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The watch crystal is the transparent plastic or glass part of the watch that guards the dial against dirt and other types of damage while being worn and enables you to tell the time without x-ray vision. Over time, the crystal of your watch may get damaged, fractured, or shattered, necessitating its replacement.
Instead of discarding your beloved watch when the crystal becomes shattered, this tutorial will teach you how to replace it. In this article, you will learn How to replace a watch crystal glass with any type of watch crystal with practically any kind of watch.
Some of these guides may need you to remove the entire watch mechanism from the case to replace the crystal securely, while others may necessitate the use of high heat or adhesives.
If you have any doubts about any step of the process, you should pause and take your watch to a competent watchmaker to prevent irreparably ruining it.
How to replace a watch crystal – Step by Step Guide
We will be utilizing the following tools during this guide…
- Headset magnifier
- Blower à main
- Millimetre Indicator
- A back press of Crystal/Case
- Mallet Made of Rubber or Rawhide
Check Warranty of Watch
Verify the validity of your warranty. Certain watch manufacturers and retailers provide free crystal replacement for a limited or indefinite time.
For example, Tourneau, one of the top watch retailers in the world, provides an extended warranty protection package.
Replacement Crystal of the Right Size
To begin, wipe off your bench or tabletop. It’s recommended to use a watch pad, but a thick towel will suffice if you don’t have one. Suppose the watchband is leather and can be split apart.
Remove a pin or screw from the band if it is metal or a “closed-loop” band to allow you to open it up and have access to the rear of the watch.
We have a closed-loop band in this example, and I remove a pin from the buckle to provide unrestricted access to the inside of the watch.
Remove the old crystal
Make sure the jaws of the crystal lift are broader than the watch crystal. Place the crystal lift on top of the crystal and tighten the jars until they grasp the crystal’s side.
Try to raise the crystal by holding the watch casing. If the crystal lift is challenging to grow, tighten it a little more.
Read more: How to Open a Bulova Watch Back
Make sure the inside of the bezel is clean
This is the ideal opportunity to clean the interior of the bezel so that the new crystal fits perfectly.
Dust and grime accumulate between the crystal and the bezel over time. To clean it, use a gentle brush and a hand pump. Make sure you don’t scratch the dial or the hands.
Measure the inside of the bezel
Measure the inside of the watch bezel with the Vernier caliper (make sure not to damage the dial). Because the regular acrylic crystals are kept in by tension, they must be somewhat more significant than the inside of the bezel. Add 0.2 mm to the measurement after rounding it to the nearest even number.
Let’s pretend you’re 29.76 mm tall. This is rounded to 29.8 mm, and then 0.2 mm is added. You’ll need a crystal with a value of 30.0. I always get a size up just in case. This may be useful, especially if the beginning dimensions are in the middle of two sizes.
Use the crystal base
Loosen the crystal base screw to open the sliding metal plates. Close the plates with the new crystal in between, but not too firmly. Screw the crystal down to secure it in place.
Open the jaws of the crystal lift and position them over the crystal, resting on the metal plates. Slowly tighten the crystal lift until it starts to keep the crystal in place.
Examine your grip from every angle to see if it’s even. Because the crystal must be crushed to fit inside the bezel, tighten the crystal lift a bit more.
Fit the new crystal
While maintaining the crystal above the watch, lower the crystal lift. The crystal should fall into the bezel with a bit of wiggle or spin.
If the crystal does not drop into the bezel, tighten the crystal lift even further.
Apply gentle downward pressure to unscrew the crystal lift slowly. Inside the bezel, the glass will expand and secure itself.
Put the new crystal to the test. If the crystal has too much slack, you should go up a size if everything checks out; congratulations on a well-done job!
If you are watch is not severely damaged
If the glass on your watch is not seriously scratched, we may be able to offer you a quick fix repair in which we may remove the scratches without having to replace the face entirely. Polishing the watch glass often eliminates superficial scratches.
We utilize a specialized diamond paste, a mix of chemicals, and high-quality buffing equipment to remove a minimal quantity of glass and accompanying scuff.
While this procedure does not need as much labor as producing and replacing the glass, it does require the ability and knowledge to repair it effectively.
If not done correctly, the watch’s face may become uneven, and excessive pressure from buffing equipment may leave the glass’s surface more damaged and scuffed than before.
Additionally, extra caution should be exercised if the watch face, in particular, features a magnification cyclops bubble above the date display.
Some Additional Tips
Consider how much you paid for your watch and how much it will cost to replace the crystal, get it fixed, or buy a new watch. Consider purchasing a new watch if your current watch isn’t an antique, was passed down from a relative, or is excessively valuable.
Polish the crystal. All of Swatch’s watch crystals, for example, are laser sealed. Several retailers provide polishing services because the crystal on a Swatch cannot be removed. Many jewelry stores that sell timepieces have a buffer on hand or send the watch out for repair.
Important note about crystal watch glass replacement
Only the manufacturer, skilled horologist, or watch repair technician can change some crystals mechanically.
Please read the warranty before heading to the store where you bought your watch to ensure it includes crystal replacement. Always keep your timepiece’s instructions and schematics, especially the warranty information.
Do you have any other suggestions for replacing a crystal? Please let me know in the comments section below.