Different kinds of watch materials and glass characteristics

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Explanation of watch materials and glass characteristics

Different watch materials and watch glasses are used. We would like to give you a good impression of the differences on this page. Other watch characteristics like water resistance and movements can be found on our other pages.



So on this page we would like to address:

  • Different kinds of watch materials
  • Different kinds of watch glasses
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Different kinds of watch materials

Watches are primarily made out of four sorts of materials namely, ceramic, titanium, stainless steel and steel, metal or alloys. Stainless steel is used in a large amount of watch cases. More information regarding each material can be found below.

Ceramic watch

Ceramic is a material that is neither a metal nor a polymer (source: wikipedia). It is know for its hardness and for having a high yield strength. A ceramic watch is very scratch and heat resistant. The material does however succumb quite quickly when it is teared. That is why ceramic is often combined with a tougher material, like stainless steel.

The best characteristics of both materials are combined in a ceramic watch. The hardness of the ceramic can be compared to the scratch resistant sapphire. The watch does however increase in price when ceramic is used.

Titanium watch

Titanium is three times stronger than steel and almost twice as light. It naturally has a light grey color. The material is used in a lot of jewelry because its strength and comfort. It also is very resistant to corrosion, so sweat, salt, water and acids are not a problem for titanium watches and jewelry. Another great advantage of titanium is that in 99% of the cases doesn’t react to the wearers skin, because it is hypo-allergenic.

For making titanium jewelry you need special equipment. The regular equipment used for making jewelry out of steel is not strong enough to create titanium jewelry. This explains why titanium watches and jewelry are more expensive. Are you looking for one? Have a look at our titanium watches.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is a type of steel that is very resistant to rust. It is not easily affected by moisture or sweat. Skin irritation is also not that common with stainless steel. Therefore it is used in a lot of jewelry. Stainless steel had varying standards of quality. This depends on the purity of the stainless steel. The upmarket watch brands use 316L stainless steel. This ensures high quality watches. Watches made from stainless steel offer high quality for an affordable price.



PVD is a process, not a material. It stands for ‘’Physical Vapor Deposition’’ and it is an efficient way to strengthen stainless steel and other materials. The coating is often indicated with IPG, for watches with a gold color, IPS, a silver color ad IPB, a black color. The advantage of the coating is that the watch does not change color during the test of time. Prisma Watches applies this technology to improve the quality and the comfortability. Very expensive watch brands frequently use CVD or DLC coatings.

Steel watch

Steel, metal or brass, stands for an alloy (in the world of watches). It is made out of different materials including iron. Watches that are made out of steel are significantly cheaper, but also of considerable less quality. The material is less resistant to corrosion. Gold and rose gold cases are known to change color after the test of time.


When silver or gold is mentioned, people often refer to the color, not the material.

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Different watch glasses

The same that goes for case materials also goes for watch glasses. There are different materials with different properties. One is harder than the other, but also significantly more expensive. Working with watch glasses is a profession on its own that requires a lot of expertise. This is due to the influence the watch glass has on the design. It is an important part of your watch and also determines some key characteristics.

One this page we will take up the most common watch glasses available. It can simply be divided into; sapphire glass, crystal, mineral, normal and plastic glass.

Sapphire glass

Sapphire glass is the best, clearest and most durable piece of glass there is. It’s incredibly tough and therefore extremely resistant to scratches, even when used intensively. The same hardness that makes the crystal so durable, also makes it very hard to work with and extremely difficult to polish the crystal to perfection. Sapphire glass is ten times as hard as mineral glass. Therefore we have many sapphire glass watches. We use it for our luxury and work watches.

Crystal glass

Crystal glass is three times as strong as regular glass. This makes it pretty scratch resistant, but not nearly as much as sapphire glass.

Mineral glass

Mineral glass is the most used piece of watch glass in the industry. It is stronger than plastic glass, but not scratch resistant. By coating the mineral glass it can be hardened, making it twice as strong. In this condition it is also called hardened mineral glass. The advantage of mineral glass is  that a scratch can be easily polished out.

Regular glass

Regular glass is not very suited for watches. This because it scratches quite easily. If you wear your watch on a regular basis, this means your watch glass would be scratched up in a few months.

Plastic watch

Plastic glass is the softest and most sensitive material of all mentioned above. It is very sensitive to scratches. It does not break or crack easily, but its low resistance to scratches prohibits its use in watch glasses.

Have you learned more about watch materials and watch glasses? You can also discover more about the water resistance of a watch, different movements, of these tips about a quality, affordable watch.

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