Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Sapphire Crystals on the Rise
A sapphire crystal probably one of my favorite features you can put on a watch. It's just nice to have and one of the things I look for when I am considering buying a watch. Why? Because sapphire is the 3rd hardest mineral on the planet and make the crystal virtually scratchproof. This is a pretty big deal in the long term of owning watches. I mean if you collect watches, chances are you are going to have them for quite some time. And if you are like me you probably wear them a good bit. (I don't baby my watches. If I put a watch on, I wear it.) In doing so, I put a good bit of wear on my watches and anyone who has had either a plastic or glass crystals can tell you, they will get scratched up over time. Sapphire crystals won't.
So, why doesn't everyone use sapphire crystals in all their watches? The cost. Sapphire crystals are expensive (at least comparatively to glass and plastic) so you don't see them in most of the lower end brands. High end brands will feature sapphire crystals in almost every model (brands like Tag, Rolex, Omega, etc...). Low end brands like to use plastic to keep the cost down and the brands that take up the large portion of the middle area usually have a mix of crystals depending on the price or the watch.
Fortunately, sapphire crystals are on the rise these days. More and more companies are offering sapphire crystals on more of their watch collections. Take Citizen for example. Citizen is a great watch brand with a mix of sapphire and glass crystals depending on the price and model watch. Entry level watches are usually glass and the flagship watches are starting to be offered in sapphire. This is a new move for Citizen and frankly a welcome one. I love Citizen watches. I think the quality for the price is one of the best at any price. The Eco-Drive technology is fantastic too. I have been watching Citizen add more and more sapphire crystal watches over the years and I think it's the right move. I mean, some of these Citizen watches are so nice and so well made that they deserve to have sapphire crystals.
A few years ago Citizen had almost no models in their line up with sapphire crystals but today you can find them sprinkled throughout. Take the Firenza Collection for example. This is a new series of watches from Citizen. 5 years ago, this collection would never have been offered with a sapphire crystal. In fact, the Firenza collection is actually a remake of an older series of watches. It was offered around 10 years ago and they were offered with glass crystals. This new collection is a reboot of the series with all the benefits of Citizen's new outlook. The result is a great looking watch (EP5970-57A) that is well built, superbly finished with both Eco-Drive AND a sapphire crystal. It doesn't hardly get any better than that.
Moving forward I hope to see even more. Citizen is on the right path and Seiko is too. With more and more companies adding sapphire crystals to the line up the future of the watch industry is looking better and better every day.