands and internal mechanisms of the watch.

Automatic skeleton watch
▴ Automatic skeleton watch
Quartz ladies chronograph
▴ Quartz ladies chronograph


The first thing a watchmaker does when you bring the watch in for repair is to inspect the damage and determine  what can be done about it:


The watch crystal fogs up

When condensation forms on the inside of the glass, it means that there is moisture in your watch. This may be caused by damage to the glass, wear to the sealing gaskets or if the watch has been submerged in water with the crown pulled out. In this case, the watchmaker must open the watch and inspect it completely before drying, repairing and replacing any gaskets. 

Fogged up watch crystal
▴ Fogged up crystal
Scratched watch crystal
▴ Scratched watch crystal
Cracked watch crystal
▴ Cracked watch crystal


The watch crystal is scratched

Shallow scratches are easy to polish off if the watch crystal is made of acrylic (plexiglass). This type of glass is mainly found in older diving watches and Swatch watches. You can easily polish a scratched plexiglass yourself with Polywatch paste and a soft cloth. If the scratches are deeper, a watchmaker can machine polish the glass.


Deeper scratches are more difficult to polish and may not be completely removed. In that case, we advise you to take your watch to a watchmaker who can replace the crystal.

Polish with Polywatch
▴ Polish with Polywatch
Machine polish
▴ Machine polish


You can sometimes fill small scratches in mineral glass with a special filler. We sell special sets for this.

Watch glass made of mineral crystal or sapphire crystal cannot or can hardly be polished. We therefore recommend that you always replace a severely scratched mineral or sapphire crystal.


The watch crystal is broken or cracked

Unfortunately, a broken or cracked crystal cannot be repaired. A watchmaker can replace it.



Replacing a watch crystal yourself

We do not recommend replacing a broken watch crystal yourself. Due to the impact or minuscule glass splinters, other damage to the watch may have occurred. A watchmaker has the knowledge and special equipment to remove the damaged glass and to identify and repair any additional damage.

Our watchmaker checks the watch
▴ Our watchmaker checks the watch


Having a watch crystal repaired

For most watches that are not older than 10 years, it is possible to order a replacement crystal from the manufacturer. For older watches or watches for which the manufacturer no longer has a replacement available, the watchmaker can order a standard crystal of the same size.


How much does it cost to replace a watch crystal?

The cost of replacing a watch crystal depends on two things; the type of glass and how it is anchored in the case. Plexiglass and flat mineral crystals are generally cheaper and sapphire, convex and coated crystals are somewhat more expensive. 

It is also advisable to take into account that replacing a watch crystal is usually not covered by the warranty, unless the damage is the result of a production error. Consult your watch's warranty card for the conditions.

Warranty booklets
▴ Warranty booklets
Replacement watch crystal
▴ Replacement watch crystal


A new watch crystal or a new watch?

It is of course possible that your watch is irreparably damaged or that the costs for repair prove to be too high in relation to the value of the watch. Then you can of course shop for a brand new watch at! We sell watches of all well-known brands and in all price ranges. You can also contact us for a new watch strap and various materials for the maintenance of your watch