Among the watch crystal types, sapphire crystal reigns supreme. It is incredibly scratch-resistant and sturdy. If you have a sapphire crystal watch, you probably won’t have to worry about getting scratches or cracks. One thing you might worry about, though, is the price.
Sapphire crystals are often quite expensive and are usually used for luxury watches. However, there are still cheaper options out there. In fact, we’ve compiled the 20 best affordable watches with sapphire crystal right here on this list. And you can get all of these watches for just under $500!
What is a Sapphire Crystal?
Sapphire crystal is a watch crystal made of a mix of synthetic sapphire and crystallized aluminum oxide. There are usually three types of watch crystals: acrylic, mineral glass, and sapphire glass. Sapphire crystal is the strongest of the three (we’ll talk more about this later) and is also the most expensive. Because of its scratch-resistance and strength, sapphire glass is often the watch crystal of choice for luxury watches.
Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness
Sapphire crystal rates a 9 on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness, 10 being the hardest. The Mosh Scale of Mineral Hardness is a qualitative ordinal scale which indicates the scratch-resistance of different materials. This scale is based on the ability of a material to scratch another material. The higher the score of a material, the less likely it is to get scratched by other materials. Since sapphire glass is a 9, there are only a few materials that are able to scratch it, such as diamonds, which ranks the highest at ten. With this in mind, it’s best to keep your sapphire crystal watch away from diamond jewelry to prevent scratching.
How to Remove Scratches from Sapphire Crystal
Again, sapphire crystal is an extremely scratch-resistant material. However, it’s not impossible to scratch. If your watch crystal comes in contact with diamonds then scratching on your sapphire crystal is possible. If the scratches are light and shallow, you can remove them by polishing the crystal. You’ll need a diamond powder that has 100,000 to 200,000 grit and a drop of olive oil. The oil is there to moisten the grit and create a paste. You should apply this paste to the sapphire crystal and lightly buff it using an appropriate tool.
Sapphire Crystal vs. Mineral Glass
Now, we’ve already established that sapphire crystal is superior to both acrylic and mineral glass. But, here’s how you can tell them apart if you don’t know which type of crystal you have on your watch. One way to tell them apart is to look at the coloring. The mineral glass would have a bluish hue to it, while the sapphire crystal would be more of a milky white. You can also touch it to feel the difference. The sapphire crystal would have an icy feel to it. Lastly, you can put a drop of water on the crystal. The water will remain a drop when on sapphire crystal, while it’ll be divergent if it’s on the mineral glass.
Affordable Watches with Sapphire Crystal (All Under $500)
1. Citizen Corso Eco-Drive BM7100-59E
Our first sapphire crystal watch is fueled by the iconic Citizen Eco-Drive technology. The Citizen Corso Eco-Drive Watch takes energy from any light source — whether it’s solar or artificial — and uses it to power the watch’s Japanese quartz movement. It is also water-resistant up to 100 meters, so this watch could be your perfect companion on your swims.
The watch has a classic stainless steel case, which is 41mm in diameter. Matching the case is the stainless steel bracelet that has a foldover push-button clasp with safety. Its sapphire crystal is anti-reflective, so you’ll have no trouble reading the time even when under direct sunlight. Speaking of readability, the watch has a pretty clean numberless dial with large luminous hour markers. The black dial has a textured design for added charm, and it also has a small date window at 3 o’clock.
2. Citizen Eco-Drive BM7251-53L
This next sapphire crystal watch is another Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive watch. Since it has the Eco-Drive technology, the watch gets its power from light instead of the usual watch battery. It converts solar or artificial light into energy which is stored in the watch’s rechargeable power cell. The fact that it doesn’t have a battery makes it more convenient since you won’t have to keep replacing one battery after another.
Similar to the previous watch, this one also has a stainless steel case and bracelet. Its numberless dial has a pretty clean design with just a solid dark blue hue. On the dial, you’ll see three watch hands, silver-tone hour markers, and a small dial window by the 3 o’clock position. The watch is also water-resistant up to 100 meters.
3. Casio Edifice EFR-S107D-1AVCR
Our next sapphire crystal watch is perhaps the most affordable on this list, costing just less than a $100. This Casio Edifice watch has a stainless steel case and bracelet. On the bezel, you’ll see two screws surrounding the crown, and two more on the opposite side.
It has a synthetic sapphire crystal and a cool textured black dial. The dial is numberless with silver-tone hour markers and watch hands. There are also hints of blue, which you can see on the second hand and on some of the indexes. The watch has a 100m water-resistance and a tiny calendar window at 3 o’clock.
4. Seiko Sapphire SGG717P1
Up next, we have the Seiko Sapphire Steel Watch. This is another stainless steel watch. However, unlike the previous watches on this list, this one is a bit smaller with a diameter of 36 millimeters. The watch has a lovely numberless dial in dark blue. It has a pretty clean design with just a day and date window as an additional feature. This watch can also come in handy for your trips on the beach since it has a pretty decent water-resistance of 100 meters.
5. Citizen Eco-Drive Chronograph AT2141-52L
From simple dial designs, we now go to something with a bit more functionality. The Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Chronograph Stainless Steel Watch is a handsome watch with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Because it is a Citizen Eco-Drive watch, this watch gets its power from any light source, whether it’s solar or artificial. The watch is also water-resistant up to 100m and it even has a chronograph.
The blue numberless dial has a lovely sunray design with sleek hour markers and baton watch hands. On the dial, you’ll see three sub-dials and a date window at the 4 o’clock position. The watch also has a tachymeter bezel which you can use to convert elapsed time and measure speed.
6. Citizen Corso Eco-Drive BM7251-53H
For our next sapphire crystal watch, we have this Citizen Corso Eco-Drive Men’s Watch. This watch has a classic stainless steel case and a matching stainless steel bracelet. It is water-resistant up to 100 meters and has the Citizen Eco-Drive technology.
The watch has a lovely numberless gray dial with gold-tone indexes. Matching the hour markers, the three watch hands are also in gold. Additionally, the watch has a small date window at the 3 o’clock position.
7. Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Calendar BL8140-55E
Our next sapphire crystal watch is yet another Citizen Eco-Drive. This Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Perpetual Calendar Watch is particularly special. Not only does it have the Eco-Drive technology, but it also has the perpetual calendar function. This watch has an automatic calendar that adjusts at the end of every month. It even takes into account leap years, so you won’t need to adjust the calendar for such cases. For this function, you’ll find the months going around the bezel, with January at the one o’clock position.
There’s also a date window and a day of the week subdial. This stainless steel watch also has a chronograph, dual time function, and 12/24 hour time.
8. BERING Slim Solar 16433-002
For our next watch, we have this pretty cool Solar Slim watch from Bering. The watch has an IP-plated medical grade stainless steel case in a rectangular shape. Its black dial is pretty simple and is protected by a curved sapphire crystal. On the dial, there are large Arabic numerals that make it quite easy to read the time.
With a water-resistant of 30 meters, the watch can survive splashing, rain, and accidental submersion in water. As mentioned earlier, this is also a solar-powered watch. The watch gets its power from exposure to any kind of light. And when fully charged, can last 6 to 12 months without further charging.
9. Citizen Eco-Drive Titanium BM7170-53L
Up next, we’ve got the Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Titanium Watch. Based on the name, you can probably already tell what this watch is made of. This handsome watch has a titanium case and link bracelet with a foldover push-button clasp. Its sapphire crystal is anti-reflective to ensure optimum readability even under direct sunlight.
The numberless blue dial has a cool honeycomb pattern that really adds to its overall look. It has three luminous watch hands. The indexes are also luminous. The watch is powered by Eco-Drive technology and is water-resistant up to 100 meters.
10. Citizen Eco-Drive Blue Angels World Chronograph AT8020-03L
Our next watch is, perhaps, the most expensive watch on this list. But don’t worry. Similar to all the other watches on this list, the Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Blue Angels World Chronograph Watch still costs less than $500. The watch is 43mm in diameter and has a stainless steel case and anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Its synthetic leather strap has quite an interesting design. The strap is blue on the outside and has a yellow inner lining. There are also rows of holes that create a cool design. The watch has a pretty good water-resistance of 200m and is also powered by Eco-Drive technology.
Now, we’ve mentioned that compared to the other sapphire crystal watches on this list, this one is a bit pricier. Well, that’s because this watch is packed with a lot of functions and features. The watch has a chronograph, rotating slide rule, perpetual calendar, atomic timekeeping, power reserve indicator, a city scale, day of the week scale, and a 24-hour indicator.
11. Seiko Ladies Sapphire Titanium SXA115P1
From a complicated watch, we now go to something simpler. The Seiko Ladies Sapphire Titanium watch is a much smaller watch compared to the rest of this list. Its titanium case is just 25mm in diameter. Like the case, the bracelet is also made of titanium and has a two-tone design.
The dial is quite simple. It’s a classic white numberless dial with gold-tone indexes that match the gold in the strap. The watch hands are also gold, and there’s also a day and date window with gold trim. It has a pretty decent water-resistance of 100m, which is perfect for swimming.
12. Seiko Solar SNE529
For our next sapphire crystal watch, we’ve got this pretty handsome Seiko Solar Men’s Leather Watch. The watch has a lovely brown leather strap with an embossed alligator pattern. Its numberless dial is an emerald green with sunray design. To complement the emerald green, the watch hands and hour markers are in a gold and black combination.
Additionally, there’s also a day and date window by the 3 o’clock position. This watch requires no battery change since it gets its power from solar energy. If fully charged, the power reserve can last for 10 months.
13. Citizen Eco-Drive World Chrono AT8113-04H
Our next sapphire crystal watch puts a contemporary twist to the classic leather watch. The Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive World Chrono Atomic Timekeeping Watch has a lovely gold-tone stainless steel case, which goes perfectly well with the brown leather strap with an embossed alligator pattern.
It has a handsome gray dial with black and gold accents. This watch has a few cool features such as a chronograph, a perpetual calendar, world time, and atomic timekeeping. It also has three sub-dials and a date window. The watch has a 100m water-resistance and is powered by Citizen Eco-Drive.
14. Orient Kamasu RA-AA0006L19A
Up next, we have this Orient Men’s Kamasu Watch. This sapphire crystal watch has a classic stainless steel case and a black silicone strap with a ridged design. Since it is a dive watch, it has a great water-resistance of 200 meters, and it also has a unidirectional bezel to keep track of elapsed time while diving.
The watch has a numberless blue dial with large indexes and hour and minute hands. It runs on an automatic Japanese movement and has a day and date function at the 3 o’clock position.
15. FEICE Automatic Watch FM019
Next, we’ve got the FEICE Men’s Automatic Mechanical Watch. The watch has a lovely brushed stainless steel case and bracelet. What makes this watch different, though, is its bezel. The watch has an octagonal bezel that takes inspiration from ship portholes with its hexagonal screws. Its numberless black dial is also pretty cool since it incorporates a “tapisserie” pattern, which really adds texture to the design.
The watch, unfortunately, is not that water-resistant at just 30 meters. However, it can still survive splashing and rain, so it’ll do just fine for normal use. Since the watch has an automatic movement, it gets its power from the natural movement of your wrist.
16. Citizen Eco-Drive World Time AT9010-52E
Up next, we have yet another Citizen Eco-Drive watch. The Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive World Time Atomic Timekeeping Watch is a stainless steel watch with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. It has a black dial with large Arabic numerals that alternate with the indexes.
This watch is perfect for the international traveler since it has radio-controlled world time. The watch also has a 24-hour sub-dial, day of the week sub-dial, and a date window. Not only that, but the watch is also water-resistant up to 200m, so you can even take it with you when you go diving.
17. Casio Edifice EFS-S510D-1AVUEF
For our next sapphire crystal watch, we have the Casio Men’s Edifice Watch. The watch has a traditional stainless steel case and bracelet. It has a stationary black bezel and matching black dial. The numberless dial has large indexes for easy readability, three sub-dials, and a date window.
This watch is solar-powered and even has a battery indicator, which lets you know if you need to recharge it with light exposure. The watch is water-resistant up to 100m, so it’ll be a perfect companion for your swims.
18. Victorinox Swiss Army Chrono 241500
Up next, we have this lovely white chronograph watch from Victorinox. This watch has a stainless steel case and white leather strap. It also has a stationary ceramic bezel. Matching the strap, we have a white dial with large Arabic numerals. The numerals are in white, however, they have a black outline to make them more visible given the lack of contrast.
Speaking of visibility, the watch also has luminous hands for easy night reading. The watch also has three sub-dials for chronograph function and a date window at 6 o’clock. Lastly, the watch has a water-resistance of 100 meters.
19. Mondaine SBB MSE.40210.SM
Our next sapphire crystal is an SBB watch from Mondaine. The watch has a polished stainless case and a stainless steel bracelet. Its white dial has a very clean and minimalistic design and is protected by a sapphire crystal.
The dial is numberless and uses thick, black indices, which match the thick, black hour and minute hands. Its second hand, however, is in a bright red. The watch also has a date window by the 3 o’clock position. It has a Swiss quartz movement and a 30m water-resistance.
20. Victorinox Swiss Army Night Vision 241595
For our final sapphire crystal watch, we’ve got the Victorinox Swiss Army Night Vision Watch. The watch has a black-tone stainless steel case and a green rubber strap. Matching the strap is a green dial with a sapphire crsytal protection.
On the dial, there are the large Arabic numerals for the 3, 9, and 12 o’clock positions, while the rest are marked with white indices. There’s also a 24-hour display in a smaller font. At the six o’clock position, you’ll also find a small date window. The watch runs on a Swiss quartz movement and has a 50-meter water-resistance.
When it comes to watch crystals, you probably can’t get better than sapphire crystal. And although sapphire crystals are quite expensive, there are still a lot of affordable watches with this type of crystal. You don’t need to spend big bucks for a sapphire crystal watch. All you need is to know your options in the budget that’s okay with you. Hopefully, you’ve found some great options for yourself on our list.
You’ve probably noticed that a lot of the watches on this list are from Citizen Watches. If you want to know more about the brand and what they have to offer, check out our ultimate guide to Citizen Watches.