How difficult is it to change a crystal ?

Thread: How difficult is it to change a crystal ?

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  1. #1
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    How difficult is it to change a crystal ?

    I'm having trouble finding the perfect watch I want on budget.

    I want titanium with sapphire with military dial and numerals. Without sapphire, availability in the low price offerings really shoots up.

    How difficult is it to change to a sapphire crystal? Does it depend on watch type? Does it need a special tool or tools? Is water resistance hard to re-achieve or test for?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Member TimeOnTarget's Avatar
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    Re: How difficult is it to change a crystal ?

    Yes, it all varies with the watch. It could be pretty easy or really difficult.

    Get in touch with a watch maker and have it done custom. There are plenty of guys who can do this right here on WUS.
    "Some people work for a living, me, I'd rather fly!"

  3. #3
    Member bluloo's Avatar
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    Re: How difficult is it to change a crystal ?

    Generally, you need a crystal press and the proper size dies to press the crystal out, and back in.

    Sometimes, depending on the thickness and diameter needed, a sapphire can be difficult to source. You may have to settle for something much thinner than the stock crystal, which may impact the aesthetics somewhat (may).

    If you're concerned about WR, you can have the watch pressure tested after the swap.

    None of this is 'hard', as long as one has the proper tools and parts.

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  5. #4
    Member clouser's Avatar
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    Re: How difficult is it to change a crystal ?

    Unless you're talking about a Seiko, I wouldn't try this myself if I were you. There are aftermarket Seiko parts sellers who can sell you a sapphire for a specific Seiko model, but when it comes to other brands, you'll need to know the EXACT diameter of the crystal...to the tenth of a mm. Unless you have calipers that measure to a tenth of a mm, you might end up buying the wrong crystal. If I were you, I'd contact Jay at Motor City Watch Works. He will likely be able to source the crystal and install it for you for not much money.

    BTW, if you DO want to try this yourself, you can probably find the crystal at ofrei.com
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by clouser View Post
    Unless you're talking about a Seiko, I wouldn't try this myself if I were you. There are aftermarket Seiko parts sellers who can sell you a sapphire for a specific Seiko model, but when it comes to other brands, you'll need to know the EXACT diameter of the crystal...to the tenth of a mm. Unless you have calipers that measure to a tenth of a mm, you might end up buying the wrong crystal. If I were you, I'd contact Jay at Motor City Watch Works. He will likely be able to source the crystal and install it for you for not much money.

    BTW, if you DO want to try this yourself, you can probably find the crystal at ofrei.com
    If I do try it on a seiko, do I still need a press ?

  7. #6
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: How difficult is it to change a crystal ?

    Quote Originally Posted by will50569 View Post
    I'm having trouble finding the perfect watch I want on budget.

    I want titanium with sapphire with military dial and numerals. Without sapphire, availability in the low price offerings really shoots up.

    How difficult is it to change to a sapphire crystal? Does it depend on watch type? Does it need a special tool or tools? Is water resistance hard to re-achieve or test for?

    Thanks.
    If your goal is to upgrade an otherwise perfect titanium watch with a sapphire crystal I would not use this as a way to learn the fine art of crystal replacement. To do it right you will need to find the right sized crystal and purchase the tools. If during the process of learning you damage the crystal, dial or case then your cost just skyrocketed.

    My suggestion would be to find the perfect watch and then contact someone like Jack at IWW to see if a suitable replacement crystal is available before buying the watch.

  8. #7
    Member bluloo's Avatar
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    Re: How difficult is it to change a crystal ?

    Quote Originally Posted by will50569 View Post
    If I do try it on a seiko, do I still need a press ?
    You *might* get by using some MacGuyver-like skills, but yes, you still need a press. The comment about a Seiko was related to sizing the crystal because listings for Seiko crystal sizes are generally available.

    Unless you already know the proper crystal size, you'll need to press it out, measure it with a caliper (digital is the most foolproof, IMO) and then source one. It's also usually good to have an extra gasket on hand as they can sometimes get crimped/crushed during a (failed) crystal install.

    Again, it's not a huge deal to get right (it does take some skill and the proper materials) but it's certainly much, much easier to get wrong.

    IME, if you are asking these kinds of questions, it's best to let someone else do it for you.

  9. #8
    Member MRCS's Avatar
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    Re: How difficult is it to change a crystal ?

    What's the budget exactly?....I ask because when you listed your criteria I instantly thought of THE watch that IS everything you want (Hamilton Field Auto Titanium).

    Breitling Headwind (blue, brushed on Pilot bracelet)
    Omega
    Seamaster Professional Bond (black)
    Tag Heuer Lewis Hamilton Aquaracer Calibre S (#3383/3500)
    Tag Heuer Formula 1 (white dial)
    Hamilton Field Automatic (42mm, leather)
    Citizen Eco-Drive Calibre 8700 (2-tone)
    Fossil Speedway Chrono (blue)

  10. #9
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    The Hamilton is my dream watch.

  11. #10
    Member fastward's Avatar
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    Re: How difficult is it to change a crystal ?

    Send it out to have it done professionally. Changing the crystal requires the proper tools and you will have to remove the movement.

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