Can You Fix Scratched Watch Glass?
Finding a scratch on your watch face doesn't have to be the end of the world. Most scratches can be removed with a bit of elbow grease and patience by using polish and a buffing cloth. Here are the simple steps to take:
- Identify the right polish for the scratch
- Prepare your watch face for polishing
- Set up the correct tools needed
- Start polishing
Step One: Identify the right polish for the scratch
Different types of watch face will require different polishes. The type of polish you use will depend on the expensiveness of your watch.
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- Toothpaste, Polywatch paste or Brasso polish for acrylic crystal: often referred to as plastic or hesalite, it is likely your watch face is made of acrylic crystal if it was manufactured before the 1980's. You will be able to identify this by its plastic-like and lightweight feel. If you decide to use toothpaste, ensure that it is not grainy as this can further damage the watch crystal.
- Any type of polish for mineral glass crystal: this type of crystal is commonly found in mid-range watches. Mineral glass crystal is treated with heat and/or chemicals to withstand scratches and can often appear cloudy or hazy. You're in luck if your watch face is made of this crystal, as you can use any type of polish or paste.
- 0.5 Micron Lapping Paste or 3 Micron DP3 Dia-Paste for a sapphire crystal: if your watch is expensive or a luxury watch, you will most likely have a sapphire crystal watch face. The sapphire crystal has a brilliant resistance to scratches and shattering, and the face should not appear hazy like the mineral glass crystal. It is extremely important to use polish made specifically for this type of crystal to avoid any further damage.
If you are unsure what type of crystal you have, do not hesitate to get in contact with the manufacturer. It is better to use the correct polish to ensure that no further damage is done to your watch.
Step Two: Prepare your watch face for polishing
Start by using a detail brush to get rid of any excess dust before you start the polishing process.
Despite working on the watch face, it is important to protect the other parts of your watch. Whilst buffing the scratches, there is a risk of damage to your watch's bezel (the top ring surrounding the crystal).
You can easily avoid this by applying painter's tape protection over the case and bezel. Make sure to take care when applying the tape, and apply it to the places most susceptible to damage nearest the crystal.
To take extra precautions, you could also remove the band or strap of your watch to ease the polishing process.
Step Three: Set up the correct tools
Before you get started, it is reccomended to have some mis-en-place involved in your set-up. Here are the following items you may need on hand before polishing your watch face:
- Your watch
- Painter's tape
- Microfibre cleaning cloth
- Detail brush
- Watch strap or watch bracelet cleaner (to go the extra mile!)
Step Four: Start polishing
Begin by adding a pea-sized amount of polish to the surface of your crystal. It is better to use less product at first as you can always add more later. If you add too much polishing product, there is a risk of making the polishing process more difficult due to overloading the watchface.
Once you have done this, use the microfibre cleaning cloth to buff the crystal. Ensure that you do this in a gentle and circular motion to get a good coverage of product.
It is best to use light pressure and to do this for 2-3 minutes until the scratch gradually disappears.
If your watch's time has come...
Sometimes a watch face can be too damaged, and it is important to recognise when this is the case.
If the scratch is too deep and cannot be removed through polishing, consider replacing the watch crystal. You can do this by taking your watch to a local watch repair shop or returning it to the manufacturer to replace.
Written by Molly Govus, for WatchObsession.