have you ever broken a watch crystal? you know, the glass on the front of the watch that covers the face? It happens a lot. Breaking a watch crystal happens if the watch is dropped, or banged against something too hard.
There are several consideration to make when replacing a watch crystal. In this instance, I’m dealing with one of the simpler examples… A round flat crystal. However, if the crystal is not round or maybe has a convex shape, you may want to bring it to a professional.
As in the video, you’ll have to know whether the watch crystal is held in place with a gasket (a think plastic or nylon ring) that holds it in place, or if it is glued in. In the example above, this crystal is held in place with a nylon gasket.
Tools you should have
- Watchmaker screwdrivers
- crystal Press
- Case back opener
For my recommended tool list, click here.Tools for Watch Repair
Things to be aware of
If the broken crystal has shattered, you are going to have to check the watch movement for little pieces of glass that may eventually, if not already, gotten into the gears and stop the watch from running.
If the nylon gasket it damaged, you will need to replace it. To be honest, in 25 years, it hasn’t happed often, but can. Replacing the gasket is a bit more complicated to order, but, they are available.
You may not need to remove the movement from the watch, but, I recommend it.
Make sure to clean the watch case so that you don’t leave behind any bits of glass, or even dirt and debris that gets into the watch. Also, check for moisture or water damage before you replace the crystal.
Almost all crystals can be ordered in 10ths of a millimeter size, i.e. 25.3, 25.4 or 25.7 mm etc. Have a micrometer handy to measure the crystal, you will need to be precise. If you don’t have enough of the crystal to measure, then you need to measure the inside diameter of the crystal gasket to get the proper size.
When pressing the new crystal into the watch, in this case, a flat crystal, you will have to use either a flat die, or a die that has a hollow center but fits the parameter of the crystal to evenly press it into the nylon gasket.
Pushing the crystal too hard, can and may crack it. Be careful how much pressure you apply, and check the crystal a few times to see if it is seated or needs a bit more of a push.
NOTE* You are more likely to crack a new crystal with a flat die as you are putting pressure in the center of the crystal, and as we all know, glass doesn’t like to bend.
Where to get watch crystals
Watch crystals can be purchased from any parts supplier. Some of the more popular of suppliers are listed below.
To order crystals, you should have the following measurments.
The diameter of a round crystal
The height or thickness of the crystal
If odd shaped, the length and width of the crystal
I would recommend using either Esslinger.com, or Casker.com for purchasing your crystals. However, if you are outside of the United States, you will want to search for watch parts suppliers in your country or region.