Sapphire crystal alternatives
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  1. #1
    Member IanC's Avatar
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    Sapphire crystal alternatives

    Invicta likes to boast about their flame fusion crystal...Stuhrling original has the Krysterna crystal...but these are the only two companies im aware of that seems to be looking into cheaper sapphire crystal alternatives.

    Any ideas why? I thought there would be substantial R&D in this area as the crystal is one of the major parts of the watch and it would be great to have cheaper sapphire crystal that is near scratch proof.

  2. #2
    Member Foxglove's Avatar
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    Re: Sapphire crystal alternatives

    It's hard to trick the Mohs hardness scale, which is why R&D doesn't have much room to go here. Sapphire is simply the best solution for scratch-free crystals. You can artificially create sapphire and that is one of the inventions that makes sapphire crystals easier/cheaper to make than if we didn't have that tech.

    I won't get into flame fusion because it's not really clear to me what it is (layering of sapphire or some sort of actual flame fusion process of creating a sapphire component crystal). Seiko has Hardlex, which is a mineral crystal but seems to be harder in my experience. Other companies brand their crystals and they may or may not be different, who knows - at a minimum they are just trademarks. Bottom line, there's no viable cost effective solution to sapphire and sapphire is relatively cheap, so a ton of R&D for crystal alternatives doesn't seem to be worth it in the marketplace.

    You can easily buy a sapphire crystal, automatic watch in the $120 range, so I'm not sure it's all that price limiting.

    ~Ross

  3. #3
    Moderator at Large stuffler,mike's Avatar
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    Re: Sapphire crystal alternatives

    Sapphire is (currently) the way to go. "Flame fusion crystal" or "Krysterna crystal" is creative advertisement.
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    Re: Sapphire crystal alternatives

    You gotta love those guys in marketing.
    Quote Originally Posted by stuffler,mike View Post
    Sapphire is (currently) the way to go. "Flame fusion crystal" or "Krysterna crystal" is creative advertisement.

  5. #5
    Member IanC's Avatar
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    Re: Sapphire crystal alternatives

    Has any tests been done to show that those have no improvements over mineral glass?

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    Re: Sapphire crystal alternatives

    Sapphlex / Flame fusion crystal (they are the same thing) should be more scratch resistant than glass. I'm not aware of any credible tests though.

    However, the sapphlex / FFC crystal wouldn't benefit from the 'flexibility' of glass, as the sapphire element would be just as prone to cracking as a straight sapphire crystal.

    I can't really see how sapphlex / FFC could be much cheaper than a sapphre, anyway. Yobokies (or is it Noah?) will fit a domed sapphire (with AR I think) to a Sumo for US$50. They're not expensive.

  7. #7
    Member IanC's Avatar
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    Re: Sapphire crystal alternatives

    They're not expensive
    Well US $50 is half the price of some watches with flame fusion, etc...

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    Re: Sapphire crystal alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by IanC View Post
    Well US $50 is half the price of some watches with flame fusion, etc...

    Yeah but what are you buying for $100.00?
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  9. #9
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    Re: Sapphire crystal alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by IanC View Post
    Well US $50 is half the price of some watches with flame fusion, etc...
    US$50 is the retail price for one sapphire, including fitment by a highly experienced and well regarded watch maker (modifer?).

    It doesn't cost Invicta (or Seiko, or whoever) $50 each if they are buying 10,000 of the things. I'm guessing, but I would have thought US$5-15 each.

    The cheapest watches I have seen on the bay with sapphire crystals are around US$120.
    lovebandit likes this.

  10. #10
    Member SynMike's Avatar
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    Re: Sapphire crystal alternatives

    What is Flame Fusion?

    Flame Fusion is not an Invicta invention. It is just another common name for the Verneuil process, a standard method for making synthetic gem stones and crystals. The process is more than 100 years old. There are variations of the process that make various different crystal types with differing characteristics and applications. The sapphire crystals used in many watches and the rubies in watch movements are produced by Flame Fusion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verneuil_process
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapphire

    It's difficult to know what Invicta means when they say Flame Fusion. Without more information it is impossible to judge the characteristics of Invicta's version. The pros and cons of their process are unknown. My personal guess, given Invicta's lates business directions is that their crystals are simply less costly than the sapphire crystal. Perhaps theirs have some arguable benefits over other types but I haven't found any information from Invicta to clarify what they mean by the term. It seems to me they are saying nothing and making it appear to be meaningful.
    mleok and shmaiz3r like this.

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